PITFALLS FOR NEW PLAYWRIGHTS
By: Joe Simonelli
Having been at it for fifteen years and gaining some modicum of success (although success in show business remains subjective and ambiguous at best), I would like to offer some insights for aspiring playwrights.
First and foremost, why have you chosen to pursue this form of creative art? Fame? Money? To meet actors or actresses? Remember "show business" is two words. Although you want your work to be esoteric and marked by your own personal style and substance, producers want something that attracts an audience and is commercially viable.
I started writing plays as a form of self therapy after my divorce in 1998. I did not start out to write them. I was acting in amateur theatre when I decided to write a scene for an acting class I was taking in New Jersey. The rest, as they say, is history. Six published plays later with an upcoming pro contract at the Barter Theatre in Virginia, as well as being represented by none other than Neil Simon's agent in L.A., I feel I am finally on the verge of some recognition.
It wasn't easy. I spent ten plus years as the resident playwright at the First Avenue Playhouse in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey before moving back to New York last year. My best advice? Get your plays produced whereever you can and let as many people as you can know about them. Don't be afraid to self-promote your work! if you are not going to do it, then who is? Even though I have an agent, most of the productions I've gotten so far have been through my own auspices!
Finally, a lot of plays have been written since the Greeks started the ball rolling all those years ago! There are only so many plots and they have all been used and re-used many times over. Don't think you are going to re-invent the wheel with some new idea that's never been used! Tell your story in an entertaining way and try to take your audience out of their comfort level. To do this, you have to take yourself out of your comfort level! Since a lot of what you are going to write is based on your own experience, you have to write something that may offend either your family or close friends, or even a political party or major religion! That's how you know you’re out of your comfort level!
I hope these insights help you on your endeavor!
Joe Simonelli is a published playwright. For a list of his titles please visit his website Joesimonelli.com. Please like his Facebook page Joe Simonelli - American Playwright!