Working Title Playwrights Handbook 2009-10

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A resource guide to all things Working Title Playwrights, a nonprofit organization out of metro Atlanta, GA that makes new plays happen by developing playwrights.

Text of Working Title Playwrights Handbook 2009-10

  • 2009


    H A N D B O O K

    WTP works with playwrights, directors, dramaturges, actors, audiences, theatres and theatre organizations to help writers create their plays. We offer readings, educational seminars and opportunities for playwrights to see and hear their work onstage in its

    earliest stages and when it's ready for a full production by a theatre.

    We also help our playwrights understand the process of promoting their plays and serve as a clearinghouse for theatres that are interested in new work.

    WTP has several ongoing programs that help affiliates develop and strengthen their playwriting skills. For descriptions of each, turn the page!

    We make new plays happen ... by developing playwrights.

    Margaret Baldwin guides the cast through rehearsal, a First Draft On Demand Reading of her play in progress NIGHT BLOOMS.

    November 1, 2009

    Welcome to Working Title Playwrights (WTP)! Our goal is to provide all playwrights with the opportunity to excel: by helping them tell their stories for the stage, fostering the development of well-crafted plays, and increasing the visibility of theatre in the community.

    2008 staged reading of Daphne Mintzs IN LIEU OF FLOWERS.

  • Table of Contents

    Monday Night Critique Sessions (MNCS)


    First Draft On Demand Reading Series (FDOD) 4

    The Ethel Woolson Lab (TEWL) 5Playwright Slams!

    6Playwrights & ...




    Educational Programs 7

    Board, Staff and History 8

    Support your local playwright!Working Title Playwrights is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in the State of Georgia, County of Dekalb. Membership is $100 annually. Other ways of supporting the most inclusive, expansive playwright organization in the Southeast are:

    Goodsearch - a pay per click search engine that gives WTP a penny per click! Go to and dedicate Working Title Playwrights as your non-prof charity of choice!

    Goodshop - from the Goodsearch folks, Goodshop provides a percentage of your total purchase price from dozens of online vendors such as iTunes, Amazon, eBay, Container Store, Office Depot, Target, Home Depot and more!

    Donate supplies - paper and ink are what we use the most. Donate services - are you an actor adept at cold readings? do you have

    marketing skills? we could use the help! Donate money - We operate on about $20,000 annually and your gift is

    fully tax deductible. Be a part of our audience! We offer everything from cold readings in

    critique sessions to staged readings for the public. Audience feedback is an essential part of the play development process and your participation is highly regarded by the playwrights.

    To become a WTP member:

    Send $100 in check or money order payable to WTP, P.O. Box 585, Decatur, Georgia 30030-0585

    If paying by credit card, send $110 via Paypal to

    For more information, please call 404.441.2716

    What people are saying ...

    I really benefitted from the WTP reading and the feedback. The cast did a wonderful job jumping into a cold read, and (the) moderation kept the feedback session swift, focused, and alive. Having been away from the script for several months - hearing the thing whole helped me see where the holes are, and kick start my writing process again ... What a great service to playwrights! - Margaret Baldwin

    WTP, by giving voice to area playwrights, is helping to keep theater alive. - Mark Perloe

    I just want to say thank you to WTP for one of the best, most fun, most productive, most stimulating weeks of my life as a playwright. I had the best cast and absolutely the best director: they are smart and talented and fearless and brought so much to the process of rewriting a play that I dont want to do it any other way. EVER. I highly recommend it! - Kim Brundidge

    I can't tell you guys how much the support, encouragement, and critical insight I've received from the WTP family means to me. ... Thank you all - Raymond Fast

    I really enjoyed the session last night. It was magical and really motivated me. - Tiffany Parks

    WTP is like B.A.S.F. It doesnt make playwrights, it makes playwrights better. - Robert Drake


  • MNCS Rules of Engagement:1) There must be no indication of

    authorship on your scripts other than the number pre-assigned to you for the evening.

    2) Highlight on every copy of your s c r i p t o n l y t h o s e s t a g e directions to be read aloud.

    3) 12 point font must be used.4) Type only on one side of each

    page and number those pages.5) If you have specific questions to

    be asked of the audience, bring them in on a separate typed piece of paper and give it to the moderator at the top of the session along with your scripts.

    6) Characters must be listed in order of importance for the scene(s) being read so the moderator can cast actors (and not playwrights) in lead roles. If a main character is listed sixth, chances are high that a playwright will read that role as we generally hire only up to four actors per session.

    7) Casting is at the absolute discretion of the moderator.

    8) Each playwright is given up to 20 minutes to be read and 5 minutes for feedback per session.

    9) All feedback sessions are moderated. Our current in-house professional moderator is Betty Hart.

    Please note:We use a blind critique to make

    the best use of limited time. We

    have found this process

    emboldens individuals to speak

    their minds rather than be fearful

    of how the playwright whose work

    is being critiqued may react.

    Monday Night Critique Sessions (MNCS)This is our basic play-development program. On the first and third Mondays of each month we meet to hear works in progress. Affiliate Playwrights may bring in one or more short works, or an excerpt of a longer work. The piece(s) will be read aloud and receive professionally moderated feedback.

    WTP obtains professional actors for each Monday evening session, up to four, depending on the number of pieces to be read and casting requirements. If we don't have enough actors to cast a given piece, the other playwrights in attendance many of whom are also actors fill in.

    Affiliate Playwrights receive a notice of each upcoming MNCS by e-mail, a week in advance. To arrange to have work read, a playwright needs to:

    Notify by e-mail the Managing Artistic Director (or designee) they have work to be read. Establish how many pages to be read.

    Identify casting needs in terms of age / race /gender (any / all / none as applicable).

    The deadline for responding is Tuesday at noon, before the Monday session. If fewer than four playwrights have work to bring in, the session may be canceled.

    Please note: Staying on point is essential in order to give constructive feedback on each piece presented in the mere 2.5 hours dedicated to doing the work. In 2007, WTP instilled a resident moderator to facilitate all MNCS and First Draft On Demand readings. We utilize a variation of the Lerman Method in all talkback sessions.

    As of 2010, WTP charges a $20 cancelation fee for less than 24-hour notice or no-show playwrights committed to have work read. The reason is simple: We hire actors based upon the casting requests of the playwrights.

    2009 Martin Luther King Jr Celebration MNCS.


  • To arrange an ODR, an Affiliate needs to:First and foremost, have developed your script through MNCS.

    Notify the Managing Ar tist ic Director of the date(s) the writer has in mind; please give up to three possibilities and every reasonable effort will be made to get your first preference.

    WTP pays $20 each for up to four actors, including someone to read stage directions. The playwright will pay for any additional actors and share the expense of the moderator (payable to WTP and WTP, in turn, will pay all talents involved).

    E-mail specific casting requirements, brief synopsis and character descriptions to the Managing Artistic Director (or designee) a month in advance so actors may be hired based on these requirements. Ten days in advance of the reading, e-mail a copy of the script in its entirety in Word or PDF so that it may be forwarded to the cast and moderator so they may familiarize themselves with the work before the event takes place; this enables the actors to provide a warm - vs cold - reading.

    Provide each participating actor, the person reading stage directions, and the moderator with a clean, hard copy of the full text - with stage directions to be read aloud highlighted - upon arrival to the reading.

    Arrange for a simple meal for the cast and moderator. Actors receive only $20 for their effort and feeding them something decent (pizza, good quality sandwiches, pasta, salad, etc) shows a much greater appreciation for their effort.

    NOTE: Should WTP have a sponsor for this program, WTP will arrange and provide the meal for all talent involved. WTP appreciates the playwright providing bottled water for the reading.

    Moderated talkback sessions for ODRs are required. WTPs in-house moderator has a fee of $75. The playwright will split this fee with WTP.

    Invite everyone! While WTP will advertise the reading to the best of its ability, the responsibility of acquiring an audience is on the playwright. As of 2009, all ODRs are open to the public. FREE to at tend wi th membersh ip, $5 minimum suggested donation for all others.

    NOTE: It is understood this is a warm, unrehearsed, unstaged, concert reading; some variance to the copy used in the reading vs the advance script is understandable as the writer continues to write. However, an ODR reading