Theater Resources Unlimited Presents Practical Playwriting: How To Write For Commercial Production 2020

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Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) announces the return of Practical Playwriting: How to Write for Commercial Production 2020 on Saturday, March 14, 2020 from 10am to 5:30 pm at Clinton Cameo Studios, 307 W. 43rd Street, Studio A. Tickets are $125 for members and $150 for non-members. Early- Bird tickets are $25 off thru 3/4. Tickets can be purchased online at https://truonline.org/events/practical-playwriting-2020/.

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.

This one-day intensive will be taught by TRU Literary Manager Cate Cammarata, with segments of the workshop taught by commercial producer Patrick Blake (The 39 Steps, My Life Is a Musical, Bedlam Theater's Hamlet/St. Joan, The Exonerated, In the Continuum, Play Dead) founding artistic director of Rhymes Over Beats, and TRU's Bob Ost and Gary Hughes offering marketing insights. With guest speakers including producers Margot Astrachan (The Prom, A Gentleman's Guide..., Nice Work If You Can Get It, On a Clear Day... revival, The Realistic Joneses), and producer/consultant/former general manager R. Erin Craig of La Vie Productions (Himself and Nora, Stalking the Bogeyman, Mr Rickey Calls A Meeting, Austen's Pride, Academy); and entertainment attorney Lee Feldshon.

* 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?

* HOW TO SPEAK "PRODUCER" - Understanding the producer's point of view, and learning to look at your work from a more objective perspective.

Schedule

(subject to change):

10am - 11am - Writing a play that increases the odds of it being produced - practical guidelines taught by Patrick Blake

  • How your creative choices influence your budget

  • Producible where? What makes a property commercial? What are other markets?

  • Managing expectations and knowing who your audience is

  • What producers look for in a play, and a partner

  • Avoiding encumbrances

11am - 12pm - What to expect from collaborators with Cate Cammarata

  • How collaborations work, and what to expect from your composer and co-writers

  • The role of the dramaturg in development

  • Balance of power: communicating clearly and working with a director

12:00pm to 1:00 pm - Lunch

1:00pm to 2:30 pm - Getting to Yes - with Cate, Pat and attorney Lee Feldshon

  • Steps of development

  • What goals to set at each step

  • When do I need a lawyer?

  • How to get an agent, and do I need one?

  • Outline of a reasonable option agreement

2:30 pm to 3:00 pm - Break

3:00pm to 4:00 - How to Improve Your Pitch taught by Cate Cammarata, Bob Ost, Gary Hughes

  • Understanding your producer

  • What is your show really about: identifying your strengths

  • Making your best elevator pitch ever: essential components you need to know

3:45pm to 4:00 - Break

4:00pm - 5:15pm - Inter-Active "Pitch" Session with feedback from producers Margot Astrachan and R. Erin Craig

  • 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.

5:15-6:00pm - Reception

Panelists

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 (TRU literary manager) is a producer, director, 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 La Mama 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 is the Director of Creative Development for MusicalWriters.com. Cate holds a BFA in Acting/Directing from Syracuse University and an MFA in Dramaturgy at SUNY Stony Brook and teaches Theatre Arts at 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.com, createtheater.com

Margot Astrachan is a Tony Award winning commercial theatrical producer based in New York. Broadway: Tony Award winning A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, The Realistic Joneses, Nice Work If You Can Get It, the revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever; Bonnie & Clyde; Busker Alley, Ghost the Musical National Tour, and the only staging of Stephen Sondheim's Evening Primrose. She also recently produced The Sting starring Harry Connick Jr. at The Papermill Playhouse. Upcoming: Diana, A New Musical (La Jolla, February 2019). Margot wrote, produced and performed five one-woman cabaret shows. New York: Danny's Skylight Room, Judy's, The Plaza Hotel, The Oak Room of The Algonquin Hotel, the Triad, The National Arts Club, and Don't Tell Mama's, among others. With dancer/choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, she wrote the book of a new Jazz musical, which has been read at Lincoln Center and at The York Theater.Margot was the American Artistic Director of the Jermyn Street Theatre in London and The Kings Head Theatre in London, and has had over 30 years' experience producing special events for Arts Organizations such as The York Theatre Company, The Theatre Museum, and Brit-Arts of The St. George's Society. She is a board member of The Alumni & Friends of The LaGuardia High School for the Arts, The League of Professional Theater Women, and The Theater Board of The Kaufman Cultural Center. She is a graduate of CTI (The Commercial Theatre Institute) and is a member of The Association of Performing Arts Presenters, The National Alliance For Musical Theatre, The Broadway League, The Dramatists Guild, the Advisory Board of TRU, British American Business, Inc. and BAFTA East Coast. She is the past chair and current board member of The American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Her latest project is Radio Galaxy by Michele Aldin Kushner (found in the TRU Voices series) and directed by Mark Waldrop, currently in development.

R. Erin Craig/La Vie Productions LLC - Since 1997, Erin and her company have helped to nurture and build new artists and new projects in theatre, film and music through their work as a General Manager, Production Manager, Marketing / Branding Consultant, Executive Producer and Producer. Current projects include: Austen's Pride: A New Musical of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting, Academy, Village of Vale, Into The Wild, Right Before I Go. Previous projects include: The Exonerated, In The Heights, High Fidelity, Irena's Vow, Easter Mysteries (live film), Himself and Nora, Liberty: A Monumental Musical, Stalking the Bogeyman, Velocity of Autumn, How We Got Away With It (film); and with Houses On The Moon Theatre Company, The Assignment, DeNovo, The Santa Closet and gUN COUNTRY. Erin is a member of The Broadway League, The Off-Broadway League, Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU). LaVieProductions.com

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 Fletcher, Liberty, Emojiland, Rooms, and other Off Broadway shows. He represents co-producers on the Broadway productions of Moulin Rouge, King 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 Gone, Fly 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 Spectacular, A 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.

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-seven-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-Producing Artists as well as career producers and theater companies.

TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program taught by prominent producers and general managers in New York theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop business skills. TRU serves writers through a Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab; programs for actors include the Annual Combined Audition.

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by public funds awarded through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as the Montage Foundation and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation.

For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit www.truonline.org.


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