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“I Don’t Want the Credit”: Seven Essentials to Succeed with Work for Hire

Connie Brean (Robert De Niro): Stanley, don't do this. You're playing with your life here. Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman): F*** my life. I want the credit. (David Mamet’s Wag the Dog) A Game Worth Getting Into Let’s face it. Given a choice, most Creatives want to make their own art rather than spend valuable hours helping others perfect theirs. I’m always on some level aware that every minute I spend doing the things I talk about in this article I am not spending on …

The Role of Creatives in This Time of Crisis

This article’s a little different than my previous ones. And, in some ways, it’s the most important. It’s less structured and more conversational. I’m not using headings, because it’s all of a piece. It’s an open letter, fully from the heart, to an amazing community with so much to give. I appreciate the opportunity given to me by Taylor and the amazing leaders at Stage 32 to share my thoughts in this way during these Times of Crisis. These Unpreced…

7 Questions to Develop Your Vision and Voice

What are Vision and Voice and Why are They Important? There’s a lot of good news for Creators and Creatives these days. The abundant Stage 32 opportunity announcements for meetings and pitches with agents, managers, and producers prove they’re hungry for content, which means they’re looking for new writers, actors, and directors who are strong in their craft, with compelling stories to tell. Whenever there’s competition, there’s also the challenge of sett…

The Pros and Cons of Adapting a Classic

So You Want to Adapt a Classic? Considering the benefits of adapting the classics of literature—the proven success of their themes and structure, iconic lines, enduring timeliness, and strong characters—the question is, why WOULDN’T you want to adapt a classic? Because it’s already been done... to DEATH. Take Sherlock Holmes. Adaptations are endless, with new ones nearly every year. And the approaches writers take encompass a wide range: placing him in mode…

Seven Essentials for Projects “Based on a True Story”

  “Based on a True Story.” Five very powerful words. But also kind of complicated… Yet, despite the complications and often polarizing reviews when “true stories” debut, there’s no denying there’s something about a “true” story that’s value-added. The voyeurism intrinsic to our psychology is essential to engaging with Narrative, and those five words enhance the marketing, anticipation, and audience experience. Take the…

Self-Tape Success: Seven Strategies for the Actor, Director, and Reader

Roll Tape… And… Action! There’s no doubt about it—self-tape auditions are all the rage and certainly here to stay. And, with pilot season fast upon us, the timing is perfect for talking about what makes a self-audition submission likely to succeed. A quick Internet search will yield an abundance of self-tape how-to articles and videos, which is great, and I encourage you to watch and read them. But they mostly focus on the technical aspects of the process (cam…

7 Differences Between Writing for the Stage and Writing for the Screen

 In the five years I have been on Stage 32, I have read many threads and conversed with at least a dozen playwrights making the transition to screenwriting, in whole or in part. This is not surprising given the growing opportunities in the filmmaking and television industries and the shrinking budgets and opportunities in the theatre. In the past 20 years, I have written over twenty produced plays and musicals (I’m currently revising my 21st), for a variety of ages and audien…

The Art of Showing Up: 7 Things Creatives Must Practice to Succeed

  The most important thing in life is showing up. I am blown away by your ability to show up. (Keanu Reeves, Hard Ball)   Prologue Primarily being a writer, and one who does a lot of historical research, I spend a lot of time alone. So, when I’m hired as an actor, director, storyteller, or teacher, it gives me an opportunity to test my philosophies of keeping motivated and inspired and doing the same for others. For three weeks in June I toured as Marxist revolutiona…

The Pros [& more Pros] of Intuitive and Analytical Writing

An Either–Or World. (Cue the sad face.) In the twenty-first century, debate is all the rage. I’ve been saying (lamenting, really) for nearly a decade that Confrontation is the new Communication.Wherever you look, even in Arts and Entertainment, it’s all about “Them and Us.” Otherness, and Alienation. And right along with this dysfunctional approach to life is the inclination to look at techniques, structural models, and other tools for your creative toolbox…

7 Steps for Writing Knights & Dragons Fantasy

Prologue: Venturing Forth The PROTAGONIST. Often a simple, unassuming person at least somewhat content in their everyday life, is given a quest. A journey must be made—both physical and psychological. Leaving the familiar, they cross the threshold into a new and dangerous world, where they will be tested time and again. Allies and enemies abound. The stakes are high. Will they prevail?All fantasy is based on some form of this opening paragraph. Not coincidentally, it is also the &…

How Blogging [& Networking] on Stage 32 Landed Me Jobs

On my “Wall of Inspiration” is a button I bought on the opening night of a play 32 years ago. It reads, “Life is a constant audition.” It’s a good reminder because auditioning is hard, as I say several times in my last post on Stage 32, Preparing for Auditions: 7 [Guided] Script Approaches That Land You The Job. Just as hard, and very similar to auditioning, is networking. You’re putting yourself out there in front of people, all of whom will judg…

Preparing for Auditions: 7 [Guided] Script Approaches That Land You The Job

There is nothing like auditioning. The range of emotions an actor feels stepping into a room full of decision-makers is considerable and often damaging to the quality of the audition itself. One way to keep those emotions and the mistakes they cause in check is to know how to work on a script in a hurry. And I will let you in on a secret: Good readers make better auditioners, whether you get the sides a week, a day, or ten minutes before the audition. So, if you don’t read alou…

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