A lot of playwriting gets done in February, when writers are holed up against the cold. What advice would you give them? What themes should they explore? What sort of characters would you love to see? What could they write that would make you want to line up at the box office to see?
E-mail your advice to Playbill On-Line managing editor Robert Viagas
Please include your town and state, and please note whether you'd like us to include your full e-mail address so you can receive responses. This is optional, of course. Results will be posted as they come in.
Here are the responses so far:
My advice is simple: young and intense. Grab the audience's attention with current subjects. Get younger audiences with intense feelings and a young cast (i.e. similar to RENT and NOISE/FUNK).
Todd Andrew Barnett (firstname.lastname@example.org or JBarn83138@aol.com)New Baltimore, MI
I have four words to say to a newcomer who wants to enter this profession: "Write a detailed storyline." Before you write any dramatic piece whatsoever, write an outline of what and who the characters are. Also detail and structure your synopsis so that the actors can understand the characters and that the audience can identify with and interpret them. Then start composing your story. The backbone of any piece is the plot, the storyline; not the lines. The lines are the icing on the cake. Let them come later.
When you're writing your story, make sure the characters are getting the audiences' attention. Make the characters interesting, appealing, and enticing. Let the audience get to know the characters really well. Make it funny or sad. Choose either one but, and I say this with sincerity...most of all.....create a conflict between the characters that the audience won't be prepared for. Make the conflict unpredictable so that audience can't anticipate what your characters are about or getting themselves into.
When writing your piece, base it on your experience. Using that to your advantage will help you shape your piece to gain good acceptance. Model some parts of your personality into the main character(s) or take anyone you know - whether it's a family member, parent, or friend - who can contribute some characteristics to let them take themselves very seriously.
One more thing - make it short........maybe two acts or less. Good luck!