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TRU BEGINNINGS | Practical Playwriting: How to Write for Commercial Production
Description

What often holds playwrights back is that they rarely consider the person who will buy and produce their product: the producer.  With all the work, hope and sweat they invest in considering character, theme and plot, playwrights rarely take into account producibility.

Cost: $150, TRU Members save $25

This one-day intensive is led by commercial producer Patrick Blake (The 39 Steps, Bedlam Theater's Hamlet/St. Joan, The Exonerated, In the Continuum, Play Dead), director-dramataurg-producer Cate Cammarata of CreateTheater.com, marketing consultants Bob Ost and Gary Hughes who help writers capture the essence of their piece in an effective synopsis. The day ends with a panel of commercial producers who will offer feedback on writers' pitches as well as suggest appropriate markets for the works. Panelists have included producers Pat Addiss (Gigi, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Love Letters revival, Promises, Promises, A Christmas Story, Buyer and Cellar, Dinner with the Boys), Margot Astrachan (Ghost the musical, A Gentleman's Guide..., Ghost the musical, The Realistic Joneses, Around the World in Eighty Days, On a Clear Day...), Patricia Klausner (Pippin, Stick Fly, The Scottsboro Boys, Trip to Bountiful) and Frank Zuback of Frank Zuback Productions.

• WHAT IS PRODUCIBILITY? The fact that producers always ask this question, and playwrights hardly ever do, causes a serious disconnect between the commercial producer and most playwrights.
• WRITING TO A MARKET - We will ask each playwright questions he or she has probably never considered before: Who is your market? Who is going to buy tickets? Who is this play written for?
• WRITING VIABLY - Creating writing that holds the attention of the audience with a strong storyline and defined events. This module will cover such primary writing elements as: arc, desire, motivation, conflict, and the clear delineation of theme.
• WRITING ECONOMICALLY - Number of characters, number of sets, extravagance of sets: all these are serious considerations for most commercial producers.  Does the play require a casting director, or can it be done successfully by seasoned unknowns?  Is there a  chorus of thirty that can be pared down to two?  Are you kidding yourself when you think one actor can play eight parts?

"I truly enjoyed the first part and gleaned a good deal of info I did not know - and a lot of practical suggestions that go not only with my play but with the other writing I do." - Mary Sheeran

"Yesterday reminded me why I should get to more TRU events. The feedback on my pitch was invaluable." - Joe Beck

Besides thanking you overall for the entire session yesterday, I wanted in particular to thank you for three things: 1) advising me to use a casting director...; 2) forcing me to think more deeply about what one of my main characters wanted; and 3) forcing me to move the desperation of my protagonist up closer to the beginning.... I am going to scrub through the entire script to better apply your precepts. ~Randy Hobler

Thanks for a fabulous, infomative and very practical day. Clearly, TRU is making a significant contribution to to theatre community in New York.~Richard MacDonald

I just wanted to thank you for all the tremendous information you gave on Saturday's seminar. I can't tell you how much I learned and how grateful I am to have had this opportunity. ~ Kathleen Kaan

Great workshop, full of significant realizations (like, I'm a lousy marketer), and delicious opportunities for growth. I have long resisted taking workshops, feeling they would consume my valuable writer's time, but I now see I badly need this input and exposure. ~Jean Hart

Faculty
  • 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 a producer, director, dramaturg, and writer in NYC, dedicated to the development of new plays and musicals. She is the Executive Producer of CreateTheater's New Works Fest, the Associate Artistic Director for Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Theater Collective, and has been the Literary Manager for Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) for ten years. Off-Broadway: The Assignment, My Father's Daughter. Regionals: My Life Is a Musical (Bay Street Theater), Bran Castle (Porchlight Theater). 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 latest book, "Contemporary Monologues for a New Theater," was listed as one of the Top Ten Books for theatre lovers by BroadwayDirect in 2018. catecammarata.comcreatetheater.com

  • BOB OST

    While still a senior at U. of Pa., his one-act Beast was produced by Bob Moss in the first season of Playwrights Horizons. He went on to write book, music and lyrics for the off-Broadway revue Everybody’s Gettin’ into the Act at the Actor’s Playhouse, and Finale!, Grand Prize winner in the 1990 American Musical Theater Festival Competition (presented at NAMT) and the 1992 New American Musical Writers Competition, and a finalist at the O’Neill Music Conference in 1989. More recently his musical Angel in My Heart won Best Musical in the 2014 Fresh Fruit Festival. He won the 2011 New Works of Merit Playwriting Competition for his play Breeders, previously a finalist at the O'Neill, as well as a selection of the TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series. The Necessary Disposal was a 2010 finalist in the Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition at the Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo, has been a finalist in three other national competitions, and was part of the Shotgun Productions New Play Reading Series and the Oberon Theatre Reading Series, both in NYC; his one-act A Glass of Water was part of the Lovecreek Festival, HomoGenius Festival, Downtown Urban Arts Festival; other one-acts have been showcased all over New York. He won a 2004 OOBR Award for the review "Songs Are Like Friends", and is a 3-time MAC nominee. While he was producing his own musical revues at cabarets around Manhattan he discovered he could combine his artistic talent with the business skills he was picking up in the advertising world. The idea of Theater Resources Unlimited was born, with the help of co-founders (and  fellow writers) Gary Hughes and Cheryl Davis in 1992. He has gone on to produce musicals Civil War Voices and Rip in the Midtown International Theater Festival, and the classic Chinese musical, Romance of the Western Chamber.

Events
  • Practical Playwriting (pay-what-you-can to keep us running)
    August 30, 2020
    1:00 pm - 4:45 pm

Sunday August 30th, 1:00pm to 5:00pm A virtual workshop on Zoom, open to playwrights everywhere. CLICK HERE to fill out the registration form. What often holds playwrights back is that they rarely consider the person who will buy and produce their product: the producer.  With all the work, hope and sweat they invest in considering […]

  • Practical Playwriting
    March 14, 2020
    10:00 am - 5:30 pm

Saturday March 14th, 10am to 5:30 pm Clinton Cameo Studios, 307 W. 43rd Street, Studio A – workshop postponed due to the current health crisis CLICK HERE to fill out the registration form. What often holds playwrights back is that they rarely consider the person who will buy and produce their product: the producer.  With […]

  • Practical Playwriting
    August 27, 2017
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Desotelle Nu-Box Theatre, 300 W. 43rd Street, 3rd floor Sunday, August 27th, 10am to 6 pm Click here to download application. Please fill out and send to TRUStaff1@gmail.com What often holds playwrights back is that they rarely consider the person who will buy and produce their product: the producer.  With all the work, hope and sweat they invest […]

  • May 14, 2016
    10:00 am - 5:30 pm
151 W. 46th St., 8th Floor, NYC, NY 10036

Saturday May 14th, 10am to 5:30 pm The Playroom Theater, 151 W. 46th St., 8th Floor What often holds playwrights back is that they rarely consider the person who will buy and produce their product: the producer.  With all the work, hope and sweat they invest in considering character, theme and plot, playwrights rarely take […]

  • October 30, 2015
    7:00 am - 1:30 pm
Desotelle NuBox Theatre, 300 W. 43rd Street

Our curriculum and instructors are as follows: 11am-12:00 How to Write a Play that a Producer Wants to Produce – dramaturgical principles taught by Diana Amsterdam 12:00-12:30 How to Tackle the Business of Playwriting – taught by Diana AmsterdamGetting an agent, submitting work, the difference between nonprofit and commercial venues, unusual ways to get your work […]