Friday, September 19, 2014

Accepting "works-in-progress" for 2015 NJYPF

You may have heard that the submission deadline for the 2015 NJ Young Playwrights Festival is one month earlier this year than it has been in the past. We realize that the new December 15 deadline may be too early for some playwrights who are writing their scripts in a school classroom, or residency program, so we're accepting partial script submissions for this year only.

Playwrights who may not finish in time for the December 15 deadline need to send us whatever draft they are currently working on and identify their play as a "work-in-progress" on the submission form. That indication, along with some additional information about the play, will help our readers better understand the play as you intend it.

If you have any questions about the work-in-progress submissions, please contact the PTNJ Education office at 973-514-1787, ext. 21 or via education@ptnj.org.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

First submission received for NJYPF 2015

Happy to announce that we received our first script submission within hours of opening the submission page for the 2015 NJ Young Playwrights Festival. Keep 'em coming!

Submit your play today at http://www.njypf.org

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Deadline Announcement for 2015 NJ Young Playwrights Contest & Festival

Attention New Jersey Young Playwrights!

We are now accepting script submissions for the 2015 NJ Young Playwrights Contest & Festival. The deadline for submissions this year is December 15, 2014.

Please take note that this deadline is earlier than we have traditional held in the past. This is because we are working on some changes to the Festival process that necessitate an earlier deadline; however, we do not yet have all of the details of these changes in hand. We will make another announcement when that is set. In the meantime, please note the December 15 deadline and start writing (if you haven't already)!

Scripts will be accepted through the Festival website. As in the past, this is a two-part process that requires the completion of an online title page via SurveyMonkey and the email submission of your script to njypf@ptnj.org. You can complete the Title Page Forum using the link above, or by using the embedded form found on our website (use the internal link for Submissions).

Please let us know if you have any questions, or any difficulty with the submission of your script.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

An update from our current Playwriting Workshop for grades 6-12

The following was originally published on the personal blog of Jim DeVivo, PTNJ's Director of Education. It is reprinted here with his permission. You can follow Jim's blog here.
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After teaching young playwrights for twelve years, I knew it was high time to evaluate my curriculum and consider some fresh ways to get my playwriting students started this summer. I have changed things consistently throughout those years, but the time felt ripe for something completely new. I browsed through my old plans and revisited my young playwrights bibliography and decided to try a few new things during Full Day Theatre Camp. In the process of that program last week, I discovered a tendency to model different steps in the process using examples that were independent of the others.

Today we began the class with a neutral scene of four lines between unspecified characters that I borrowed from CenterStage’s Teaching Playwriting in Schools: Teacher’s Handbook and set up the students with a scene between characters A and B. Students copied the dialogue and then continued the scene for three minutes. The difference between their stories was vast and best exemplified by two: one that involved an evil Lord commanding one of his servants and the other a more informal argument between friends about breakfast foods. This sparked a discussion of how dialogue can change depending upon the characters who speak them, the conflict between characters, and the location in which the conversation occurs. Students wrote a bit about their own characters using this information and then we moved on to an activity for outlining a story using the main character’s wants, the actions that character would be comfortable (and uncomfortable) taking to get what they want, and the obstacles that might stand in their way. Typically I start this exercise by referring to a common story with which everyone in the class (myself included) is at least casually familiar. However, finding such a story has become more difficult in recent years. My original reference (Star Wars) had become complicated by time and prequels. After a brief attempt at Harry Potter – of which I haven’t read enough of the series to keep up with the students – I moved to Cinderella. This has worked well given the variety of versions found in different cultures and the resulting discussions we’ve had about point of view and theme. The problem is that Cinderella works well with elementary students and adults (I love discussing Disney princesses with adults), but teens tend to tune out when I mention her name. So, without a strong common story to use with this group I planned to launch into the old Cinderellaroutine when I realized that we had just discussed a handful of perfectly good story ideas that developed from the neutral scene. Why not choose one of them?

I choose the story of the evil Lord and his servant and the class was immediately energized by the prospect of creating a new story. Actually, I was surprised by how quickly they jumped into the process – none of the usual prodding questions and encouragements needed here! In fact, I think using an example from the students’ writing may have deepened their understanding of the Want-Action-Obstacle model as they were applying it to a new story much as they would when they set off to outline their individual plays. They’ve been so involved that I’ve been able to write this post as they continue to work well beyond when I told them I would first interrupt! Can’t wait to see where their stories take them next.