About Me

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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.

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve Live Webcast 2012 from Times Square

I'm one of the Associate Producers of the Worldwide Webcast of the New Year's Eve celebration from Times Square. This is my third year working on the show.

The show runs live from around 6pm until just after midnight. Hope you'l check it out and enjoy. Happy New Year!

Watch live streaming video from 2012 at livestream.com

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Samuel French titles available as eBooks

In an rather exciting development, Samuel French titles are being released as eBooks exclusively (for now) through the iBookstore, for Apple devices. Here's the information and list of currently available plays.

I'll let you know when WHEN IS A CLOCK becomes available, of course!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Scott Walters at Theatre Ideas

It's been quite a while since I've linked to Scott at Theatre Ideas. He's still cooking up a storm over there.

He's recently put for an idea to debate, and I think it's definitely worth some back-and-forth.

"Any theatre that transfers a production to a commercial venue automatically loses its non-profit status."


And so? What say you?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Phantasmaphile

My wife's blog is called Phantasmaphile. Also, if you haven't yet, go take a look at it. It's really gorgeous and inspiring. Like her!


Happy Holidays

I wish the best to you and yours (and theirs, I guess). Also, if you're feeling blue, there's The Hobbit Trailer to fix it.

Merry, Happy and Sincerely.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Confessions of a Serial Intern reaction

Over on howlround, an essay/post by Annah Feinberg...Confessions of a Serial Intern. Not a surprising read (I think her observations are perennial), but it is frank, sharply written, and I'm sure it will ruffle some feathers. Always a good thing to featherruffle. Plus, she makes the point, which can't be made enough, that an upper-middle class upbringing gives you a leg-up as an artist in this country.

I'm sure a lot of the debate will center around the validity of her claim that interns don't get hired by the theaters they volunteer for very often. (Some comments over there are already talking about that.) Two thoughts about that from me.

One is that I've always found that whole process questionable anyway. Is her point, "Look I gave you my free labor in order to move to the front of the hiring line, and I was able to do so because I can afford it. But this unfair advantage I thought I would get was misrepresented?" I know it isn't, of course. It's just a bit too much inside-baseball, first-world problems, writing a memo to Human Resources, to really keep me invested.

Second, it's less interesting to talk about post-internship hiring practices than it is to talk about the way in which financial constraints  force large artistic organizations to use free labor on a mass scale. Don't we have a jobs crisis in this country? Couldn't these unpaid internships, with a little public funding, become jobs? There's a strong economic argument to be made that better funded theaters and dance companies, large and small, could employ more people. And if these were jobs, even part-time or seasonal jobs, wouldn't that reduce the disparity in the class issue? It would mean that people who need to be paid for their work would still have "working at a theater" as an reasonable option.

On a personal note, I must confess, whenever I read about the "industry" I sort of die inside. I keep forgetting I'm in an industry. Or maybe the problem with my career thus far, such as it is, is that I'm expressly not in the industry. I just write plays and try to get them put on. I'm doing this wrong.

Then again, I think I want to be in the industry. Don't I? But then again, it's an industry. Isn't it?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Other theater apps we need

We're living in the App Era. The age of the App. I wonder if there are kids that won't know why it's called an App (lication.) I also wonder if there are children who don't know why it's called a "C" drive. I mean, I guess they never had to sit up for hours with their friend Marshall and remove every damn thing on their home computer from a C prompt just so they could transform their entire computer into an "X-Wing" arcade machine.

But I digress.

Apparently Scene Partner is an app that helps people memorize their lines. Because a yellow highlighter and a patient friend, or heck, just a room by yourself, is no longer good enough. We need the funky iPhone version of learning things.

So, I think I'd like to request a few more theater related apps. Things that will replace age-old problems with newfangled problems.

CUE ME APP - Keep your iPhone in your pocket on stage. It will buzz whenever it hears the three words preceding your next line.

WRAPPER REMOVER - An app that reminds you to remove the fucking peanut M&Ms from their wrapper now, five minutes before the play starts, while you're reading your program, not the second Mark Rylance comes onstage.

RIGHT FOR ME? - An app with several parts. First, you upload your headshot. Then, you put in your resume. Then, your friends anonymously can upload notes about the parts you're best for. Then, when a listing for an open call shows up, and your mind is feverishly looking for rationales why you should audition for Romeo at 47, you can consult the objective app and get your shit together.

NEW PLAY DEVELOPMENT APP - Replace the entire development process with an app that gives all the standard notes that you will receive during a talkback session, but fills them in MadLibs style from the details for your play. For example:

"I didn't believe it when MARTA confessed to DANIEL."

"I just think you should raise the stakes for HAROLD."

"What you need to ask yourself is 'Why is this night more important for GINA than any other night?'"

"I felt like THE ANGEL GABRIEL was from a different play."

"Shorter."

"Do you have any questions that you would like this APP to provide feedback on?" [ENTRY SCREEN] "Yes, the APP agrees that part could be tightened up."

"Why isn't this a screenplay?"

INSTANT REVIEW - An app that reads your play, the cast, the director, the company and the venue, and quickly writes the review you know you will receive before you even start rehearsing. It even will emulate the reviews from different sources, such a three star review from Time Out or an exasperated review from Charles Isherwood.

LITERARY DEPARTMENT APP - Send your play to this app for your daily dose of deadening rejection. It fills in the name of your play: "We loved reading THE JUNIPER BUSH" and makes a single comment that seems personalized before rejecting you. "The characters were unique and the structure inventive. We're sorry, it does not match our needs at this time." (Works especially well with the iPhone 4s.)

NEW PLAY APP - Enter a premise and characters, and this app will produce a 70 minute, intermissionless play with an ambiguous ending and a progressive social theme.

HEADSHOTS! - a new iPhone app that uses the camera to create the perfect digital headshot from any standard picture. Closes up on your face, finds your best side, whitens teeth, adds hand-on-your-chin with photoshop, creates either brick-building or stoop background with state-of-the-art digital technology. Then, instantly sends to agents and online depositories of dreams.

----

You're welcome, entrepreneurs.







Wave of the future, wave of the future

DPS inks e-Book deal. I love the use of the work "ink" here. That's intentionally ironic right?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The War in Iraq is Over

Apparently, even the New York Times says so.

So did we win? The war? That lasted? 9 years? Based on? Lies?

Did the thousands dead make us more free, or safe?

Was the cost of the war in human lives, human suffering, faith in our institutions, world opinion and pure dollars...worth it?


Playscripts Holiday Sale - Today and Tomorrow



Today and tomorrow only, Playscripts.com is offering a 40% Holiday discount on all its titles. Valid only today and tomorrow, December 16th.

That means if you want to make a gift to a loved one of a new play or anthology (or if you'd like to make a special sort-of gift to good old Matt Freeman by buying one of his books) now is a great time. Use the code GIFT at checkout.

Playscript titles by Matthew Freeman
Glee Club
Rabbi Hersh and the Talking Lobster (or Trayf)
The Death of King Arthur



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Top 10 of 2011

That's right it's time for a year-end list of Top 10 things. To explain a bit about the process:

First, I look at the things over the course of the last year that were, and I put them into categories and lay them out over a table. Some get blue stickers, some red, some green, depending. Then, I try to make sure there are at least an equal number of all three stickers, so that it's fairly and widely distributed among the potential things that are "top."

Once all those things are gathered, I do what I call the annual "gut check." Some things just feel right and others don't. I think we often get too analytical, and it makes us forget how much instinct drives us. That's what might explain why one year, on the Top 10, we left off Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Overthought things, you know? I'll always regret that.

Anyway, after the "gut check," we (my wife and I) go through a more complicated process of ordering things in Excel, trying to quantify. We take into account influence, reach, "the long tail," page views, aggregates, points, polls, overall sales, total sales, net versus gross, Nielsen ratings, our Pop-O-Meter, state-by-state polling data, unsubscribes and Twitter followers.

This usually brings the list into something like a near-focus. Finally, we use a dart board. Ten bullseyes later, our Top 10 list is complete.

And so, without further ado

10. The Walking Dead
9. Occupy Wall Street
8. Jerusalem
7. Spearmint Gum / Pepper Spray (Tie)
6.Obamneycare
5. Flashpoint
4. CM Punk
3. Earthquake, Japan
2. The Oprah Network
1. Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

New Dramatists has a new website

Fan-cy! Social media! Updates! Twitter!

Friday, December 09, 2011

From the new play

Hey. Who wants to read something I've recently written? As it's a blog about being a playwright?

Here's a quick snippet from the newest play. Because you heard it here first.


LEANNA

It’s not a second career. It’s a fourth career. When I was writing, I was always also working for the recruiter, and when I decided I’d make the transition to writing professionally, that never really counted as being a writer. That was content. I was a content provider. Which was better than being a recruiter, especially if you wanted to be a writer. The illusion was that I was incrementally moving towards writing by providing content, as if because both involved words they are related. The novel I wasn’t writing or even that short story that’s about five hundred words from done; they just stayed not written. So fuck it... I’m like “writing is bullshit and no one needs me to be a writer.” So I’m at school, and I’m going to get this degree and it’s not so bad, it’s CUNY so it’s not destroying me financially, and that’s awesome. But now I have this totally bizarre side job just to pay for school, so that I can go into a career in interior design, someday, instead of any of the things I’ve spent all my life doing. Which is great and fine and whatever. I win, someday, or I just keep losing like I’m winning, or something.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

BFG Collective



Three top Off-Off Broadway theater companies combine to form Voltron. Read all about it here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Sad Playwright

As if to commemorate my birthday, this website appeared before me on Facebook.

Sad Playwright.

What a beautiful place on the web.

36th Birthday

A day that shall live in infamy.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Indie Theater Now offerings

Just a reminder, you can find three of my plays available in digital editions on Indie Theater Now. Each play offers excerpts, a sample review, character breakdown, and notes on the original cast production.

The Most Wonderful Love (which got a pretty great New York Times review in 2006, here).

When Mother and Father celebrate their long and happy marriage with an unprecedented ceremonial unwedding, their friends and relations gather from all over to feast on the spoils; get ready for this sprawling satire on contemporary marriage and American fundamentalism.

The Great Escape (one of my favorites)

Things have changed since Henry last visited Mom; for starters, the d├ęcor is decidedly kitschier, and his sister Catherine decidedly creepier; and Mom has a new husband; and she’s locked herself upstairs.

The Americans

A young man writes a poem, “The Americans,” so beautiful that the walls of his room rise into the sky and explode, covering New York in wood and plaster rain; for three young men vaguely nervous about what their lives are becoming, it is, at least, something different.

Times Square from New Year's Eve - Webcast 2011

I'll be, once again, a producer on and the senior writer for the webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve. I'll embed it here, and on my website. It'll be fun. I hope you check it out. From your hovel, where you hide.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Give to your favorite theater company (part two)

Last week I posted this, about end-of-year giving to the theater company you care about.

I'd like to ask a question about your own giving strategy.

Do you tend to give whatever you can to a single arts organization, to maximize your impact? Or do you give a little to lots of smaller companies, to spread the wealth around? Or, do you not contribute in this way? Do you simply buy tickets as a way to show support?