Thursday, December 31, 2015

Kuumba in 2015

6th Day of Kwanzaa is Kuumba: creativity. Rather than partying, this is usually the day I review the past year, writing out what principles and goals set month-by-month. No emotions, no beating myself up or praising my talent. But just an numerical look at the year. I picked up this habit from my parents and it has been very effective in achieving academic, artistic, career, and spiritual goals. Planning happens not only by looking forward, but by reviewing past steps with the clarity of an accountant. In 2015 I wrote 6 plays, finished 30-page poetry collection, published 3 poems, graduated from Juilliard, freelance reported for four different media outlets (Talking Points Memo, The New Republic, Take Part, and Fusion), had 3 plays published as books, 2 plays published in magazined, two London productions, Royal Court residency, NNPN workshop at Kennedy Center, finished Dramatists Guild fellowship, workshop production at BAX, reading at National Black Theatre, staffed on a TV show, and finished screenplay. I applied for approximately 160 contests, fellowship, TV jobs, and journalism opportunities. I got positive responses from about 20 organizations. And I got the gig in 12 instances out of 160. That's either a 92.5% failure rate... or a 7.5% rate of 2015 success. Last year's rate success was 6.7%. The sweet spot is usually between 6-8%. Here's to a productive 2015 in numbers but also in quality. And may 2016 stay in the sweet spot of success for everyone! Kuumba!!

2015 Year in Review


I had a few free months before bringing in my sixth and last play at Juilliard. I used this time do dive back into poetry, essays, and journalism. I wrote for The New Republic and Talking Points Memo. This led to numerous podcasts opportunities for different media sites. I revised two plays I brought into the school the previous fall: "Running on Fire" and A Family Manual for Kwanzaa." For the latter, I did a lot of revisions and found that both plays were able to find some development or reading opportunities around this time of year, but they wouldn't come to fruition until the summer. I went out to LA and had a ton of good meetings. But then again it's LA: everyone has good meetings. I almost thinks its the fruit basket consolation prize for writers and actors going out there: smiling faces and as much bottled water as one could stomach. And yet I'm not jaded enough to pretend like it's insignificant. I still get slightly charged  to be sitting in the lobbies of Fox, HBO, ABC, NBC, and all the acronyms. I still get excited getting an executives card, in knowing that my writing sticks out enough to warrant 'a meeting.'

This year was one of new opportunities and new projects. The biggest transition was graduation (kind of, sort of, sure let's call it that). I finished the two-year fellowship at Juilliard. Due to the fact that they're no grades and it's a paid artist fellowship, saying I graduated is about half-true. Juilliard gives finishing playwrights at 'artist diploma.' These certificates are awarded to the fellowship artists at the school. We get a cap and gown, our names are announced, we march across the stage. It would appear to be a graduation when really it's something much better: it's the acknowledged culmination of an artist fellowship in which we got paid to go to the best school in the world.

I GOT TO SEE 'HAMILTON!!" Haha! One day before it closed at the Public Theatre I was able to sneak before the explosion of ticket sales.

Around the same time of graduation "Obama-ology" was being performed at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. The play finished 2014 at Finborough Theatre to some great reviews and was published by Oberon Books for 2015. I am so grateful to have organizations like Juilliard, RADA, Oberon, and Finborough supporting my work.

I brought in my last play to Juilliard: "Mercury Parallel" (tentative title). It was great to dive back into the jock world and remember the Machiavellian machinations of the locker room. I got a bunch of TV scripts to read for pilot season, most of which were dreck, some were good, and a few were amazing. Overall, though, the quality of TV scripts has gone into another stratosphere. Selfishly, I'm going to attribute this boom to the influx of playwrights. Almost all of the playwrights I respected and worked alongside of 10 years ago are now in TV or trying to get there. Two of my three playwriting roommates are now in LA and doing quite well. My third playwriting roommate is moving to LA in 2016 to get into TV. He's had enough of the struggle. He wants to be able to have a wife, raise a family, earn a decent wage, and see your work in front of an audience within a reasonable amount of time.

Spring was a season of 'even greater' meetings for TV but no jobs. There were a few close calls and I'm talking about being on a final list with 2-3 names. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. And quite honestly I didn't mind. I was finishing up "Zoohouse" at National Black Theatre for a spring reading and had a May workshop of "The Gospel According to F#ggots" at BAX as a part of my artist-in-residence there. For both fellowships I agreed to come back in the fall of 2015 and through the final workshop productions in February and April 2016.

I got a ticket to London thanks to Royal Court and their US Writers Programme (it's Britain so I'm going to spell it that way). It was only a week, but quite a phenomenal time. It was nice that out of the 6 writers selected, three of us were from Juilliard. Royal Court was taken aback. They didn't check our schools and why would they? It's London theatre and they don't care about American school hierarchy. They told us they just selected the best plays. It was a nice feeling to know that the past 2 years were spent at a school that -on a blind reading in another country- comprised half the selected writers chosen to represent America.

Back in the States, I signed on to a second year at BAX and met the new artists in the residency. In July I went to the Kennedy Center as a part of NNPN MFA workshop. For the seemingly umpteenth time of 2015 I found myself in a room with some of the world's best writers and artists. It was very encouraging and inspiring. And I got to experience the magic of "A Family Manual for Kwanzaa" being read in the Kennedy Center. I came back to NYC for one day in August and saw "King Liz." I really enjoyed the play. I didn't find out until a month later that it was picked up by Showtime to be turned into -what else- a TV show.

"Defacing Michael Jackson" was in Proscenium Magazine and I still dream of finding a theatre for this play. My short play "Freefalling" finally came out in a DPS anthology of best short plays. And I signed a contract with Original Works Publishing to release "To Whom It May Concern" as a book.

By the end of summer I was going to yoga and dance class 6 times a week. I signed on to write a screenplay, had two playwriting fellowships to look forward to in the fall, and was a finalist for two other opportunities.  I was also scheduled to to go Switzerland to speak at a school for a week. My TV agents left Paradigm to move on to new positions at Verve and WME. I decided it was time to make a change and consider getting a manager.


On September 1st I came back to NYC for the Playwrights Realm Fellowship interview. I was a finalist but ended up not being selected. The next day I interviewed for a TV show and was offered my first TV staff writing job less than an hour later as I was exiting the Port Authority subway stop. I was able to get two more readings of "Zoohouse" at NBT and another excerpt reading of "Gospel" at BAX.

The Dramatists Guild put up a great excerpt night for outgoing fellows. I presented a 10-minute section of "Storytown, USA" that made people laugh and -hopefully- triggered some interests in the script.

I signed with Grandview Management and I'm excited to see how this is going to work in 2016.
"To Whom It May Concern" came out as a book. I was told that the print version of "Obama-ology" was selling well. Finborough Theatre expressed an interest in producing "Don't Smoke In Bed" for the spring of 2016. I rescheduled my trip to Switzerland for the spring and we'll see if the timing lines up because this TV job should be ending around April and it'll also be my final workshop at BAX

I finished writing the screenplay I signed on to during the summer and I think it might be special. I'm halfway through my first TV job. I'm back in Miami doing yoga, revising scripts, and trying to continue this upward spiral. I was a semifinalist for P73 but wasn't invited to the writers group so -like Playwrights Realm and NNPN National Showcase- it was another close call.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dade County Chronicles: Dishonesty

I was driving around in traffic this evening listening to NPR. On the local Miami affiliate they had two experts on lying to promote the new documentary "Dishonesty." Over the course of an hour they went through different levels of dishonesty in society. I wanted to call up friends and tell my mom to tune in, but I thought it was better for me to just listen to what was being said and to think about it. Listeners called up with their own questions, one confessed to being an alcoholic, while others asked if lying is happening in greater quantity and/or higher quality today.

Behavioral psychologist Dan Ariely was on talking about lying and how technology makes lying easier in a few ways
1) the more abstract the victim of the lie is the more likely someone is to lie
2) the more abstract the money is (office supplies, bitcoin) the greater someone lies
3) the more technology is involved the greater the abstraction of reality, and the greater chance to lie
4) people are more likely to lie if they feel like it's a good cause
5) people are more likely to lie if they're in the presence of a loved one or on behalf of someone
6) only if the someone is face-to-face with a victim are they less likely to lie. So our society is always finding ways to isolate people from each other in lines of productions, distribution, and dissemination.
7) people who say 'they never lie' are almost always lying.
8) in a 10 min conversation with an average person will say approximately 2 1/2 lies (some times more, some times less).

I thought about lying after 2015 and the year of police shooting. Almost 1,000 civilians have been killed by police officers this year. Some of the police testimony has been contradicted only because of body cameras and phone cameras that show what's going on. In almost all cases the police officer initially lies and commits to the same pattern of lies 1) they felt threatened 2) he/she was reaching for weapon or perceived weapon or 3) they were lunging and 4) they felt scared. In 99% of the cases the DA believes this claim even when videotape evidence contradicts this directly. Ariely said this is when lies become corruption: when we know a group is consistently lying but don't care. In high-pressure academic institution grade corruption is common. Students cheat and steal answer keys. Teachers turn a blind eye and corruption becomes a part of the system. Police officers commit a crime, get coached by their union representative, say all the right lies. Grand juries, judges, and attorneys collude with the lies.

Why collude with a lie. The experts said lies do several things. Lies make people feel better about themselves or their surroundings, they help acquire capital or services. But lies are also a maintenance program. We start lying to maintain a principle which doesn't hold up in reality. We lie to bridge the gap between the truth and our perception of truth. Once that justification becomes apart of our value system then so does lying in order to maintain an ecosystem. The proverbial 'slippery slope' happens when the lying increases in quantity or the type of lie becomes more extreme in quality. And then anything is possible. Lying to get into Harvard, becomes lying to a degree, becomes stealing information to get ahead at a job.

I sat in the driveway listening to the radio. I feel like this is a conversation we should be having as a society. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dade County Chronicles 12.25.15

Despite running around yesterday, working out at the gym for two hrs, and a lack of sleep, I was wide awake (as usual) on Christmas Eve. I laid in bed 100% alert, blinking in the dark, listening to every passing car. Some childhood habits are hard wired and anticipating presents is one of them, even when there are no presents to open. I slid off the bed and on to the floor in front of my altar. I started meditating on renunciation while lying there, bringing it all into this darkened room, those relatives from childhood fading away, seeing friends getting gray while chasing that desert mirage, strangers falling down in mid lunge for the latest appliance, anger and rage for things unfulfilled, and numbness/boredom/depression for the things that are attained. An image of Kurt Cobain flashed from a doc on HBO, then corpulent Brando, skeletal Michael Jackson, drowned Whitney, and then grandparents, friends, so-called enemies, strangers. I sat up on a cushion and meditated on bodhichitta. Don't let me waste this moment. Everything is so fragile, all those baby pics of me and that person is not here, that child is 100% gone without one cell left, it all leaves, stop expecting material fulfillment, its never happened for anyone. Let go. I started feeling lighter just giving it all away. And then it was Christmas, I slipped back down on to the carpet, faded into sleep. Then the sun started shining through the blinds. Christmas morning.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dade County Chronicles (12.21.15)

I'm back in Miami for two weeks. A high school friend suggested I started listing things as Dade Country Chronicles. Why not? This is just from today....

In an old warehouse on a dead-end street in miami, I walk into a narrow, cluttered office with a giant box. The room is crammed with electronics. No place for a staff, but it's okay because this is a one-man operation. An old Caribbean man in a faded guayabera has a plate of curry rice and meatballs. I put the box down and ask 'can you fix a record player?' The room has a few other record players pushed against the wall, some have dust on them, maybe the owners never came back to pick them up. Apparently he's one of the last repairmen. I'll call him. I leave the turntable so he can start his lunch. He puts the metallic box on a saffron cushion and goes back to his plate.

I drive past CB Smith. It was a park on the edge of a receding swamp in Pembroke Pines. Mosquitos, flooding, and sauna-level heat were a part of the atmosphere that made you feel like you were going to drive over an alligator at the gate. Now there's a mall across the street and a hospital. It's belted in by shopping plazas and a fancy school on the other sides. The swamp is gone. Everything is sleek, bright, antiseptic, and disaffected. In short, it's heinous and suburban. I won a few tennis tournaments in this park. I move past the nostalgia. No one cares about the beauty of loose ends.

This evening I am in a Miami mansion by the bay. The room is filled with physicians and pharmacists and there's a spread of holiday food. Everyone is here for a winter solstice fire burning ritual. A Venezuelan pagan/pharmacist leads us through the fire. Why are we doing this? Because Florida! I write down the obstacles from this past year on a sheet of paper. Then I burn them in a marble fireplace. I write down the expectations for next year and I burn them in the same fire. And the winter solstice is complete. Russian cake is served and I look out the window past the pool and out toward the bay. Tea is served and physicians start filing out to their cars. After two cups I drive home. Green lights all the way. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Buddhism Questionnaire

The past several years I've been asked to speak at different universities about Buddhism. I do the best I can and then the student(s) usually send me a questionnaire for their term paper. Here are my 2015 answers:

 1. What is meditation? What do you hope to achieve through meditation?
Meditation is single pointed focus on an object with an overall objective in mind. For instance contemplating a bunch of ideas about Jesus may be spiritually objective, but it's not meditation. But focusing on a door knob may be meditatively focused, but it's one zoning out without objective. You are tweaking the mind between its gross states of agitation and dullness. Agitation is when the mind is flying off, dullness is when it's sitting there. You want an alert mind that's like a bird perched on a branch: alive, fluid, but not flying. You want to be in that middle ground and when one has reached a state of alert and sustained focus on an object with an overall spiritual objective then one is meditating. You need to get into a deep state of meditation to advance to different levels of enlightenment.

2. How often do you meditate? How often should you meditate?
Meditate for about an hour a day. Some times it's less, some times it's more. But it usually balances out to an hour. There isn't a 'should' but an hour is standard base line level. In an ideal scenario I would be meditating for 2-3 hours a day. 
3. What is enlightenment?
Cessation of mental afflictions through the direct perception of emptiness. You can temporarily cease mental afflictions by dying or getting knocked out. But direct perception of emptiness (DPE) is like a lightning bolt wiping out zillions of karmic seeds for mental afflictions. Generally you go into a deep state, contemplate some very fine point in buddhist scripture about wisdom. Things begin to shift, the mind gets extremely still but alert. The body slows down to the point where you don't even feel it any more. You are in a DEEP meditation. You have a direct perception of emptiness which last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. You come out of it and return. When you're having a DPE you can't think of anything else b/c it's single pointed focus on an object. Afterward you come out of it and have several different visions. For about 24-48 hrs you can read people's thoughts. This fades away as your mind becomes dull again. Now you will return to 'normal' so to speak, but you will have no doubt of DPE because you have experienced it directly. After that you're on your way out. Scripture says that means you get totally enlightened within 7 to 24 lifetimes but you know you're gonna get there. You're a stream enterer (entered stream of emptiness for a few minutes, dipped your metaphorically toes into the water and have entered into the class of an Arya.) Over the next few lifetimes you're cleaning up the rest of your deeply subtle seeds of mental affliction but you no longer suffer like you used to. On the outside things look the same, but the internal world of thinking is much different. You are not mistaken by the obvious illusions of life. You still see them, but you know 100% that it's an illusion and, yes, this includes your loved ones, enemies, and body. You use these illusion, you use your body, you may get married, have kids. But it's more like you're really invested in this great movie or video game when you cry, laugh, shout. You're having real emotions but you know it's in relation to an illusion so you don't get too wrapped in it and you would certainly never harm anyone for an illusion any more than you would if you were watching a movie and a character did something you didn't like. Now there's another method of enlightenment that is much much quicker and that is "Tantra Buddhism" or The Diamond Way. It's possible to get there in the same lifetime in the Diamond Way but it's highly advanced, requires years of study, and LOTS of meditation. I am in the Diamond Way as well as in the Open Mahayana school of traditional Buddhism.

4. Can you achieve enlightenment by meditating, is it the only way? The most common way is to meditate. There are other ways in the Tantra school but those take a lot of practice and guidance with a teacher.

5. How long does it take to achieve enlightenment? Can we all achieve it? why or why not?
We all will achieve enlightenment. There is no other way, otherwise we just keep circling around. This universe has existed for trillions of years. But there was a universe before that and before that too. And we keep getting put here until we learn our lesson. Enlightenment once someone has had a DPE is something between 7 and 24 lifetimes, or possibly one lifetime in Tantra.

6. Is meditation good or bad?
Depends. Is food good or bad? Depends on what you eat. Is meditation good or bad? Depends on what your mind ingests.
7. What are the different types of meditation?
Several types of meditation but the most common one are 'review,' problem solving, or mandala work. Review meditation is when you're trying to learn something. You fix on it and keep reviewing it, sharpening clarity and meaning. Problem solving is when you run over a list in your head and try to problem solve something. Mandala meditation is when you create a world. You create a world and take yourself on a video game' tour of your body's inner workings or the world's (hint: they're both connected). You can't do inner work creating a world inside your body without effecting the world you see outside. Therefore the best way to change the world IS to change oneself. There is no other way. For creating inner and outer world and mandala, that is more Tantra. Visualizations and sharp concentration are a must. 

8. Can meditation effect and individual enhancing physical awareness or having any effect?
Yes the world out 'there' is the same as the world 'in here' in that they are both illusions from past actions. These actions aren't good or bad. They simply exist and grow like seeds in a field. You would never pick up a corn stalk and ask 'is this corn moral?' Of course it's not. It's growing because the seed was planted and the conditions were met for growth. It's important to remember that when one struggles. It's very easy to play 'karma blame game.' No shame or moralizing like that in Buddhism. The ultimate enhancer is to study emptiness. Seriously, it gets you to enlightenment quicker AND it burns away a lot of underbrush. Even if one hasn't seen emptiness yet, just its contemplation ripens beautiful things in the mind and then the body. And then the world.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Irrational Riot

Musing while grant writing: 

Do I get any credit for NOT mentioning the 'GOP Orangeman' the past several week because I realized he is 100% NOT the problem? When almost 70% of white Americans believe racism doesn't exist (except against whites), 2/3 of GOP voters favor banning Muslims, and majority are more concerned with foreign terrorist than the 1,000,000 Americans who have died from gun violence in my lifetime then the problem isn't with a candidate. The candidates are just playing off of a large, hysterical, fact-free zone of public voters. When birthers started claiming that Obama was born in Kenya and still 70% of GOP voters still think this is true (despite evidence) then something is going on here. In the 2008 Dem primaries Clinton proposed a gas rebate as pander bait for high gas prices. Liberal bloggers and left-wing media immediately checked the facts, wrote stories about how it wouldn't help, and then Dem voters overwhelmingly rejected the cheap ploy. A week later Clinton dropped the idea not only because it wouldn't work and wasn't popular but it had been backed up by actual facts...and Dem voters responded to those facts. I don't know what can be done when a solid 40-45% of the country believes Jesus is going to save us global warming, Obama is a godless Communist Muslim (which makes no sense btw), racism is a Santa Claus excuse for Blacks, and ISIS is a bigger threat to their safety than open carry owners and cops who are killing innocent people right now at this very moment. If and when the Orangeman fades away, he will be replaced by another. The next demagogue might be younger, cuter, speak more charmingly and have better PR, so the threat is real if it remains unchecked by conservative media. We are dealing with a sustained right-wing riot of irrational people who are going to save this country by lighting it on fire. And we can't fight fire with fire unless we are prepared to die in a blaze of hate

Sunday, December 6, 2015

GET WHAT YOU WANT: December 2015

Premiere Stages Play Festival
deadline: 1/3/16

Beginning October 1, 2015 through January 3, 2016, Premiere Stages will accept submissions of unproduced new plays from playwrights born or currently residing in the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania). There is no fee to enter. All plays submitted to the festival are evaluated by a professional panel of theatre producers, dramaturgs, playwrights, scholars and publishers.

Four of the submitted plays will be selected for staged readings with Equity casts in March 2016 and awarded cash prizes. Following the March readings, the winner of Play Festival is selected for a full production during Premiere Stages’ 2016 mainstage season and awarded $2000; a second play will be selected for a 29-hour Staged Reading and be awarded $750, and the two other finalist writers will be awarded $500.

At Premiere Stages, we pride ourselves on a uniquely accelerated process in which plays we find particularly promising are developed and fully produced within a year of submission. In many professional theatres the time span between meeting a writer, staging a reading and producing the play can be years. At Premiere Stages, immediately following the Spring Readings, two plays enter an intensive development phase. Playwrights work with a director, dramaturg, and design team to develop the play for a staged workshop or full production only a few months later. When we find a writer we believe in, our Play Festival process allows Premiere Stages to fully commit the time, talent, and resources necessary to share their work with a broad regional audience.

Premiere Stages’ productions offer playwrights the chance to see their work fully realized on stage. We hope, however, that the plays developed at Premiere will go on to subsequent productions throughout the country. Because of this, playwrights whose scripts we produce retain the coveted “World Premiere” brand on their plays. Premiere Stages also strives to facilitate relationships between playwrights and other theatre professionals who we think will respond to their work. Plays are consistently reviewed by the New York Times and scouted by major publishing houses. Multiple Festival plays have been honored by the American Theatre Critics Association.

Premiere Stages will accept full scripts from literary agents or theatre professionals familiar with our work. All other writers are required to submit a 10-page script sample and synopsis. Please review full submission requirements and guidelines here.

Geva Theatre Festival
deadline: 3/31/16

The following guidelines apply to submissions for our Festival of New Theatre, Plays in Progress and general production consideration.

Playwrights with professional representation may have their agents send full manuscripts at any time. Please note that lawyers and law firms do not qualify as professional representation.

To best accommodate our schedule of new play activities, we have an Inquiry Window, during which playwrights who are not working with an agent may send a submission inquiry. This year’s window is fromNovember 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016. Inquiries submitted outside this time period cannot be processed. Looking for other places to submit your play before the next Inquiry Window? The blog Play Submissions Helperkeeps an updated list of new play deadlines. Before submitting a play for consideration, please look at our production history and at the lists of new plays we have commissioned or produced, as an indication of the kind of work we are likely to produce.

Please do not send us the first draft of a play. Due to the number of scripts we receive, we can only read any play one time, so make sure you are sending us your best work. Plays for consideration in our play development series must not have had more than one production at another theatre.

To have your play considered, submit the following:
●     A cover letter introducing yourself, with your full contact information.
●     Your creative resume and a development or production history of this play. If the play has had other developmental readings or productions, they must be included here.
●     A description of this play, no more than ½ page. This need not be a summary of the plot – we welcome a description of the play’s world, characters and conflict, and your reasons for writing it.
●     A complete list of characters.
●     A ten-page dialogue sample. Pages do not need to come from the beginning of your text but must be sequential.
●     Please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you would like materials to be returned.

Ashland New Plays Festival
deadline: January 15th (or when 400 qualifying scripts have been received)

ANPF’s flagship festival is an international playwriting competition that culminates in the reading of four new plays culled from hundreds of submissions by a cadre of volunteer readers. This unique and much-loved five-day festival in Ashland, Oregon, features professional actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the community. The event includes rehearsals and two staged readings of each winning play. Four winning playwrights receive a $1,000 stipend and local accommodations. Submissions will be accepted until January 15, 2016 or when 400 qualifying scripts have been received.

Midtown International Theatre Festival
deadline: 2/22/16

MITF: Spring is a combination of short plays and musicals, a Variety division, the Short Play Lab, and staged readings.

Short plays and musicals are the mainstay of the MITF Short Subjects. We're looking for any kind of short play or musical that fits the guidelines:

* 30 - 60 min. long
* Easy to produce in a no-frills festival
* Any genre. (Plays using guns as props will not be considered).
* Union and non-union shows are accepted.
* Plays must be sent in Word Document or PDF File.
* Pages MUST be numbered and script must be in standard playscript format.*

The Festival will take place at the Workshop Theater's Jewel Box Theater, 312 W. 36th St., NYC. MITF: Spring runs from March 7-27. The Short Play Lab runsSaturday, March 12 - Sunday, March 13.

Short plays and musicals receive 3 performances, all in the same week. Producers receive a share of the profits, if any. Shows receive a tech rehearsal equal to 2.5 times the running time of the show.

The Variety division spans cabaret, magic, improv, sketch comedy, standup, and burlesque. Acts can be solo or group affairs, so long as they fit within an hour, including setup and strike, and so long as they bring their own music director and so forth. The Festival provides a keyboard and amp. Shows receive a 1-hour tech rehearsal and a share of the profits, if any.

The Short Play Lab is just like the regular Short Play Labs throughout the year: 2 programs of about 10 short plays each (not to exceed 10 min. in length), each program performed twice. The Festival takes the door; 2 cash prizes are awarded to the most popular shows, 1 from each program. Each show receives no more than 20 min. of tech rehearsal.

For all shows, the Festival provides a theatre (the WorkShop Theater JewelBox), shared scenery (rehearsal cubes, a table, and 4 chairs), front-of-house staff, a board op (NOT a lighting designer), and a keyboard plus amp if necessary. Shows must be fully produced (off book!).

In addition to the fully produced shows, there will also be staged readings on weekday afternoons. Producers wishing to present a staged reading must make sure their reading doesn't exceed 3 hours and must pay a $100 fee. The Festival doesn't provide a board op or any technical rehearsal to speak of.

To submit a project, mark it clearly "MITF: Spring," and let us know whether it is a short play or musical, a variety act, a 10-min. play, or a staged reading. We'll curate the entries as they come in, so you can start working on them as soon as possible.

Please send all playscripts and all Variety submissions (video reels, youtube, etc.), to:
We look forward to your submissions!

Submission Deadline For Short Subjects Is February 22, 2016.
Submission Deadline For Short Play Lab and Variety is February 27, 2016.        
*12 pt Times Roman; character names in the middle on their own line; line spaces between speeches and stage directions; indented stage directions; 1" margins all around.

Mcknight Advancement Grant
Deadline: Jan. 8th
The McKnight Advancement Fellowships recognize playwrights whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit and excellence in the field, and whose primary residence is in the state of Minnesota. The fellowship includes:
  • A $25,000 stipend
  • $2,500 to support a play development workshop and other professional expenses
  • $1,400 in travel funds
Past recipients include: David Adjmi, Carlyle Brown, Lisa D'Amour, Barbara Field, Keli Garrett, Jeffrey Hatcher, Melanie Marnich, Gregory Moss, Kira Obolensky, Dominic Orlando, Christina Ham, and Martín Zimmerman.

McKnight National Residency
Deadline: Dec. 10th
Supported by a grant from the McKnight Foundation, this program aids in the commissioning and development of new works from nationally recognized playwrights. Benefits include:
  • A $14,000 commission
  • At least two U.S. round-trip airline tickets
  • Housing during the residency period
  • Up to $5,750 in workshop funds to support the development of the play
  • A public reading of the commissioned play
Past recipients include: Kia Corthron, Kate Fodor, Daniel Alexander Jones, Sibyl Kempson, Craig Lucas, Taylor Mac, Ruth Margraff, Dan O'Brien, Betty Shamieh, Kathleen Tolan, and Mac Wellman.
Lama Theatre
deadline: 12/13/15

Lama Theater Company’s Monthly Question! The Monthly Question is a reading series of new and bold writing (short plays/ Monologues/ poems/ Songs) around Lama’s monthly question that will be performed at The Kraine Theater, NYC.

Our Mission: Lama means WHY in Hebrew. The Lama Theater Company is a writer/director-driven, nonprofit company that continually raises questions and encourages bold new writing from within the nation and around the world to inspire different points of view and theatrical visions.

Important dates:
December 13th   - playwrights/poets/song writers submission deadline!
December 16th - announcement of chosen works.
December 21st - performance night at 8:30pm.
Casting the actors on the spot at 8:30pm, show at 9:30pm. Location:  The Kraine Theater, NYC.
·        Scripts must be related to our monthly question.
·        Lama has been affected by current worldly events and the hatred that seems to be overly apparent. OurDecember question is :
What inspires you when you read the question? We are interested in what you are thinking about and how the question might affect the work you do.  Gather whatever inspiration the questions give you, and use it to fuel your chosen discipline. The questions are open to many interpretations!
·        When you submit please keep in mind that Lama encourage artistic exploration, provoking and risk-taking writing.
·        Short plays are limited to 8 pages in standard playwriting formats. (You can submit your 10 pages play but please keep in mind that we might ask you to make a few cuts.)   
·        Poems/ Monologues are limited to 2 pages.
·        Song samples should be mp3 and no more than 3 minutes.
·        Only submissions by electronic attachment will be accepted, Microsoft Word document or PDF.
·        Playwrights can be from anywhere, but plays must be in English.
·        Submit a BLIND copy of your script and include a list of characters/descriptions.  
·        E-mail your Script/Song/Poem to:
·        The subject line should include the title of the play.
·        Please fill your contact info and the name of your play at our website:  
·        Any Questions about Lama's monthly question? Please email us  and we’ll help you out!
·        For updates and more  info about Lama follow our page

The Julliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Program
Deadline: Dec. 15th

The Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program encourages and aids the development of new and diverse voices in the American theater.
Under the direction of Christopher Durang and Marsha Norman the Playwrights Program offers one-year, tuition-free, graduate level fellowships to four writers. Selected playwrights may be invited to continue their studies through a second academic year, thereby completing a total of 52 credits for the two-year fellowship period and earning an Artist Diploma in Playwriting.

Juilliard's Playwrights Program is purposely small and allows the artists to focus on the practical aspects of dramatic writing while at the same time they are encouraged to take advantage of the wealth of resources within Juilliard's walls, and those afforded via the School's prime location on Broadway — the greater New York City theater scene. Students may take any class in the Drama Division and are encouraged to see productions around the city by receiving free or discounted tickets to many events on- and off-Broadway. The essence of the Playwrights Program lies in the weekly master class with the playwright heads focusing on dramatic structure and the cultivation of each writer's individual voice. Twice monthly lab readings of the students' work allow the writers, with the help of Juilliard acting students and alumni, to tackle the practical aspects of creating a new play. In addition, seminars centering on other aspects of the theatrical profession are planned on a quarterly basis. The year's end culminates when students in the playwrights residency present their work to professionals from New York and around the country in a showcase evening. The intention is that these events will create a bridge for these artists between Juilliard and the larger community.

Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist 2016
Deadline: 12/7/15
The Artist as Activist Fellowship provides independent artists and art collectives with a demonstrated commitment to applying their creative work to the public sphere up to $100,000 over two years along with access to opportunities for professional advancement. Fellows are identified through a highly competitive open call for proposals. In 2015 more than 600 applicants from 42 states, spanning artistic genres and thematic focus, were narrowed to six fellows with the help of 30 field experts from across the U.S. This inaugural cohort of Fellows is tackling timely issues—from climate change to caste-based sexual violence to mass incarceration.
Fellows are identified through a highly competitive open call for proposals. In 2015 more than 600 applicants from 42 states, spanning artistic genres and thematic focus, were narrowed to six fellows with the help of 30 field experts from across the U.S. This inaugural cohort of Fellows is tackling timely issues—from climate change to caste-based sexual violence to mass incarceration.
Applying lessons from the inaugural round of fellowship applications, the foundation will use an alternating thematic frame to guide future open call for proposals. During the 2016 and 2017 fellowship cycles, the thematic frame is racial justice through the lens of mass incarceration. Artists with ambitious projects that tackle this critical issue are invited to seek up to $100,000 in support.
Racial justice with particular focus on mass incarceration
US-based artists and artist collectives seeking to work full-time on an
ambitious creative work tackling this issue
May 1, 2016 – April 30, 2018
Up to $100,000 over a two-year period
December 7, 2015, 5:00 pm (EST)
Late April 2016
November 16, 2015, 10:00 am (EST)
For more information, including application instructions,

deadine: 12/15/15 @ 5pm EST

Playwrights are invited to 10-Minute Plays that address one of the following three themes:
Each year Source Festival stages 18 10-Minute plays for a five performance run here in Washington. Each selected playwright will receive a $100 stipend, dramatugical support, and a fully staged production during the Source Festival in June 2016.  (Read about the 3 Full-Length Plays that inspired our themes.)
DEADLINE: December 15, 2015 by 5:00pm EST.

-- Lama Theater Company’s Monthly Question! The Monthly Question is a reading series of new and bold writing (short plays/ Monologues/ poems/ Songs) around Lama’s monthly question that will be performed at The Kraine Theater, NYC.

Our Mission: Lama means WHY in Hebrew. The Lama Theater Company is a writer/director-driven, nonprofit company that continually raises questions and encourages bold new writing from within the nation and around the world to inspire different points of view and theatrical visions.

Important dates:
December 13th   - playwrights/poets/song writers submission deadline!
December 16th - announcement of chosen works.
December 21st - performance night at 8:30pm.
Casting the actors on the spot at 8:30pm, show at 9:30pm. Location:  The Kraine Theater, NYC.
·        Scripts must be related to our monthly question.
·        Lama has been affected by current worldly events and the hatred that seems to be overly apparent. OurDecember question is :
What inspires you when you read the question? We are interested in what you are thinking about and how the question might affect the work you do.  Gather whatever inspiration the questions give you, and use it to fuel your chosen discipline. The questions are open to many interpretations!
·        When you submit please keep in mind that Lama encourage artistic exploration, provoking and risk-taking writing.
·        Short plays are limited to 8 pages in standard playwriting formats. (You can submit your 10 pages play but please keep in mind that we might ask you to make a few cuts.)   
·        Poems/ Monologues are limited to 2 pages.
·        Song samples should be mp3 and no more than 3 minutes.
·        Only submissions by electronic attachment will be accepted, Microsoft Word document or PDF.
·        Playwrights can be from anywhere, but plays must be in English.
·        Submit a BLIND copy of your script and include a list of characters/descriptions.  
·        E-mail your Script/Song/Poem to:
·        The subject line should include the title of the play.
·        Please fill your contact info and the name of your play at our website:  
·        Any Questions about Lama's monthly question? Please email us  and we’ll help you out!
·        For updates and more  info about Lama follow our page

NYFA Artists Fellowship
Deadline: 1/28/16

Artists' Fellowships are not project grants but are instead intended to fund an artist's vision as displayed across a single criterion of work. Fellowships are not awarded to interpretative artists such as dancers or actors, applicants must be the originators of the work, ie. choreographers or playwrights. NYFA is committed to supporting artists from diverse cultural backgrounds at all stages of their professional careers. In 2015, NYFA awarded 91 Fellowships to 95 awardees with 4 collaborations totaling an amount of $642,000. Who Can Apply? To be eligible for the award, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- You must be 25 years old or older.
-You must be a current resident of New York State and/or one of the Indian Nations located in New York State for at least the two consecutive years prior to the application deadline.
-You must not be enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate degree program of any kind at the time of the application deadline.
-You must not have received a NYFA Fellowship in any discipline in the past five years. -you must not be a NYFA employee, member of the NYFA Board of Trustees or Artists' Advisory Committee, an immediate family member of any of the above, or an immediate family member of a 2015­/2016 panelist.

How Do I Apply?
-Create a new application online All applications and support materials must be uploaded and submitted via the online application at , NYFA does not accept any physical copies. Applicants must create an account with in order to access the application form and to upload their support materials, If you do not already have an user account with, you must create one with your name and email address in order to apply. Once you’ve created a login, you can use this to submit to any organization that accepts applications supported by submittable. Enter your details and click Create Account and Continue. A verification email will be sent to your email address, check your inbox and click on the link provided in the email to verify your account.

- Begin your online application. Select your category or categories​. Applicants may apply in up to two categories per year but will only be awarded in one. Should you receive an award in 2 categories, you will have to choose which category to be recognized in. Applicants use the same login details to create applications in either category but must submit a separate application and support materials for each category. List any collaborations. ​Collaborating artists must apply together with one application. A collaboration is defined as up to three artists who can clearly demonstrate an ongoing collaborative career. Collaborating artists can apply with an account under a collaborative artist name or with an individually named account providing that, in either case, all collaborators are listed under the Applicant Information section of the application form. Collaborator’s names should be separated by a “ / ” in the Name field. Should a collaborative application receive an award, the grant will be divided evenly between the 2 collaborating artists. All individual applicants must clearly state their respective roles and must meet eligibility requirements.

- Fill out your online application​. You must fill out your Applicant Information, Work Statement, any additional statements and upload your Work Samples and Résumé. Each application will have varying components depending on the discipline in which an applicant is applying so please refer to the category guidelines for further assistance in completing your application.
-Upload your Work Samples​. Work samples are a representation of your artistic work within the last five years. All Work Samples are submitted through the application, NYFA accepts a variety of file formats to support your application which will vary depending on the discipline in which you are applying so please refer to the category guidelines for further assistance.

-Submit your application. When you have finished filling out your information and have completed the Work Statement, additional statements and uploaded your Work Samples, simply click on the Submit button on the bottom of the application form to submit your application. Once submitted, you will no longer be able to make changes to your application so make sure you have reviewed everything carefully before submitting. FAQ What is an Artists’ Fellowship? Artists' Fellowships, awarded in fifteen different disciplines over a three­year period, are $7,000 cash awards made to individual originating artists living and working in the state of New York and or Indian Nations located therein for unrestricted use. Artists’ Fellowships are not project grants but are intended to fund an artist’s vision or voice, regardless of the level of his or her artistic development. How are Fellows selected? Artists' Fellowships are chosen based on the single criterion of work that demonstrates a compelling vision as defined by the assembled panel's collective opinion. Materials are reviewed and voted on by the panelists in elimination rounds which produce a smaller pool for each round. An artist's advancement is a product of the collective vote of the panel. A single panelist cannot ensure an applicant's success or failure. Panel selections are reviewed by the Artists' Advisory Committee and by NYFA's Board of Trustees. Neither the Committee nor the Board reviews the work of applicants or makes any aesthetic judgments. Panelists' names are kept confidential until the awards are announced.

NYFA is committed to supporting New York State artists of diverse cultural, sexual, and ethnic backgrounds. NYFA does not discriminate based on the age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or ability/disability of artists, and welcomes work whose content reflects the lived experiences of the applicants. 3 How is work reviewed? In visual arts categories, an artist's digital images are viewed four at a time, horizontally, in the order uploaded by the applicant. Moderators will read aloud the materials, dimensions, and date of the first and fifth images to the panel. In categories accepting video samples, panelists review up to a total of 4 minutes of an applicant's work samples, and may scan through the entire work in later rounds. In literary categories, manuscripts are reviewed by five readers across the state before assembling at NYFA for the final decision. For all categories, an applicant's statements are available for panelists to read as they review support materials. NOTE: This review process is not anonymous. Applicants' names are known by the panelists in all categories. How are panels assembled?

Recommendations for potential panelists come from many sources, including; the Artists’ Advisory Committee, arts and cultural organizations around New York State and Indian Nations located therein, and suggestions from practicing artists. All potential panelists must be practicing artists and must receive three recommendations from their field. The Artists' Advisory Committee then approves final choices that reflect considerations of genre, age, ethnicity, and geography within New York State and Indian Nations located therein. Panels are held separately with different panelists for each category. Applicants may participate in this process by suggesting themselves or others as panel candidates on the application. NOTE: Panelists change each year. When are the fellowships announced? All applicants will be notified of final decisions in late Summer of 2016. The names of all Fellows, Finalists and the panelists who selected them will be listed online at If I receive an award, what must I do? Fellows must first verify their New York State residency or Indian Nation residency within New York State. Once a recipient has received notification of their award, they are required to submit documentation verifying their residency for the years 2014 and 2015. Acceptable documents include tax forms, phone bills, utility bills, bank statements, driver’s license, etc. Grants are given in one payment of $7,000 upon verification of residency.

Yale Institute for Music Theatre
Deadline: Jan. 8th

Established in 2009, the YALE INSTITUTE FOR MUSIC THEATRE is a program of Yale’s Binger Center for New Theatre that bridges the gap between training and the professional world for emerging composers, book writers, and lyricists. The Institute seeks distinctive and original music theatre works to be developed in an intensive two-week summer lab at Yale School of Drama. The Institute matches the authors of the selected works with collaborators, including professional directors and music directors, as well as a company of actors and singers that includes professionals and current Yale students. The lab culminates with open rehearsal readings of each project, presented as part of New Haven’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Brokaw, two original music theatre works will be selected for the 2016 Institute, which will take place June 13–28 in New Haven. Online applications are being accepted now through January 8, 2016, 11:59PM (EST). Click here for more information and to apply.

Inoculation Theory in 2020 Election

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