When playwrights go to theatre, we presumably go to enjoy ourselves. We may be thrilled, bored, surprised, offended, delighted, so many possible reactions. When playwrights are called on to give feedback on other playwrights' work, we suddenly become scientists, detectives, housekeepers. Scientist, detective, and housekeeper are honorable professions. Nevertheless, I believe the practice of bringing … Continue reading Playwright, sheath thy checklist
One of the most important things a playwright needs to learn during the development process is how to filter feedback aka "notes." Some notes I take more seriously than others. Recently, I read part of a current work-in-progress, My Visit to America, an alternate history, at Fogcon I, a new local (to the San Francisco … Continue reading Rinse and Don’t Repeat
When engaging in public feedback sessions after a reading of my plays or scenes, I follow a nearly invariant rule: never respond to a note other than to say "thank you" or to write it down (and yes, I really do write it down, not my shopping list). I've only broken it when I've felt … Continue reading Never say “no” to a note
Rant/lecture alert. Yes, this is a lecture, but at least you have been warned. It's a lecture about using, or rather not using, feedback sessions to give Lectures on Craft. It's about keeping feedback sessions constructive rather than demeaning. I have a love/hate relationship with feedback sessions after play readings. I love them because I … Continue reading Warning! Lecture ahead!
After my dismissal of Chekov's law, the next phrase I'd love to see disappear from playwriting feedback sessions is Write What You Know. I put that in all caps because if you've ever heard this at a feedback session you know it is delivered as a lecture from on high - you can hear the … Continue reading Write what you don’t know
You know the law, the one that says (approximately) if you introduce a gun in the first act then it has to go off by the third. Get rid of it. Now!