Friday, July 25, 2008

Playwrights on Writing for Film and TV

After work today I headed down to the Public Theater to attend “Stage and Screen: Playwrights Talk About Writing for Film and Television.”

It was a forum produced by the Summer Play Festival at the Public in partnership with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Film Theatre and Broadcasting (MOFTB). Moderated by Katherine Oliver, the commissioner of the MOFTB, the forum featured three working playwrights—Keith Bunin, Adam Rapp, and Beau Willimon .

I only got to see the last 30 minutes or so of the session, but it was a confidence booster for me. One of the major points that hit home was playwrights’ discussion about how self-production is what just about everyone does to get into the field. You gotta do it yourself first. I’m at that stage right now, so I was pleased to hear that even if you groom your career with MFA’s and whatnot, getting in the door usually takes plain old persistence and sweat and magic fairydust.

They also noted how it is virtually impossible to eke out a modest living on playwriting alone, and gave interesting anecdotes about their experiences writing for film and TV. One thing I would have liked to hear more about is how you can get income speaking engagements. (They said this is how Tony Kushner pays his bills, not really from his royalties and whatnot. I wanted details! I can do a speaking engagement too!)

A pretty good forum in my opinion, and I applaud the folks who put it together.

That’s all for now.

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