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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

You should read

This great post over at Holtham's joint.

My two-cents: Self produce. Do it. Why not? But don't give up on getting your plays in the hands of any many directors and producers as possible. A lot of the most successful people out there submit constantly. So, whatever the hypothetical conversation may be that's currently catnip for all us bloggers... do the work. Write good plays, submit them everywhere, meet people you like, and work with them.

As for the pursuit of "good plays" and "good playwrights" all I can say is...

God knows. There's no alchemical formula to making a good play, no check-list, no truly well-made play, no ideal. There's also no way to be developed to perfection. Plays are likely just as often ruined by development as helped. There's no way to tell.

One must use one's own judgment, as the artist, as the person with the most stake in the outcome. If you, as a writer, allow people with almost no personal stake in your success, who are not speaking with your voice, to guide what you present on stage...I'd say that's a mistake. But, of course, I'm generalizing desperately. We all are. Maybe you do a reading, and someone's Mom says the perfect thing to you over drinks. Maybe you do a reading and your favorite living writer shows up, and says something to you that is totally off-the-mark.

The only constant in your career is you. Everyone will be as helpful and helpless and destructive as, well, all people are.

I once took a class with a teacher that told us all that Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is too long. Shakespeare wrote anti-feminist and anti-Semitic works . I can barely stand Shaw. I know people who think Arthur Miller blows. Tony Kushner has been rewriting his plays in front of the audience for years now. Neil Simon is dated. Half the world doesn't know what the hell to make of Beckett.

These are the best of the best. The classics. The giants. And even they have their valid detractors and their flaws. If you want to be one of them, you have to live with criticism. You can't serve the whims of artistic directors and the graduates of this or that university or what-have-you.

It's a shame that there's such a divide between the decision makers and the good work they seek. But it's out there. It can be found. And it is being found. And it will be. Sure, there's a lot of garbage, and there are writers who are exceptional that never get their due. It's a shame, but there it is. No cure for it. Everyone get their helmets on, take a deep breath, and run towards the battlefield.


Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

that was a great post.

Self-produce is the way to do it. If indie bands and indie filmmakers and DIY writers can push their stuff out there, why can't we playwrights do the same?

Jamespeak said...

Hey, I've always been all for it.

Freeman said...

That's because you are a king among men. Please, let's hug it out.

Jamespeak said...

I thought you'd never ask.

Duncan Pflaster said...

Right on; I've been self-producing for years, but still sending in scripts all over. Perseverence.