Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Let's get ready to rumble... er... write!

You may not be a wrestling fan, but the phrase is probably familiar to you: “Let’s get ready to rumbllllllllllllllllle!” Today we’re just a little under six months until the submission deadline for the 2013 New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival and its time to get writing. Specific dates and details about the 30th anniversary installment of the Festival will be posted in the coming months, but for now the best thing to do if you’re thinking about submitting a play is to get started!

There may be some of you who have an idea and are ready to dive right in, but there are others of you who may be struggling to get started. Maybe you have a lot of ideas and don’t know which to choose. Or maybe the opposite is true and you just can’t think of a thing. These are common blocks that affect every writer at some point in time. The important thing when you are struggling is to pick something and start writing. You don’t necessarily need to start with the play itself – just put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and let the ideas flow.

No matter where you are with an idea it may help to jot down a few ideas in a list, or an outline, or a synopsis. What are you interested in? What ideas come to mind when you think about a story? What kinds of plays do you like to see – OR – what kinds of stories do you like to read? Do you have an idea for a plot, or a character? (or both?) What do you want to say about the world, or to the world? What is important to you? Whatever you have in mind, wherever your brain takes you, get those ideas down on paper and see what happens. Before long you may find that you are developing an idea for a play that you feel passionate about – something that moves you deeply.

Over the next few months, I will share some ideas for writing your play from beginning to end. I hope that some of these suggestions will be helpful to you as you write, but please know that not everything that is mentioned here may work for you. There is more than one way to write a play and it is important that you figure out what works for you and what works for the story that you want to tell. With this in mind, I’ve asked a number of the playwrights, directors, actors, and other theatre folks who work with Playwrights Theatre of NJ and the NJ Young Playwrights Festival to share some of their thoughts about plays with you. I’m collecting their ideas now and will post them to the blog along with writing tips and ideas. I encourage you to share your ideas and your progress by commenting on the posts as we go. I can also be reached at njypf@ptnj.org if you have any comments that you don’t want to share publicly, or to answer any questions that you might have.

I look forward to getting started with you and to seeing the finished pieces in January.

Happy writing!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Presentation of Summer Playwriting Workshop scenes

Our three summer playwrights worked on two individual projects during this past two-week session. First, a short scene for which each playwright collaborated with two or three students from the Acting Workshop class. The second project, is a longer piece which each playwright is writing independently.

The summer playwriting class reading and critique each other's plays.

The short scenes were presented by the acting class during a final presentation this morning. Pictures from the presentation are to the left.

The longer scenes are currently in progress, but the playwrights have been encouraged to continue writing throughout the summer with the end goal of submitting the scripts to the 2013 New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival.

 On the last day of camp, the playwrights read the current draft of each classmate's script and answered basic questions provided by the author. While this is a bit earlier in the writing process than I might have liked, the playwrights enjoyed hearing other people read and respond to their work. In fact, hearing the acting class read their work was the most impactful part of the session for them. Over the next few weeks, I will read each draft and provide my own feedback, but I also hope the playwrights will continue to send drafts to me throughout the summer. Each has done remarkable work and I cannot wait to see how the plays turn out down the road!