Since there has not been a spree for awhile, I thought this would be appropriate posted here. edd, please leave his up so the playwrights can see how the DGA is actively working for them
Has anyone attended such an event in their region?
Dramatists Guild Director/Playwright Exchange in Chicago.
I took part in the DGA Midwest Region Director/Playwright Exchange event at Steppenwolf Theatre last night. If there is one sponsored by the Guild in your area, I would suggest you attend. If there is not one, contact the
DGA, find out who your Regional Rep is and see if he/she can set one up.
Playwrights came in from as far as 4 hours away.
Prior to the event, every playwright accepted (20) submitted a bio and a description of something they were currently working on. And every director (10) submitted a bio and a statement of what types of theatre/plays they were interested in.
We all had received everyone’s statements several days ahead of time to peruse. From their bios and statements read beforehand, I had targeted five directors. No sense for me wasting my time with someone who wants to develop work “from the ground up with a company of actors.” That is not how I operate. I took a small “cheat sheet” with with me to remind me what to say to each person based upon their statements and how it related to the play I was trying to interest them in.
The thing is, if you get a notice from the DGA about such an event held in your area, it will only be the first 20 people who respond who had not been to such an event in the last 18 months. So, if you get a notice, don’t dilly-dally. The other thing is if you go, don’t waste your time or the other playwrights. Meet someone, get your business done and move on. Everyone knows why they are there. (We all had name tags, so it was easy.)
No writer was to bring scripts or resume’s to the Exchange. Just business cards. Which meant I had to get some printed up because the last time I ever had a business card was about 25 years ago. At the time, I think I handed out 2 of them. I never needed them. The fellows at my local copy shop helped me out. Charge 15 bucks for fifty. I handed out 10 last night. The rest will probably stay in my drawer for the next 25 years!
Doug Post and Elizabeth Margolius, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of DirectorsLabChicago based on the Lincoln Center model where she had worked, hosted the event. Doug's great for the Guild as the regional rep for Chicago.
The bar was open courtesy of the DGA. (I had bottled water. Honestly, I did.) Then we sat in a circle - actually a Hippodrome formation of chairs - for about 15 minutes. Doug explained the simple ground rules and how it operates in NYC. We all then introduced ourselves and then informally found the people we were interested in. It was made pretty simple.
I spoke to all five plus one that I had not targeted, and a fellow who had an Equity theatre from out of town that showed up. We actually had someone in common we knew. He wants a full script of a particular play that would appropriate to their theatre.
Out of the seven I met, I am sending six plays. I suggested I send them only send the first 15 pages. I found it funny I was the one who suggested that (as usually it is theatres) but they were actually appreciative of my suggestion. I told them, “You will know by then if there is any interest. Just ask for more if you like it.” I figured if there was a whole play lingering in an attachment, it could “loom” over them like a "Past Due" bill. I wanted to make it “Consumer Friendly” for them. This way they can “get in and get out” as David Mamet says in his play “Edmond.”
Everyone I met, both playwrights and directors, were very nice and courteous people.
It lasted only 2 hours. And a lot got done by all.
It really was a wonderful evening. Quite informal.