fbpx
Event Details
  • Writer-Producer Speed Date (do not purchase until accepted)
    November 8, 2020
    2:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Details Price Qty
TRU member $65.00 (USD)   Goes On Sale
October 30, 2020
Non-member $75.00 (USD)   Goes On Sale
October 30, 2020
Addt'l collaborator $20.00 (USD)   Goes On Sale
October 30, 2020
Non-participant/observer (coaching & pitching) $75.00 (USD)  

Writer-Producer Virtual Speed Date 11-08-20

We're Zooming ahead into the Virtual World - Speed Date has been reformatted for Zoom! More tech, less noise – each writer will be in an individual breakout room with each of our 11 producers. And since we have no venue costs, we've lowered the application fee by $10.

Sunday November 8, 2020 - submission deadline 10/28
Session 1: coaching at 2:30, pitching at 4:30 (there will be an hour wait time between coaching and pitching)
Session 2: coaching at 3:30, pitching at 5:30 (there will be an hour wait time between coaching and pitching)

You meet a producer at a party, and have two minutes to interest him in your work. Do you have the skill to sell yourself? Here's a chance to practice your pitching with real producers who are open to and interested in meeting you. Okay, they probably won't option you on the spot, but they'll give you valuable feedback about your work and your ability to talk about it. And you'll have the opportunity to start developing a relationship. And that's what this business is all about. Relationships.

The Speed Date is the only event I know of that gives writers the chance to meet high level producers one-on-one in a room. To me, that's what makes the Speed-Dates so valuable. And you do it with kindness, which I value in life. ~Vincent Amelio (How Alfo Learned to Love)

Click here: WriterSpeedDateApp-85-75(new) for application (and note that actual pricing is $10 less than the application says, during these virtual days). Please fill out and email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com (PLEASE - add your name to the document name, and put it first when you "save as").

We'll have eleven producers lined up, from both the commercial and not-for-profit worlds, all with an interest in new projects; we also may have eleven aspiring producers from our Producer Development program. So you'll be pitching to as many as 22 producers in total! Come with a willingness to learn, because the real value is the chance to practice your pitching. And you'll be getting invaluable coaching from experts, as well.

Confirmed producers include:

  • Patrick Blake, producer (The 39 Steps, Bedlam Theatre's Hamlet/St. Joan, My Life Is a Musical, Play Dead, The Exonerated), founding artistic director of Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Theater Collective;
  • Merrie L. Davis, producer (Olivier Winning Producer Best Musical Revival Company, West End; Company, Broadway; Eclipsed, a 6 Tony winner; Gigi;  off-Broadway Himself and Nora);
  • Jane Dubin, producer (The Prom, Tony winning The Norman ConquestsAn American in ParisFarinelli and the KingBandstandPeter and the StarcatcherAbsolute Brightness of Leonard PelkeyThe 39 StepsAnn);
  • Gene Fisch, Jr.,  Broadway Producing Team (High), 100+ Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway productions, Carnegie Hall concert Producer, Director of the New York New Works Theatre Festival, Director of 4 episodes of the TV series, “Two Many Moms";
  • John Lant, indie producer (Fabulous, Frankenstein the musical, Wicked City Blues), artistic director Write Act Repertory, producer The Park Theatre in Union City NJ;
  • Cody Lassen, producer (How I Learned to Drive, Indecent, Spring Awakening; Upcoming: Titanic, A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet; Co-Producer: Tootsie, What The Constitution Means to Me, The Band's Visit, Torch Song, Significant Other, Macbeth);
  • Tamra Pica, producer and casting director for WriteAct Repertory, and the new Park Performing Arts Center’s (PPAC) in Union City, NJ
  • Neal Rubinstein, producer (On the Town, The Velocity of Autumn, Hedwig and the Angry Inch revival; upcoming Dangerous the musical);
  • Kim Vasquez/Gray Lady Entertainment (Be More Chill London, Chicago, On/Off Broadway, Broadway Bounty HunterChurch and State; Founding Producer New York Musical Festival, Producing Director Park Square Theatre Mainstage/Saint Paul);
  • Ken Waissman, producer (original Grease, Torch Song Trilogy, Agnes of God);
  • Claudia Zahn, former producing director Malibu Playhouse.

Coaches: Diana Calderazzo, Emileena Pedigo, Joanne Zippel

Trailing Producers: Ina Chadwick*, Maureen Condon*, Vincent Connor*, Carol DiTosti*, Stephanie Grayson, Maera Hagage*, Amrita Jain*,  David Quang Pham, Sandy Silverberg*
[*members and alumni of TRU's Producer Development program]

I participated in TRU's Writer's Speed Date Pitch session last year, and got a LOT out of it! I found it so motivating to have a deadline to create production assets and prepare myself for meeting producers. My partner and I worked tirelessly for days before the event to make sure we were in top form before presenting (as writers) to the "producers" on hand. My experience was one of the rare occasions where several producers expressed real interest in my work. Later, one attended my reading, and followed up with a coffee meeting to talk financing. We're still in touch. Again, this is never promised, but it does happen for some of us. In my opinion, the price of $85 for all that value is a BARGAIN! ~Ed Zareh (Long Lost John)

I've had follow-up meetings with two people I met from the event. and provided scripts to three others. I also met some fellow playwrights, and through a chain of introductions coming out of that, I'm now working on a possible film deal in Los Angeles.  If you have a project where you'd like to practice and receive feedback on your pitch; potentially make some connections that would be useful for script development or early production; and meet some other playwrights – this is an ideal opportunity. ~William Roetzheim

Panelists
  • PATRICK BLAKE

    is a writer/producer based in New York and San Francisco, and Founding Artistic Director of Rhymes Over Beats, a hip hop theater company. In New York theater, he is a producer of the off-Broadway revival of The 39 Steps, the off-Broadway transfer of Bedlam Theater Company's dual productions of Hamlet and Saint Joan, and is currently producing My Life Is a Musical (from the TRU Voices series) which had a debut production at Bay Street Theatre. He was one of the producers of Play Dead! at The Players Theatre, he has produced In the Continuum at Perry Street Theatre, Noah's Archive, Joe Fearless, The Exonerated (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Court TV's Scales of Justice Award) and The Soap Myth at Southstreet Seaport. He also produced Dirty Works at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He was Executive Producer for the short film, The Igloo, and the feature film Mr. Smith Gets a Hustler. Patrick is a proud board member of TRU.

  • MERRIE L. DAVIS

    Producer  (New York, London) & Out-of-the-Box Marketer… Merrie is an Olivier Award Winner for Company, West End (Winner of 4 Olivier awards including Best Musical Revival 2019) and Tony nominated producer for Eclipsed with Lupita Nyong’o (6 Tony nominations). She is currently a producer on Company, Broadway. Her producing career began with Gigi the Musical, Himself and Nora, with Matt Bogart (Jersey Boys) and Whitney Bashor (The Bridges of Madison County). Since coming into the New York theatre world she has been investing and raising money for shows including: Dear Evan Hansen, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hello, Dolly!, The Band's Visit, Network among  others. In addition to producing, she is an Out-of-the Box Marketer who founded Next Act 2 Follow, a producing/marketing company, utilizing her unique marketing skills and introducing inventive ideas to the Broadway scene on shows including, Allegiance and 39 Steps. Prior to making a career change into producing, Merrie had been a Publisher and Out-of-the-Box Marketer for over 25+ years in the magazine world dealing in the Hospitality and Tourism industries. While owning her own Visitor Magazines, IN New York and WHERE that were distributed in the hotels, she also had the pleasure of working with all the theater agencies.  Merrie is on the Board of TRU and the Broadway Association and is still delighted that she took the giant leap into an industry that she had always loved!!! 

  • JANE DUBIN

    is a TONY Award-winning producer and the President of Double Play Connections, a theatrical production and management company committed to supporting emerging artists and playwrights in the creation and development of new works. Jane is a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute's 14-week (NYC) and O’Neill Center Intensive (CT) Producing Workshops and past Director of Theater Resources Unlimited’s Producer Development Program, and current Director of the program's Master Class. Broadway/OB: The Prom (Best Musical - Drama Desk Award), Farinelli and the King (5 Tony nominations), starring Mark Rylance, BandstandAn American in Paris on Broadway (4 TONY Awards), National Tour and in London, Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Off Broadway and on Tour), Peter and the Starcatcher (Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tour), winner of 5 TONY Awards; Ann, starring Holland Taylor (Lincoln Center); The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (London); The 39 Steps (OB, Tour); The Norman Conquests (TONY Award, Best Play Revival), Groundswell (the New Group), Beebo Brinker Chronicles (2008 GLAAD Media Award for Theatre). Other: OPA! at TBG Theatre (Best Commercial Production, MITF 2008), Take Me America (Best Musical, MITF 2007), Count Down, (Bank Street Theatre) and the one-woman show that started it all, MentalPause by Margaret Liston. Ms. Dubin is a full voting member of the Broadway League. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of Houses on the Moon Theater Company and a prior Board member of the League of Professional Theatre Women. For two years she was co-curator of the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center New Play Reading Series. She co-produced Hudson River Rising, presenting events for One Billion Rising (V-Day) 2013 and 2014 and was a member of the Grand Jury for New York Musical Festival’s 2015 – 2019 seasons.

  • GENE FISCH JR.

    has been a passionate fan of the arts his entire life. Though only as a hobby these past ten years, he has either produced, directed, or invested in 100+ shows during that span, most all at the Off Broadway and Broadway levels. Philanthropy being his primary focus, he was the lead producer for Carnegie Hall performance / Album that donated the proceeds to establish music programs in NYC schools. He has two television pilots in his repertoire, one of which was his directorial debut that was funded for four episodes by a group who worked for ABC.  Fisch is particularly fond of his work directing the Off Broadway parody of the television show, “Dexter”. Subsequent to being part of the Broadway producing team for High starring Kathleen Turner, Gene founded The New York New Works Theatre Festival, helping over 1,000 artists by giving them a shot on a top tier stage (historically the Duke and Acorn Theaters). Three shows from NYNW’s stages are on their way to Broadway and one (“12 Angry Voices” produced by his mentor and panelist, Lauren Class Schneider) is generating traction for its national tour. Submissions are free and NYNW outlays most all of the upfront costs with the hopes that the NYNW stage is only the first step of the project's journey (Numerous shows have moved forward). Every submission is reviewed by at least one Broadway producer. Gene has led a wonderfully diverse career outside of the arts and currently teaches Engineering Technogenesis at the Stevens Institute of Technology. "The bottom line is that theatre is awesome and if there is a way that we can help someone take their art to the next level while having a ton of fun, we’re all in!"   nynwtheatrefestival.com

  • JOHN LANT

    (Producer/Artistic Director) is a 35-year veteran in the entertainment industry and has been involved in over 600 television, film, music tours, and theatrical productions. An award-winning producer, director, writer, lighting/set designer, he has mounted productions at Cal Arts, Ricardo Montalban, Powerhouse, Glendale Center, Hollywood Playhouse, Long Beach Playhouse, the Jewel Box Theatres and Write Act Repertory garnering DramaLogue, Diamond, ADA, NAACP Awards, LA Weekly and Backstage Picks of the Week, Garland and Valley Theatre (LA) nominations. As an Executive Producer of New Frequency - Theatre of the Mind, he produced 150 all-new original Radio Dramas for XM Radio's Sonic Theatre - Ranked as the #1 Radio show. With Jonathan Sanger at Chanticleer Films, he worked on two shorts that won an Emmy and an Oscar, also mentored under Howard Storm and directed Children's TV Pilots Symphology, Carrot Talk, and Anonymous Confessions. Recently as Producing Artistic Director of Write Act Repertory/Director of Development for Twisted Media NYC his Off-Broadway production of FABULOUS! The Queen of Musicals! Other Off-Broadway Lead Producing credits; 2by Tennessee Williams (AEA), Pillars of NY; Off-Broadway productions currently running: Lili Marlene, Frankenstein, It Came from Beyond, Wicked Frozen, and in pre-Production Pearl-The Musical (with creative team members of Dreamgirls! Original Broadway Cast); Los Angeles productions currently running: - Finest Hour (Winston Churchill project), Wicked Wicked Mae West West, and Prez - The Lester Young Story

     
     
  • CODY LASSEN

    is a Tony-nominated theatre producer and live entertainment consultant. Broadway productions include Indecent, the Deaf West Theatre revival of Spring Awakening, and the upcoming revival of Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive. He has been part of the producing team for other Broadway productions including Tootsie, What the Constitution Means to MeTorch SongThe Band's VisitMacbeth and Significant Other. Upcoming: the first revival of Titanic, The Flamingo Kid, Steven Sater & Duncan' Sheik's Alice By Heart and Burt Bacharach's Some Lovers. In addition to producing his own projects, Cody consults for producers, theaters and agencies to help them discover how they should market their shows for the best chance of financial and critical success. Previously, he was the director of marketing for Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group and its three theaters: the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Kirk Douglas Theatre. He is an active member of the Broadway League, the National Association of Musical Theatre, and serves on the Board of NY’s Vineyard Theatre. More info at codylassen.com
  • TAMRA PICA

    producer and casting director for WriteAct Repertory, and the new Park Performing Arts Center’s (PPAC) in Union City, NJ. Tamra's theater and television work spans nearly 30 years and over 250 productions as a prop designer, AEA Stage Manager, producer and casting director of plays, musicals, dance and ice shows.  She’s worked in television for companies such as Disney, Sony, Cartoon Network, NBC Studios, TBS, CBS, MTV, ABC and FOX in production and development.  Recent credits include Caldwell’s Bomb for the New York Venus/Adonis Theater Festival, Renewal, Your Name on My Lips at Theater for the New City and the long running musical Fabulous! Queen of the New Musicals where she served as a casting director and producer. She currently works at Disney on the new “Princess,” set to reveal next year, internationally.

  • NEAL RUBINSTEIN

    is a three-time Emmy winner & five-time nominee, receiving that coveted award while working as Editor & Producer for NBC Nightly News The Today Show.   He is also a TONY nominee (On The Town) and two-time BOLI winner. He’s been represented on Broadway as Producer of On the Town, Velocity of Autumnand was also involved with: Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Of Mice & Men, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Co-Lead for the upcoming Broadway revival of  39 Steps, and Lead Producer for a Broadway-bound original new musical Dangerous. Off-B’way: Tail Spin, Clinton the Musical, Associate Producer Handle With Care, and he’s  currently developing the quintessential Broadway musical of Aristophanes’ comic farce, Trojanz Not Required – the real story of Lysistrata. Film: Exec. Prod., Ron & Laura Take Back America. Neal is currently a member on the Board, of AMAS Musical Theater, & Theater Resources Unlimited. He has served on the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), New York Chapter (four terms) as well as chairing the Membership Committee for six years, guiding the chapter to record increased growth while implementing innovative benefits for its members. Additionally, he served for sixteen years on the NATAS Awards (EMMY) Committee. Neal was the Associate Producer for the NY EMMY Awards, as well as Stage Manager for the National EMMY Awards and the International Film & Television Festival Awards.

  • KIM VASQUEZ

    Producing Artistic Director of Gray Lady Entertainment, a theatrical producing and consulting company, not only specializing in the development and structuring of new works in plays and musicals, but also producing commercial theatre On and Off Broadway. Kim is currently a producer on the Broadway production of Be More Chill playing at the Lyceum Theatre and this summer, she is producing Broadway Bounty Hunter starring Annie Golden (Orange is the New Black, Hair) and Brad Oscar (Something Rotten). Kim also co-produced the Off-Broadway play Church & State by Jason Odell Williams at New World Stages now playing nationwide. Originally from the Twin Cities, Kim has spent over 25 years in New York City as an Actor, Director, Executive Producer and General Manager for various shows. She has served on the general management team at The Producing Office for the Broadway productions of In The Heights, Avenue Q, Rent, Ragtime, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, to name a few and with Robert Cole and Steven Chaikelson on A Moon for the Misbegotten and The Price. She is a Founding Producer of the New York Musical Festival (NYMF), which is currently celebrating its 16th year as a New York arts institution. She has acted as an Executive Producer and General Manager for many musicals within the festival.

  • KEN WAISSMAN

    is one of only two producers in the history of Broadway to have a musical run over 3000 performances and a play run over 1000. (The other producer he shares this distinction with is the legendary David Merrick.) Waissman developed and produced the original Broadway production of Grease as well as two of Broadway’s longest running plays, Agnes of God by John Pielmeier and Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein.Waissman's first Broadway credit was the 1971 Paul Zindel play And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little with Estelle Parsons and Julie Harris, and his prolific Broadway efforts have resulted in four motion picture features, a PBS TV special, 25 Tony Award® nominations, and 5 Tony Awards® including a Tony Award® as ‘Best Play Producer.’ His new musical, Josephine, inspired by Josephine Baker, had its World Premiere in April at the Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. Deborah Cox played the title role and Joey McKneely directed and choreographed.

  • CLAUDIA ZAHN

    is a director, producer, teacher and development consultant. Claudia returned to NYC last year, after living and working in LA. She was Managing Director and a board member of Malibu Playhouse, where she co-produced most of the mainstage productions in addition to running the daily operations of the theater. Since returning to New York, Claudia has been working with Mango Baroque as producer and director for their concert series in the city, and as a development consultant for Welcome Change Productions and Academy Award®-nominated documentary filmmaker Alice Elliott. In addition to working nationally as a freelance opera director, Claudia taught for ten years as Director of Opera and Music Theatre at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she directed and co-produced both operas and musicals, as well as teaching acting and directing. Claudia is member of the board of directors at the York Theatre Company. 

Faculty
  • DIANA CALDERAZZO

    is an adjunct instructor of Theatre at Fordham University, teaching Invitation to Theatre with a focus in Cognitive Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s Degree in Theatre from the University of Central Florida. She has taught Theatre and/or Communications at both of those universities, as well as Central Texas College and Bronx Community College. Diana was also a scholarship recipient at Smith College, where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre. Diana has published peer-reviewed articles in such journals as Theatre Topics and Theatre Symposium, and has presented papers at national and international conferences such as the American Society for Theatre Research and the International Federation for Theatre Research. She is also a member of Wardrobe Local 764 in New York City, where she works as a wardrobe technician for various Broadway shows. She worked as a full-time dresser for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway from 2010 to 2013. Diana is a former Tour Actor/Director for the Missoula Children’s Theatre and has taught Theatre to over 2,500 children around the country with this company. She has also toured in Europe as a performer with Music Theatre Bavaria

  • EMILEENA PEDIGO

    Emileena's work focuses on building sustainable careers #AnotherWay, using entrepreneurial strategies that prioritize the artist over their art.  Her company, The Show Goes On Productions provides coaching and artist management, as well as produces workshops, showcases, and events.  Before that Emileena was managing producer of the Midtown International Theater Festival.  She helped expand the annual festival into seven venues, presenting up to 60 shows in one month during her seven-year tenure.  Emileena also general-managed for several nonprofits, assisted Stewart F. Lane on four Broadway shows, including the Off-Broadway transfer of The 39 Steps, and worked on various film and music festivals.  She toured theaters, music arenas, and schools across the country, working with artists from all artistic disciplines.  Emileena has served on the board of Conscious Capitalism NYC, and is currently helping to build Arts programming within the Chelsea Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce.  She is a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute, SUNY/Kaufmann's Fasttrac program for entrepreneurs, and a Purdue University alum. 

  • JOANNE ZIPPEL

    is a collaborator and communicator who has an extensive network of relationships in both the creative and corporate worlds. She has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, working in theatre and live event production, promotion, sponsorship, B2B and B2C sales and marketing, creative development, literary management and creative coaching in the entertainment business. Joanne ‘s creative coaching business evolved out of her work as a manager of playwrights and screenwriters – guiding their careers and helping them to pursue their passions in what is well known as an often difficult, changeable and sometimes arbitrary business. Through her company Zip Creative, she works with clients helping them to open themselves up to their creative capacity, build a solid foundation from which to make authentic work and life decisions and take practical action on them. For more information go to www.zipcreative.net. Joanne graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and did graduate work at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She is a graduate of the Hoffman Institute.

SHARE THIS: