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  Writing yourself?Jun 04, 2014 9:44 AMShira Schwartz
  RE: Writing yourself?Jun 05, 2014 9:31 AMScott Piehler
  RE: Writing yourself?Jun 05, 2014 9:41 AMJonathan Dorf
  RE: Writing yourself?Jun 05, 2014 9:49 AMShira Schwartz
  RE: Writing yourself?Jun 05, 2014 11:46 AMJonathan Dorf
  RE: Writing yourself?Jun 05, 2014 9:14 PMShira Schwartz
 

1.
Writing yourself?
From: Shira Schwartz
To: Open Forum
Posted: Jun 04, 2014 9:44 AM
Subject: Writing yourself?
Message:
I've been following, and commenting, on the thread about the infringement of video licensing. I was wondering how many people write their own pieces to help deal with . this issue? Or just because you enjoy it? :) I love writing but finding time to sit down and work is definitely a problem. Any suggestions? Not only do I run the department myself, I also coach the competitive improv team and parent an active almost 2nd grader... *sigh*

So far I only seem to have time to sit down and spit out monologues. They don't take the same time and thought that a story does. My students love getting the chance to work with the characters in class projects (although they can't use them outside of the classroom) and have asked me to write something for them. Any help on how to chunk the writing process into SMALL manageable bites would be extremely welcome... :D

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Shira Schwartz
Chandler Unified School District
Chandler AZ
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2.
RE: Writing yourself?
From: Scott Piehler
To: Open Forum
Posted: Jun 05, 2014 9:31 AM
Subject: RE: Writing yourself?
Message:
Shira,

I've written a ton of sketches over the years, and one short (25) minute play that's been produced at my church and at the school where I teach. 

Writing is so very personal, and there as many methodologies as writers. Personally, I tend to spin the story around in my head for quite a while (often while walking the dog), then dump it out onto the page in a big rush. Sometimes though, I'll get an idea for just a short segment, get it down, and forget about it for a few days. Other folks swear by the "I will sit at my desk for X minutes per day" method. Different strokes.

One of the best books I've read for managing the creative process is "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon. It's a short, breezy read, and it's available as an ebook. I actually gave a copy to each of 4 graduating seniors this year. You can preview it at Amazon.

Scott

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Scott Piehler
Drama Director
Lilburn GA
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3.
RE: Writing yourself?
From: Jonathan Dorf
To: Open Forum
Posted: Jun 05, 2014 9:41 AM
Subject: RE: Writing yourself?
Message:
Hi Shira,

When I was teaching full-time back in the 90s, I didn't usually produce my own plays, partly because I don't believe playwrights should direct their own work, and partly because I didn't want people to think I was being completely self-serving.  But because we'd often have more students audition for our "main" show, I'd occasionally write a short play to go along with it (for example, when I directed Inspecting Carol, I wrote a short parody of A Christmas Carol, Twisting Carol, as a curtain-raiser).

But probably the most useful discovery I made was out of necessity when I was commissioned to write a one-act for an arts conservatory in Connecticut and discovered I'd have over 30 actors.  I realized that a traditional structure was going to leave most people with nothing to do, so when I wrote the play (Dear Chuck), I used an episodic structure composed of a series of scenes and monologues, each one cohering around the theme (in this case, that teenagers are caught in the middle of being children and adults), with a series of "Chuck interludes" (and the beginning and ending) serving as connective tissue.  The episodic scene/monologue structure had the advantage of 1) allowing me to write in short, manageable chunks (most scenes were maybe 2-3 minutes) and 2) Being able to be very flexible in terms of casting, both in gender and in how much work I gave any particular actor; somebody who could handle a lot could appear in many scenes, while somebody who perhaps just needed to get her feet wet could handle one or two.  And of course, 3) an episodic structure is easy to rehearse in small groups.  Many of my more produced plays have gone on to follow this model.

At both ITF and Conference this year, I'm going to be teaching a workshop called Playwriting 911, which is for teachers to bring in any and all playwriting questions (teaching it or writing it) and have me answer them.  Don't know if you'll be at either one, but we could certainly go into more detail then if you are, as I'm sure you're not the only one with this question.

Cheers,
Jonathan

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Jonathan Dorf
Playwright/ Co-founder of YouthPLAYS/ Co-chair of The Alliance Of Los Angeles Playwrights
Los Angeles CA
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4.
RE: Writing yourself?
From: Shira Schwartz
To: Open Forum
Posted: Jun 05, 2014 9:49 AM
Subject: RE: Writing yourself?
Message:
I wish I could be there to take the classes but this year I'll be in London training at the Globe for 3 weeks in their Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance course. (YAY!). I'll have to wait until next year to try.

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Shira Schwartz
Chandler Unified School District
Chandler AZ
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5.
RE: Writing yourself?
From: Jonathan Dorf
To: Open Forum
Posted: Jun 05, 2014 11:46 AM
Subject: RE: Writing yourself?
Message:
Well, London doesn't sound so horrible either.  And maybe I can teach the student/teacher version, Playwriting As You Like It, at Arizona this fall.

But hopefully the ideas I mentioned will help.

Cheers,
Jon

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Jonathan Dorf
Playwright/ Co-founder of YouthPLAYS/ Co-chair of The Alliance Of Los Angeles Playwrights
Los Angeles CA
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6.
RE: Writing yourself?
From: Shira Schwartz
To: Open Forum
Posted: Jun 05, 2014 9:14 PM
Subject: RE: Writing yourself?
Message:
They definitely will. It actually gives me a springboard for an idea I've been seeing in my head for a while now. See you in November. Thanks. :)

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Shira Schwartz
Chandler Unified School District
Chandler AZ
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