Thursday, October 24, 2013

What makes me different...

I've been having an internal struggle for several years, actually ever since I've been trying to write plays. And every time I've tried to voice it I've come across as crass and critical of other playwrights.  It wasn't until just recently that my wonderful and brilliant girlfriend finally pointed it out to me. For years I've been trying to say things like "winning awards and submitting to open submissions don't help me" and that's come across to my some of my most respected friends and colleagues as saying that I think that their awards and productions don't mean anything. Of course your awards mean something and I will happily be the first person to cheer them on when they get them. I love being able to say that I know multiple friends who have won Kennedy Center honors and great regional awards and gotten published. But what I guess I've been trying to say for forever and failing is that while those things are great for them they don't motivate me at all.

The first production of one of my first plays. The Director thought a female would be better as the lead than the male I intended.  When you listen to your directors and trust them they can help you see things you never saw.
What motivates me is seeing my work produced. I don't care where it is or what the name on the marquee is I love getting a group of people together who unite to create a work of art. I love having complete strangers read and be critical of my work because then I know that they're engaged. I like it when people get excited about putting my work onstage and hearing them talk about their struggles and joy getting it there. What I guess I don't like is middlemen, and I feel that a lot of the tried and true methods of getting your play out there are riddled with them. I like to put my plays online because then I know it's getting into the hands of a director actively looking for their next play or an actor desperately looking for another character to inhabit.

Some people will say that means I set myself up for copyright infringement or someone "messing with my text". Well for me I don't mind giving some of the control over. I could be sitting on a script and waiting for the right director to come along or I could be getting more productions out there and more chances to see my work. And when presented with those options I pick the latter all the time.  And as far as getting an agent, publisher, or producer is concerned I feel that until someone comes along to take that job I'm the acting producer/publisher/and producer of my work. And I think that more playwrights should do the same. If at the end of the day what you want is someone to produce your work there are a lot of ways that the internet can help you get your work out there easier than the old ways of doing it. I still use some of the old ways myself but their end products aren't my motivation to keep writing. I keep writing because I know there's someone who's as hungry to produce the kind of plays I write as I am to get them onto the stage. Stick with what motivates you and I'll still be there to cheer you on.

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