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Event Details
  • Writer-Producer Speed Date (do not purchase until accepted)
    July 19, 2020
    2:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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Writer-Producer Virtual Speed Date 07-19-20

We're Zooming ahead into the Virtual World - Speed Date has been reformatted for Zoom! More tech, less noise ‚Äď 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 July 19, 2020 - submission deadline 07/08
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;
  • Cate Cammarata, dramaturg, director, producer (My Life Is a Musical, The Assignment, My Father's Daughter), Associate Artistic Director for Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Theater Collective;
  • Rashad Chambers, producer (The Inheritance,¬†Betrayal,¬†Ain't Too Proud, American Son, It Happened in Key West);
  • Merrie L. Davis, producer (Olivier Winning Producer Best Musical Revival Company, West End; Company, Broadway; Eclipsed; Gigi; ¬†off-Broadway Himself and Nora);
  • Jane Dubin, producer (The Prom,¬†Tony winning¬†The Norman Conquests,¬†An American in Paris,¬†Farinelli and the King,¬†Bandstand,¬†Peter and the Starcatcher,¬†Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,¬†The 39 Steps,¬†Ann);
  • Jim Kierstead, producer(Hadestown, The Inheritance, Ain't Too Proud, Mrs. Doubtfire, Tony Award winner¬†Pippin revival, M, Butterfly, Indecent, Natasha Pierre..., Sunset Boulevard, Kinky Boots, Waitress; off-Broadway Thrill Me, Yank!) and founder of Broadway Virtual;
  • 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 (Tootsie, What the Constitution Means to Me,¬†Indecent, Significant Other, Spring Awakening¬†revival; upcoming¬†Titanic, How I Learned to Drive);
  • Brian Moreland, producer (The Sound Inside, The Lifespan of a Fact, Sea Wall/A Life; upcoming:¬†American Buffalo¬†with Laurence Fishburne,¬†Blue with Leslie Uggams);
  • Neal Rubinstein, producer (On the Town, The Velocity of Autumn, Hedwig and the Angry Inch revival; upcoming Dangerous the musical);
  • Cheryl Wiesenfeld¬† producer (Ain't Too Proud,¬†The Great Society, 4-time Tony winner for¬†All the Way, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, The Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty);
  • plus 1 more tba

Coaches: Diana Calderazzo, Samantha Salzman, Emileena Pedigo

Trailing Producers: Ina Chadwick*, Larry Daggett*, Carole diTosti*, Ed Fee*, Stephanie Grayson, Joan Liman, Elizabeth Kline*, David Pham, Sanford Silverberg*, David Stamps*
[*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 ‚Äď this is an ideal opportunity. ~William Roetzheim

Faculty
  • DIANA CALDERAZZO

    is an adjunct instructor of Theatre at Fordham University, teaching Invitation to Theatre. She earned a PhD in Theatre with a focus in Cognitive Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 and a Master’s Degree in Theatre from the University of Central Florida in 2005. 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 helped 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. 

  • SAMANTHA SALTZMAN

    Current Directing Projects: Drama League Gala Honoring Steve Martin, and Bryant Park Christmas Skatetacular. Resident Director: Matilda the Musical (1st National Tour).  Assistant Resident Director: Matilda the Musical (Broadway).   Additional Associate/Assistant Directing credits: Southern Comfort (The Public), Sarah Brightman’s Dreamchaser World Tour, On the Town (Barrington Stage), An Iliad (National Tour), Academia Nuts, and multiple shows at NYMF and FringeNYC. Select Directing credits include: The Arkadina Project, Urinetown, 210 Amlent Ave, and Madam Fury’s Traveling Show. Drama League Directing Fellow. www.samanthasaltzman.com

Producers
  • 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.

  • CATE CAMMARATA

    is an Off-Broadway producer, director and dramaturg in NYC specializing in the development of new plays and musicals, and has been the Literary Manager for Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) for ten years. She is the Founder and Executive Producer of CreateTheater's New Works Festival and Artistic Director of The Experts Theater Company. Her company CreateTheater.com has developed and produced dozens of new plays and musicals since its founding in 2016. Off-Broadway: The Assignment, My Father's Daughter. Regional: My Life Is a Musical (Bay Street Theater), Bran Castle (Porchlight Theater). In development: Atlantis (book by Ken Cerniglia & Scott Morris, music & lyrics by Matthew Robinson), The Falling Season, a new hip hop musical by international hip hop legend Masta Ace,. During the shutdown of 2020-2022 CreateTheater developed and/or produced more than 70 shows with online readings, workshops and dramaturgical guidance. For this work Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) has honored her with the TRU Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2022. Cate holds a BFA in Acting/Directing from Syracuse University and an MFA in Dramaturgy at SUNY Stony Brook, and is Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at CUNY Baruch College. Her book, "Contemporary Monologues for a New Theater," published by Applause Books, was listed as one of the Top Ten Books for theater lovers by BroadwayDirect in 2018. www.CateCammarata.com  www.CreateTheater.com

  • RASHAD V. CHAMBERS

    is a global producer, talent manager and lawyer.  He recently produced the world premiere of It Happened In Key West at the Charing Cross Theatre in London.  His Broadway productions include American Son, The Inheritance, Betrayal and Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations.  In addition, Rashad produced the world premiere of The Erlkings at the Beckett Theatre in New York. He also produced an independent romantic comedy entitled True to the Heart, which won five awards at the Long Island International Film Expo and was an official selection of the Big Apple Film Festival.  His short films, Hunger and Click, were official selections of the Urbanworld Film Festival, Hollywood Black Film Festival and Pan African Film Festival. Rashad is currently developing a TV series with Stacy Sutphen, Damon Sharpe, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and Electus. He has also developed and produced concerts series at 54 Below, 42West, Ars Nova and the 92Y in Tribeca. A licensed attorney in New York and Connecticut, Rashad earned his JD and MBA degrees from The Ohio State University and BA in Business Administration from Morehouse College.  He is the Founder and President of Esquire Entertainment, a New York based talent management and production company. www.esquireentertainment.com
  • MERRIE L. DAVIS

    is a Tony & Olivier Winning Creative Producer - won a Tony for Parade, Best Revival of a Musical 2023; Tony & Olivier Winner  (New York, London), for Company 2022 for Best Revival of a Musical and West End (winner of 4 Olivier awards including Best Musical Revival 2019); and a Tony nominated producer for Eclipsed with Lupita Nyong’o (6 Tony nominations). She is currently on The Who’s TOMMY and Cabaret, both nominated for a Tony  for Best Revival of a Musical 2024.  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 in New York and London including: Dear Evan Hansen, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hello, Dolly!, The Band's Visit, Moulin Rouge and Farewell Mister Haffmann ,Dr Semmlweis, and The Picture of Dorian Gray among  others in London. She has been working on Working Girl with Cyndi Lauper writing the music and Theresa Rebeck writing the book.  They will be having a 1st time reading end of August 2024.  Merrie is also a Co-Producer on Museum of Broadway. She is an Out-of-the Box Marketer who founded Next Act 2 Follow, a marketing/producing company, utilizing her unique marketing skills by 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 20+ 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, cruise lines etc, she also had the pleasure of working with all the theater agencies.  Merrie is on the Board of TRU, Abingdon Theatre Company,  Broadway Association and Big Apple Greeter, 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‚ÄôNeill Center Intensive (CT) Producing Workshops and Director of Theater Resources Unlimited‚Äôs Producer Development Program Master Class. Ms. Dubin is Chair of the Board of Directors of Houses on the Moon Theater Company. ¬†She is a member and recent Board member of the League of Professional Theatre Women.¬† She is a member of the Broadway Women‚Äôs Alliance and the Off-Broadway League.¬† For two years she was co-curator of the Hudson Valley Writers‚Äô Center New Play Reading Series. She co-produced Hudson River Rising, presenting events in Westchester for One Billion Rising (V-Day).¬† She was a strategic consultant to SPACE on Ryder Farm, an artists‚Äô residency in Brewster, NY and a member of the Grand Jury for New York Musical Festival‚Äôs 2015 ‚Äď 2019 seasons.¬† She served as an evaluator for a NAMT innovation grant panel and is a juror for Bethany Arts Community residency program.¬† She is a frequent panelist and guest lecturer on theater-related matters. Before embarking on her career in theater, Ms. Dubin spent over 20 years in the financial services industry. Productions: Upcoming: The¬†Village¬†of Vale. ¬†Recent:¬†Is This A Room, Dana H., The Prom (Drama Desk Award Best Musical),¬†Farinelli and the King¬†(starring Mark Rylance, nominated for 5 Tony Awards),¬†An American in Paris¬†(4 TONY Awards, plus London and National Tour),¬†Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey¬†(Westside Theater and on Tour),¬†Ann, starring Holland Taylor (Lincoln Center);¬†Bandstand¬†(Broadway), Beebo Brinker Chronicles¬†(2008 GLAAD Media Award for Theatre);¬†Groundswell¬†(the New Group),¬†Peter and the Starcatcher (Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tour), winner of 5 TONY Awards;¬†The Norman Conquests¬†(TONY Award, Best Play Revival),¬†The 39 Steps¬†(OB, Tour);¬†The Umbrellas of Cherbourg¬†(London).¬†¬†Film: Radium Girls.

  • JIM KIERSTEAD

    is a Grammy-nominated, Emmy, Olivier, and six-time Tony Award-winning producer of the Broadway, touring, Toronto, and London productions of Kinky Boots, Pippin, Hadestown, The Inheritance, The Lehman Trilogy and Company.  In addition, he has been a co-producer of 25 Broadway productions including Ain’t Too Proud, The Minutes, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Waitress, The Visit, You Can’t Take It With You, Indecent, The Great Comet (all Tony nominated), Mrs. Doubtfire, Be More Chill, Pretty Woman, Side Show, It Shoulda Been You, M. Butterfly, Rocky, among others.  Off-Broadway projects include Unexpected Joy, Yank! (Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Nominees), Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, and Thrill Me - The Leopold & Loeb Story (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Nominees).  He has produced London productions including Waitress, Dreamgirls, Pretty Woman, Be More Chill, Unexpected Joy, Yank!, Thrill Me, Night of the Living Dead and Aspects of Love.  Film/TV projects include the Emmy winning TV series The Bay, we well as Indoor Boys, Emmy-nominated After Forever and Wakefield starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner. Along with his Broadway Factor partners, Jim produced the hit immersive show Amparo in downtown Miami for Bacardi.  Jim is on the Board of Directors of The York Theatre Company, The Abingdon Theatre Company and is the founder of the digital theatre content creation company Broadway Virtual. 

  • JOHN LANT

    Producer/Director, Consultant specialist for musicals/plays off-Broadway and TV/Film Studio Operator for 2 Studios for stage to screen or film productions NY & NJ. 43-year veteran in the entertainment in over 750 television, film, theatre/music tours, and live theater. Production Manager at Carnegie Hall since 2006-2020 season for over 2,000 events. Award-winning producer, director, writer, lighting/set designer; Interlochen, Cal Arts, Ricardo Montalban, Hollywood Playhouse, Long Beach Playhouse, Glendale Center, Jewel Box Theatre Center and Write Act Repertory garnering DramaLogue, Diamond, ADA, NAACP Awards, LA Weekly and Backstage Pick of the Week, Garland and Valley Theatre (LA) nods. Executive Radio Producer New Frequency - Theatre of the Mind for SIRIUS/XM Radio - Ranked #1 Radio show. Mentored with Jonathan Sanger/Chanticleer Films for two shorts (Emmy & Oscar Winners), Howard Storm CBS Radford and TRU PDMP Master Fellow under Jane Dubin and Jennifer Issacson. Directed TV / Pilots Symphology, Carrot Talk, BET JAZZ Master Awards (1&2), Toronto Independent Shorts Awards, Funiki-Jam Season 2, and Anonymous Confessions. 17 Off-Broadway Lead Producer / Director (AEA/Non-union) credits include Fabulous!, 2By Tennessee Williams, Lili Marlene, Frankenstein, It Came from Beyond, Wicked Frozen, Teen Party Massacre, Swing!, Wicked City Blues, Geeks! TV/Film Credits include King of New York, The Freshman, Army of Darkness, Renegade, Power Rangers, and HBO Max's The Flight Attendant (CCO Supervisor). Tours include Phantom of the Opera, Singin' in the Rain, Gypsy and Evita. Current money raise - Pearl Bailey Musical (with Tony winning team members of Dreamgirls! and Hamilton). Development Director/Consultant for TV Film - Twisted Media NYC, Nathan Murphy Prod, Gatehouse Entertainment, Tin Mirror Prod and Trinity Theatrics network and streaming content for 3 TV pilots & 2 feature film currently in pre-production. COVID Compliance Supervisor certified for Film/TV/Broadway Theatre.
  • 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. Currently running off-Broadway A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet, the first new musical to open since the pandemic began. He has been part of the producing team for other Broadway productions including Tootsie, What the Constitution Means to Me, Torch Song, The Band's Visit, Macbeth 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

  • BRIAN MORELAND

    A Creative Producer, Brian is 1 of 5 Black producers on Broadway. Credits include The Lifespan of A Fact with Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale, Sea Wall/ A Life with Jake Gyllenhaal. Upcoming: American Buffalo with Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss, BLUE directed by Tony Winner Phylicia Rashad.

  • 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‚Äôs been represented on Broadway as Producer of¬†On the Town,¬†Velocity of Autumn,¬†and 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‚Äôway:¬†Tail Spin,¬†Clinton the Musical,¬†Associate Producer¬†Handle With Care,¬†and he‚Äôs¬†¬†currently developing the quintessential Broadway musical of Aristophanes‚Äô comic farce,¬†Trojanz Not Required ‚Äď 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.

  • CHERYL WIESENFELD

    Following a career in publishing, Cheryl began her theatre producing career in 1998. Broadway: The Great Society, The Heidi Chronicles, All The Way, Rocky, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, The Gershwins‚Äô Porgy and Bess, A Steady Rain, Legally Blonde, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, ‚Äėnight Mother, Caroline or Change, Elaine Stritch At Liberty, and Hedda Gabler. Off Broadway:¬†10th Anniversary Exonerated, Play Dead, In The Continuum, Shockheaded Peter, Talking Heads, The Exonerated, The Waverly Gallery.¬†Film:¬†Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me.¬†Current: Ain‚Äôt Too Proud- The Temptations musical. Upcoming: The Harder They Come. Cheryl has produced shows that have spawned national and international tours and sit down productions, regional productions, and London engagements which have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars. Cheryl has won numerous awards for her productions including the Drama League, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics Awards and 4 Tony Awards. She has been honored by Theater Resources Unlimited with ‚ÄúThe Spirit of Theater‚ÄĚ award in 2007, and The Houses on The Moon Amplify 2015 Award for her support in championing the unheard voice. Her board commitments: Theater Resource Unlimited where she co-founded the TRU mentorship program. The program to date has mentored over 200 commercial producers and self producing artists. Cheryl is on the board of Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut, and is on the Honorary Council of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven Connecticut. Cheryl continues her mentoring work and speaks at universities, on panels and for different organizations. She is in her second year of curating a theatre program with the title - Theatre that changes OUR World-¬†at The Quick Center at Fairfield University.
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