Thursday, October 24, 2013

Two new playwriting workshops

The Pikes Peak Writers Conference just gave me their decision on my workshop proposal for next year's conference. Not only do they like it, but they want me to do a second workshop on playwriting.

Last year, I taught a basic class on breaking into playwriting. It was your standard marketing class covering what kinds of plays publishers are looking for and how to submit to them.

As mentioned earlier, I was disappointed in the turnout. Only six people showed up, although I have to admit they were a great group, enthusiastic and attentive.

Still, the low turnout bothered me. It may have been because my workshop was scheduled for Sunday morning--the tail end of the conference--when many people had already taken off and everyone else had their braisn fried from listening to a weekend's worth of talk talk talk. Or it may just have been because most of the attendees weren't interested in playwriting.

I decided to find out. I came up with a workshop that would play on my strengths in theatre while appealing to the novelists who make up the bulk of the attendees. The title? Theatre Games for Writers.

My thought was this: Writers expend huge number of grey cells to craft their characters. But there's a group of people who spend just as much as writers: Actors.

Their techniques differs, of course. While writers are usually told to fill out long, boring forms detailing their characters' strengths, weaknesses, secrets and favorite ice cream flavor, actors are taught to think on their feet, to do improv, to act out of impulse and emotion.

So what if a bunch of cerebral, introverted writers used the same techniques as more impulsive, extroverted actors?

The results could be disastrous. Or they may be exactly what some writers need to break out of their creative straitjackets.

Either way, we'll find out next April, when the 22nd annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference is held at the Marriott Hotel in Colorado Springs.

My second workshop? I'm going to focus my marketing class a little more tightly while adding an enticing parenthetical to the title: Writing Plays for the (Surprisingly Lucrative) School Market.