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Event Details
  • October Speed Date
    October 21, 2018
    4:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Writer-Producer Speed Date 10-21-18

Shetler Studios, 244 W. 54th St., 11th fl.

Sunday October 21st
Session 1: coaching at 4:30, pitching at 5:30
Session 2: coaching at 5:30, pitching at 6:30

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.

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

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)

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

Click here: WriterSpeedDateApp-85-75 for application. Please fill out and email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com (PLEASE - add your name at the start of the file name) - we already have a nearly full lineup of producers, so check them out below, and apply!

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. And did we mention the wine and snacks afterwards?

Confirmed producers include: 

  • Rashad V. Chambers, producer (It Happened in Key West, American Son, Ain't Too Proud));
  • Charlotte Cohn, producer (Church and State, Handle with Care, Rated P for Parenthood);
  • Randy Donaldson - producer (American Son starring Kerry Washington, The Scottsboro BoysPee Wee Herman ShowTriassic Parq);
  • S. Asher Gelman, off-Broadway producer (Afterglow, upcoming: We Are the Tigers, safeword.);
 
  • John Melo, theater and film producer;
  • Julia Beardsley O'Brien, producer-director (Babette's Feast at St. Clement's Theatre, The Snowy Day and Other StoriesThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe);
  • Norberto Troncoso, artistic associate Open Hydrant Theatre;
  • Ken Waissman, producer (Grease, Agnes of God, Torch Song Trilogy);
  • Frank Zuback, producer (Taking Leave, American Soldier, Roof of the World).

Coaches: Cate CammarataSamantha Saltzman, Michael Ian Cedar

Trailing Producers: Gary Betsworth*, Yaakov Bressler*, Mark William Butler*, Lee Feldshon*, Denise Huza*, Carl Kissin*, Claudia Zahn*
* members of the TRU producer development program

Faculty
  • CATE CAMMARATA

    is a producer, director, freelance dramaturg and writer in NYC and is the Associate Artistic Director for Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Theater Collective. Cate has produced The Assignment off-Broadway and My Father's Daughter with Ursula Rucker at LaMaMa for Rhymes Over Beats. Regionally she produced My Life Is a Musical at Bay Street Theater and has directed many readings of new work in NYC. She is the Literary Manager for Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) and holds a BFA in Acting/Directing from Syracuse University and an MFA in Dramaturgy at SUNY Stony Brook, where she teaches Theatre Arts. Her latest book, "Contemporary Monologues for a New Theater," has just been published by Applause Books. catecammarata.com

  • MICHAEL IAN CEDAR

    As a Sales, Career, and Executive Coach Michael Cedar brings a combination of energy, enthusiasm, and depth rarely found in facilitation and coaching. His unique blend of colorful creativity and high-focus discipline unlocks the best of both worlds during his training and facilitation. Over 15 years ago, Michael got his start as a company manager for Troika Entertainment where he managed over 50 team members on multiple 130+ city truck and bus tour. This discipline to bring together large teams from widely different backgrounds in an environment with little opportunity for error set the tone for how he fosters excellent leaders. Michael produced the nationally recognized dance competition, StarQuest, where he spearheaded the company to a multi-million dollar generating operation, quadrupling their business to a 65-city tour that annually hosts over 40,000 performers. More critically, he designed and facilitated training for 60+ yearly team members to ensure all operations, expectations, and product quality are consistent. Michael’s current and most recent coaching clients include team members of Fortnite/Epic Games, The World Economic Forum,  Sesame Workshop, Discovery Network, Area 23, Reuters, Turn it Up Dance Challenge, Headliners Dance Championships, & Fortitude Dance Project. Always bringing a “human-to-human” first approach, Michael often awakens the most powerful aspects of leaders that other coaches fail to tap. He is a Graduate of AMDA College & Conservatory.

  • 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 TourOn 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
  • 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 upcoming Broadway productions include American Son 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
  • CHARLOTTE COHN

    was born in Denmark and raised in Israel where she served in the Israeli Army as a commanding officer. She is a founding producer of the New York Music Theatre Festival and MainStreet Musicals. Other producing credits include Rated P For Parenthood, The New York Times critics’ pick Handle With Care and Church & State, which will have 30 productions across the country by the end of 2019. Charlotte has directed at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre, Primary Stages, The Cell Theatre, Baltimore Playwrights' Festival, United Solo Festival, the Stage Door Playwrights Festival in Irvington, NY and Liederkrantz Opera. She is extremely proud to have directed the critically acclaimed Church & State at BTG, written by Jason Odell Williams. As an actress Ms. Cohn has performed on Broadway in La Boheme and Coram Boy. Regional highlights include - A.C.T.: Happy End, CENTERSTAGE: The Boys From Syracuse, The Murder of Isaac, PREMIERE STAGES: Las Cruces, NSMT: Nine. Charlotte is an Ovation Award Winner and was nominated for the Bay Area Critics’ Circle Award for her performance as ‘Hallelujah Lil’ in Happy End at A.C.T.  www.charlottecohn.com

  • RANDY DONALDSON

    has produced shows both on Broadway and Off-Broadway. These productions include, the critically acclaimed The Scottsboro Boys (nominated for 12 Tony Awards), The Pee Wee Herman Show, One Funny Mother; I’m Not Crazy!, Triassic Parq and Falling For Eve. Upcoming Broadway play American Son starring Kerry Washington. Randy has a BFA in Theater from Webster University and has performed in 11 Broadway shows/National Tours including: The Lion King, Kiss Me, Kate, Wonderful Town and Annie Get Your Gun.

  • S. ASHER GELMAN

    is a director, playwright, and producer.  Through his production company, Midnight Theatricals, he produced and directed his original play, Afterglow, which ran for 14 months Off Broadway at the Davenport Theater.  Upcoming productions include the musical We Are The Tigers by Preston Allen and Gelman’s next play, safeword., both opening Off Broadway in the winter and spring respectively. From 2006 to 2016, Asher lived in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he became one of the founders of The Stage, Tel Aviv’s premier English language performing arts organization, serving as its first Artistic Director from 2013 to 2016.  He serves on the Advisory Board of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. 

  • JOHN MELO

    Zephyr Communications, Inc. has over 30 years experience in advertising, strategic marketing, corporate communications, branding, interactive and multimedia in multiple industries. In the Entertainment Industry we cover Film, Theater, TV and Cable. Our Entertainment division has worked in the motion picture industry for over 25 years, engaged by most of the major studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Orion Pictures Corporation, Warner Bros., Universal Studios among others. As well as the independents as: Miramax, New Line Cinema, Cinema Shares International, Magna Distribution, Atlantic Releasing and Jim Henson Productions “The Muppets”. We started marketing Broadway theater productions in 1976, our first major involvement on Broadway was the original Dreamgirls. Recently we have expanded into assisting Broadway, Off, and Off Off Broadway productions to get started, thru readings, development, and marketing of their projects.  We are also assisting producers on the funding of both theater and film projects.

  • JULIA BEARDSLEY O'BRIEN

    works as a producer, general manager and director in NYC. She most recently produced Babette's Feast at St. Clement's Theatre. Her production (director, producer) of The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats will soon commence its second season at St. Luke's Theatre, where she also produced and directed a 6 year Off-Broadway run of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She general managed Burning in China, directed by Caleb Deschanel, and was a member of the Jessimeg Productions' general management team for the Drama Desk Award-winning Zero Hour. With Jessimeg productions, she associate general managed several long-running hits, such as Danny and SylviaThe Rise of Dorothy Hale, and the national tour of Gilligan's Island, the Musical. Additionally, Julia has worked as Education Director for a non-profit theater and as a teaching artist for many organizations. 

  • NORBERTO TRONCOSO

    is the Co-Founder of Open Hydrant Theater Company, alongside Luis Cardenas, Sarah Rosenberg and Deborah Pautler. With a mission to provide underserved youth with professional opportunities in theater and film, he has produced soldout youth productions, quarterly short play festivals with adults of the community, as well as various AEA productions for the company that have brought Open Hydrant to the forefront of the theater world, with fiscal sponsorship by The Point Community Development Center and by also partnering with the Theater Development Fund, The Mile Long Opera, 92nd Street Y, HSBC, and many more. A graduate of Pace University and a product of the South Bronx community, he is dedicated to make theater happen in his neighborhood and bring the Bronx to Broadway  

  • 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.

  • DAUNA WILLIAMS

    is a member of the Tony-nominated producing team, R2D2, which was one of the producers of 12 Tony-nominated The Scottsboro Boys.  She's currently developing and/or fundraising for other theatrical and film productions for Broadway, Off-Broadway and cable. A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law, Dauna is a practicing intellectual property/technology attorney. She once founded Content360, a dot com that created interactive entertainment vehicles. Dauna has not strayed from this vein, with her current avocation being mashable and other forms of multi-media theatre and related marketing. where she is currently a board member. Dauna speaks frequently on the topics of intellectual property, technology and outsourcing. Ms. Williams received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.

  • FRANK ZUBACK

    was the Lead Producer for Moolah, a new comedy by Arje Shaw (The Gathering). Currently he is helping develop three new works: Taking Leave, American Soldier and Roof of the World. Frank has also had the great privilege of working on a number of shows and projects with the late director Tom O’Horgan (Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair). In addition, he has worked on over twenty musicals and was involved for thirty years on the Tony Awards. Also involved in the music and entertainment industry, Frank has worked with luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, conducted the Count Basie Orchestra, and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and consulted on nine Super Bowl half-time shows. Mr. Zuback founded Frank Zuback Productions, which provides a wide range of services in the music and entertainment industry. Website - http://fzpi.com

  • GARY BETSWORTH

    is an experienced Executive Director, Artistic Director, Managing Director, Board Chair, Producer, Playwright, and Actor. As a producer, Gary was Executive Producer on the film Consequential Lies, and he co-produced and wrote Friends Like These, which won first prize at the Georgetown Horror Film Festival. He has produced and directed some of his own plays including: Trysts and Turns for Expanded Arts Theatre and Actor’s Theatre of Greenwich; a Children’s Show, Keep Your Hans to Yourself! for New England Actors’ Theatre and Hampton Playhouse, NH; and his first play A Magic Penny for Bailiwick Theatre in Chicago. As a Board Member, Gary co-produced La Boheme for Collegium Westchester Chorus and Orchestra, David Pittsinger and Blondie Chaplin concerts for Weston Commission for the Arts, and the Short and NEAT Theatre Festival for the New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas.

  • YAAKOV BRESSLER

    is a playwright, producer, and data scientist focused on dynamic pricing. Credits include: Magic the Play (writer, producer; Theatre Row NYC), Some Lovers (associate producer with TONY award winner Cody Lassen; Adirondack Theater Festival), Jung & Crazy (writer; development), The Golden Smile (writer; 4 festivals including Edmonton Fringe), associateship at National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, Yeshiva University (YU & Stern) Student Productions. Work in dynamic pricing focuses on lowering price barriers while  increasing revenue. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College where he founded its creative writing magazine Stuck in the Library. He is also a proud member of Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU), and a founding member of The Artist Co-Op. www.yaakovbressler.com

  • MARK WILLIAM BUTLER

    has written and produced over twenty plays, musicals and revues, including Ugly Christmas Sweater, The Musical, which was chosen for the TRU Voices New Musicals Reading Series, and award-winning productions of The Laundry War, The Nickname Fairy, and Bad Christmas Sweater. His work has been selected for various festivals in NYC, including The Midtown International Theatre Festival, The Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, The Players Theatre Short Play Festival, The Bare Knuckle Festival, 8 Minute Madness, and The Manhattan Rep One Act Festival. His short story, Cool and Clean and Crisp, was published in the Best American Erotica book series (Simon & Shuster). He also produces shows for non-profits, including the annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Irish-American Writers & Artists, and The Amazing Library Variety Show, a fundraiser for Urban Librarians Unite, a library advocacy group. He is also a published poet and journalist, and a member of DGA, ASCAP, and Theater Resources Unlimited, as well as a graduate of TRU’s Producers Development and Mentorship Program (PDMP).

  • INA CHADWICK

    AKA Ina Chadwick Wilde, holds nine New England Press Association Awards from the prehistoric days of newspapers. Since 2009 under MouseMuse Productions Chadwick has been producing, and performing live spoken word and storytelling programs at Fairfield Theatre Company’s black box, The Fairfield Museum and History Center, The Bijou Theatre, Westport Arts Center. Her company has appeared for several years in Fairfield County CT venues and also at The West End in New York City. MouseMuse produced a staged reading of a musical, Magazine, at the Theater Artists Workshop black box. Her varietal program, “Live Magazine” is a show featuring storytellers and musicians in the Garrison Keillor tradition. Her radio hour, “Real People, Real Stories,” at www.mousemuse.com can be heard every fourth Saturday on WPKN 89.5 FM and www.wpkn.org  streaming live. Ina is currently co-producing a show with Ripple Effects Artists at the American Theatre of Artists (ATA) Sargent Stage.

  • LEE A. G. FELDSHON

    has over 23 years of experience in entertainment and corporate law. He recently formed Feldshon Law PLLC to launch his private practice, after having partnered with David Schwartz in Feldshon & Schwartz, LLP for the last 10 years. He represents producers, co-producers, composers, bookwriters, lyricists, directors, and other creatives in the live theatrical industry. He has represented the New York Musical Theatre Festival since its 2004 founding.  He was production counsel for the Broadway revival of Pump Boys & Dinettes and represented stars (including a Tony-award winning actor) in connection with the Tony-award winning Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He did legal work for Desperate Measures (2018 Drama Desk Award for original music and lyrics), Who’s Your Baghdaddy, Money Talks, Bloody, Bloody, Jessica FletcherLibertyEmojilandRooms, and other Off Broadway shows.  He represents co-producers on the Broadway productions of Moulin RougeKing Kong, and Chasing Rainbows.  He negotiates screenplay option/purchase agreements and financing documents for film producers, and has worked as film production counsel for Good Girls GoneFly Away (SXSW Official Selection), and the documentary Darkon: An American Fantasy (2006 SXSW Audience Award). While Director of Legal Affairs and Business Development of the Radio City Entertainment division of Madison Square Garden, L.P., he worked on The Radio City Christmas SpectacularA Christmas Carol, and Rockettes performances. As a Levine Plotkin & Menin associate, he worked on Rent (Broadway, touring), The Wild Party (Broadway), De La Guarda (Off Broadway), and other shows. He started his career as a corporate associate at White & Case. He received a B.A. from Columbia College in 1991 (magna cum laude, Rhodes Scholar State Finalist) and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1994 (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar). Bar Admissions: New York.

  • DENISE HUZA

    began her career as an actress in Seattle where she performed in Dan Savage’s spoof of Equus (Egguus), and Arts West’s production of Our Town. Denise now finds herself happily engaged in the exciting world of producing and general management. Previous hats include Associate Producer for the Westend’s recent It Happened in Key West, official photographer for Neil Totton’s NY Soul Sensation at New World Stages and Outreach Director for Raquel Almazan’s La Paloma Prisoner and Porning the Planet in New York City. Future projects include producing the contemporary theatrical fairy Tale Wrapped in Pink, a collaboration with Josh Walden (Associate Director, Ragtime Broadway Revival).

     

  • 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.

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