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A writer's workshop with a happy ending:
a chance to pitch your work to a panel of producers!

Diana Amsterdam
Diana Amsterdam
Pat Blake
Patrick Blake

How to Write for Commercial Production
A ONE-DAY INTENSIVE for writers presented by Theater Resources Unlimited and Diana Amsterdam

coach Gillien Goll

Saturday April 21, 12:30pm to 7:00pm
e Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street, Studio 3C

What often holds playwrights back is that they rarely consider the person who will buy and produce their product: the producer.  With all the work, hope and sweat they invest in considering character, theme and plot, playwrights rarely take into account produceability.

This one-day intensive will be taught by Diana Amsterdam (Fast Girls, Sex and Death, Carnival Round the Central Figure), TRU's Program Director for Playwrights. With segments of the workshop taught by commercial producer Patrick Blake (The Exonerated, In the Continuum, Play Dead), marketing consultants Bob Ost and Gary Hughes who will help writers capture the essence of their piece in an effective synopsis, and presentation coach Gillien Goll who will teach you how to present yourself successfully. The day ends with a panel of commercial producers who will offer feedback on writers' pitches as well as suggest appropriate markets for the works. Panel will incude Margot Astrachan (Busker Alley, On a Clear Day, Nice Work If You Can Get It), Jeremy Handelman (White's Lies, F#@king Up Everything ) and Pam Koslow (Jelly's Last Jam, Jane Eyre, Yank!).

Get a quick FREE lesson in playwrighting from Diana - click here

Just wanted to let you know what a wonderful workshop you offered. It was filled with incredibly useful, focused information, material that playwrights don't often think of. I wish I had taken this years ago. It would have made a huge difference in the way I thought of my work and marketed it. Thank you and TRU for your committment to nurturing artists and giving us the tools we badly need. The warmth, kindness and great information was tremendously appreciated. I recommend this wonderful workshop to all. ~Brenda Shoshanna

Thank you again for your generosity yesterday. I learned so much and met wonderful people. I now have new insight with which to look at my work as I move forward. ~Steven Alexander

* * * * * * * *

Besides thanking you overall for the entire session yesterday, I wanted in particular to thank you for three things: 1) advising me to use a casting director to get actors attached to my musical Banjo Boy, which can give it traction; 2) forcing me to think more deeply about what one of my main characters wanted; and 3) forcing me to move the desperation of my protagonist up closer to the beginning, in which my solution was to move his key "I Want" song up to the second song in the show, which creates just the force of propulsion I was seeking at that point in the show. I am going to scrub through the entire script to better apply your precepts. ~Randy Hobler

Thanks for a fabulous, infomative and very practical day. Clearly, TRU is making a significant contribution to to theatre community in New York. ~Richard MacDonald

I just wanted to thank you for all the tremendous information you gave on Saturday's seminar. I can't tell you how much I learned and how grateful I am to have had this opportunity. ~ Kathleen Kaan

Great workshop, full of significant realizations (like, I'm a lousy marketer), and delicious opportunities for growth. I have long resisted taking workshops, feeling they would consume my valuable writer's time, but I now see I badly need this input and exposure. ~Jean Hart


TRU's Seminar for Playwrights provided a panel of brilliant theater experts who really listened to each participant and gave excellent recommendations to each. The specific topics were extremely helpful, conceived and presented. In one day at TRU's Playwriting Seminar you can learn what playwrights really need to know: deep insights into play structure and character, how to speak about your play, the specific costs of production, the varied theatrical opportunities throughout the country, how to make it more likely a play will be produced. I feel I benefited greatly from the experience and can most definitely recommend it! ~Janet Conrad

It was a helpful workshop and well run. Even though my work was a musical, the Practical Playwriting workshop was most helpful in guiding me towards a massive rewrite. I am finding the handouts most helpful, without them I would have lost my way and forgotten most of what I learned. Though I was aware I must keep the costs down, this workshop stressed the cost element enough to make me try to be more frugal in some areas. ~Arlene Corsano

After attending this TRU seminar, I feel more equipped to bullet-proof my manuscripts and keep my drama-dreams safe from unspeakable peril. Don't miss enrolling in this one. ~LindaAnn LoSchiavo

The seminar was well rounded and quite informative. I'd certainly recommend it. ~Steve Kunstler

• WHAT IS PRODUCEABILITY? The fact that producers always ask this question, and playwrights hardly ever do, causes a serious disconnect between the commercial producer and most playwrights.

• WRITING TO A MARKET - We will ask each playwright questions he or she has probably never considered before: Who is your market? Who is going to buy tickets? Who is this play written for?

• WRITING VIABLY - Creating writing that holds the attention of the audience with a strong storyline and defined events. This module will cover such primary writing elements as: arc, desire, motivation, conflict, and the clear delineation of theme.

• WRITING ECONOMICALLY - Number of characters, number of sets, extravagance of sets: all these are serious considerations for most commercial producers.  Does the play require a casting director, or can it be done successfully by seasoned unknowns?  Is there a  chorus of thirty that can be pared down to two?  Are you kidding yourself when you think one actor can play eight parts?

Click here for Curriculum
Click here for Faculty Bios (faculty subject to change)
CLICK HERE for Application as Word doc

Our curriculum and instructors are as follows:

Saturday, April 21st

12:30pm-1:45 How to Write a Play that a Producer Wants to Produce - dramaturgical principles taught by Diana Amsterdam

1:45 -2:45pm Practical Considerations: What Things Cost, What Producers Look For - practical guidelines taught by Patrick Blake

2:45-3:00 Break

3:00-4:00 Getting to the Essence: A Good Synopsis and How to Pitch It - taught by Bob Ost and Gary Hughes, working with each writer individually to discover the compelling essence of your work

4:00-5:15 Practicing Your Pitch - taught by Gillien Goll
              Reducing Stress, Increasing Confidence
              Physical Ed: Body Language, Focus, Eye Contact
              Pitching with Passion

5:15-5:30 Break

5:30-7:00 Identifying Your Market - an inter-active "pitch" session with feedback from producers tbd.

Participants receive the Practical Playwright's Guide--A Take-Home Handout -- including exercises in Play Structure and Story Truths, Examples of Query Letters, Loglines, and Synopses; Costs of Various Components of a Production including Actors' Fees, Costumes, Sets and More; a list of great New York theaters for rent; Invaluable Websites for Playwrights, and a list of Playwright Workshops.

Cost: $150
Early bird discount $125.00 (deadline 04/15)
- $25 off for all current paid TRU members -

CLICK HERE for Application as Word doc
CLICK HERE for Faculty Bios

You may send a check to:
Theater Resources Unlimited, 309 W. 104th Street 1D, NYC NY 10025.

On-line payment (Paypal or credit card) at www.truonline.org/store-new.html
The Players Theatre, Studio 3C
115 MacDougal Street (below West 3rd Street)

Diana Amsterdam

DIANA AMSTERDAM is the CEO and Artistic Director of The Drama Center which originated at the Writers’ Voice at the West Side YMCA, where she taught playwriting for four years, and founded the Master Playwrights Class.  She also taught an original and highly popular dialogue-writing class.  TDC’s reading series was standing-room; and the development of the play The Prophet of Borough Park culminated in a showcase production.   Diana continues to coach playwrights through The Drama Center; and she is intensively developing plays with three outstanding student playwrights.  Diana is the author of 8 plays published by Samuel French and Playscripts.  Her work is produced worldwide and has been translated into French, German and Portuguese.  Her play Fast Girls has just been optioned to be made into a feature film.  She is anthologized by St. Martins Press and Smith & Krause.  She is the recipient of a New York State Council on the Arts award; winner of the BBC American Radio Plays Contest; winner of a Masque Award in Montreal, and a former member of the MCC playwrights group.  She has been commissioned to write original plays by MCC, Shake-a-Leg Foundation and the BBC.  Diana's Carpentry of Writing Series is an ongoing seminar & workshop in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York. She is the originator of the Story Construction method which will soon go live at The School of Story Construction. www.thedramacentersite.org

PATRICK BLAKE is a writer/producer based in New York and San Francisco. In New York theater, he has produced the recent off-Broadway hit Play Dead, In the Continuum at Perry Street Theatre, Noah's Archive, Joe Fearless, The Exonerated (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Court TV's Scales of Justice Award) and The Soap Myth at Southstreet Seaport. He also produced Dirty Works at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He was Executive Producer for the short film, The Igloo, and the feature film Mr. Smith Gets a Hustler.
Gillien Goll, presentation coach
GILLIEN GOLL has been teaching Public Speaking and Presentation techniques for over ten years. From her background as an actor, writer, director, and acting teacher, she has  derived a method for teaching others to present themselves powerfully and authentically.  Her clients hold a range of professions from soup (Campbell’s Soup) to nuts (discretion prevents identifying these!). Clients have appeared on such television programs as Oprah, Court TV, MTV, and The CBS Early Show.

As an acting teacher, she currently teaches both privately and at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). She has also taught at Fordham University among other institutions. Acting students have appeared on Broadway, tour, film, television, and commercials. She was recently brought up to Halifax, Nova Scotia, by ACTRA (the Canadian film, television, and radio union) to teach acting there.
Margot Astrachan, producer
MARGOT ASTRACHAN is a producer of the current Nice Work If You Can Get It, a producer of the musical Busker Alley and the revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. She was the American Artistic Director of the Jermyn Street Theatre in London and has over 30 years’ experience producing special events for Arts Organizations such as The York Theatre Company, The Theatre Museum, and The St. George’s Society, which features British and American theatre professionals in readings and panels in New York. Ms. Astrachan is a member of The Association of Performing Arts Presenters, The Broadway League, The Dramatists Guild, the Advisory Board of TRU, British American Business, Inc. and BAFTA. She is also a graduate of CTI (The Commercial Theatre Institute). Ms. Astrachan is a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, and has been an Associate Producer of the Drama Desk Award Show.
Jeremy Handelman, producer
JEREMY HANDELMAN - Past theater productions include the award-winning rock musical comedy F#@king Up Everything (NYMF, Washington, DC, returning to NYC in 2012), White's Lies at New World Stages, The Bronx Balmers, CYCLE: A Vaudeville Comedy, and The Aspern Papers. Jeremy is on the producing team for The King’s Speech, now playing in London's West End. Also in development: Shim Sham and Cruel Shoes.
Pam Koslow, producer PAMELA KOSLOW co-produced YANK! the musical at the York Theatre (nominated as best musical of the year by the Outer Critics Circle and the Lucille Loertal Award) and JANE EYRE THE MUSICAL at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in NY.  Her additional Broadway credits include the Tony® Award-winning musical JELLY'S LAST JAM written by George C. Wolfe and starring Gregory Hines.  Ms. Koslow produced FLOATING RHODA AND THE GLUEMAN written by Eve Ensler, author of the long-running and internationally-acclaimed VAGINA MONOLOGUES. She served as executive producer for HANDSHAKE, a new American play premiered off Broadway in Manhattan and was a producing consultant for THE HENRY PROJECT, based on the music of Henry Mancini, conceived and directed by Otis Sallid.  Other producing credits include CAPTAIN LOUIE, based on the children's book by Ezra Jack Keats, music by Stephen Schwartz, presented at The York Theater in Manhattan, SMART ALECK, MONA ROGERS, and HOW I GOT THAT STORY.

Pam has served on the boards of Manhattan Class Company, Second Stage Company, American Tap Dance Foundation and New York Theater Barn.

Click here to return to Curriculum
CLICK HERE for Application as Word doc
CLICK HERE for Application as PDF

Click here to pay at the TRU Store.

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