Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Monthly Review

it's time for my annual accounting report I write. It's a tradition that I've done since I was a teenager and it helps me keep track of my goals. It also helps me remember things I've forgotten. I spend this day in reflection and review, while looking forward to 2017. So this was my 2016. No revising, no editing, just recalling and writing as quickly as possible....

JANUARY: New Starts 

- I returned to work on "BrainDead." I got to write two episodes (one sole writer and the other co-written with a producer). My contract was extended so I had to cancel my guest artist retreat to my friend's school in Switzerland. Although I was looking forward to the travel opportunity, I was glad that the show was continuing onward and they wanted me to be along for the ride.

- "Don't Smoke In Bed" began doing its first read throughs in London at Finborough Theatre. I was in communication with the director via skype and email. I was very excited to be in such competently British theatre hands. Everyone knows what they're doing over there, or maybe it just seems that way to an American sitting in NYC.

- "The Gospel According to F#ggots" started rehearsals again at Brooklyn Arts Exchange and I had a lot of new material. We figured out some scenes and were getting ready for our last public workshops. This was one of the most complicated plays I've ever worked on because it was experimental, highly stylized with dance/movement, poetry, and video interludes. But I was really enjoying the process.

- "Zoohouse" had another reading at National Black Theatre in Harlem and we began talking/planning the February workshop.

- Meanwhile I was on a MAXAMOO and NYTheatre Review tear, going to dozens of plays, writing reviews, doing podcasts, staying connected to this vital and alive world. "Discotropic" was the most innovative performance piece, which was a queer sci-fi funk dance project. "Skeleton Crew" at Atlantic Theatre Company was the most complete and satisfying work. And "Negrophobia" was the project with the most ambition and potential for development.

FEBRUARY: Theatre-centric

- BAX open workshop of "The Gospel According to F#ggots" was extremely helpful. The piece started to come together and the talkback guided me, thanks to fellow BAX artists Marissa.

- "Don't Smoke in Bed" opened at Finborough Theatre in London. It was a strange experience to be so distant and to hear raves and slams. Overall the praise to slam ratio was about 3 to 1. From the critics, I learned more about my collaborators and REALLY wish I could have been there because I heard that the acting was superb and the use of sound and set was innovative. One of these days I'm going to make it to London to thank the "Smoke" crew.

- "Zoohouse" workshop opens at National Black Theatre. By this time, it has been an unbelievable month of theatre. Three plays, 3 different hoods (Brooklyn, Harlem, London), 3 directors, 3 theatres. After working on "Zoohouse" for 18 months this was the final workshop and a fully-fleshed out workshop. Director Ebony Golden is on that jazz aesthetic level and infused the work with potent dance and songs. I felt like the audience was with the show and loved the twists at the end.

MARCH: Gospel

- "Gospel" was in transition with a lot of people leaving, not being available, or just disappearing. What ended up happening was that the piece got honed down to its essentials which was a 70 min selection that actually turned into a phenomenal and transformative for me to work through, substitute direct in places, work with a choreographer, ad-lib lines, arrange production, find the videos, get the videographer, and pretty much run around constantly. But I really loved the end workshop and was so grateful for the opportunity. Doing this piece again would bring me so much joy. We will see.

APRIL: End of the BrainDead Road

-My "BrainDead" contract could not be extended any more, or rather the network was not willing to pay me for more of my time, which was fine. I had been extended to over 30 weeks already and this was a dream first job. My work wrapped up the same week as my birthday.

- As "Gospel" was wrapping up I got a call from Skylight Theatre in LA. They were interested in "Obama-ology." Great, do it! I won't be there! LOLOL, little did I know....

- I met up with Jon Rivera at Signature Theatre. He was in town and wanted to talk about "Obama-ology's" LA production. He said he could get the play down to one-act and 99 minutes long. Good luck!

- SPAM was one of the oddest, richest works I've ever seen. It was a JACK's so it was two blocks from my house. Similar to "YOUARENOWHERE" this is a twisting work about identity in the 21st century.

- I began reading pilots, taking meetings for my screenplay "Judge/Jury/Execute," and figuring out what's next. I told my Brooklyn roommates that there's a chance I might be leaving. Don't know yet. But I want to give people a fair warning.

- my meditation improves as well as my time. Now that I no longer have a job, my default morning routine resumes: meditation, gym, and then reading/writing after lunch.

- my play "Running" gets into the O'Neill Conference!!! AAAAAAHHHH!!! And I can't tell anyone for weeks. AAAAHHHH! This is one of the all-time highlights. The O'Neill is a temple of American Theatre.

- I get into New Dramatists! AAAHHH! Once again, another iconic divine space of theatre. And I get 7 years to work and play. But I can't tell anyone for weeks! CRIKEY!!!


MAY: TV Again

- I interview for "Vinyl" and bomb. I am a lucky man. The executives were great but my mind was busy working on two different scripts while talking to them. It was a reminder to not get too cocky. Be more prepared. Do my work, read and re-read everything. But parts of me was ambivalent about the show, but it's still HBO. Do better.

- I don't even get to the interview section for another job. This was a tv show I interviewed for a year ago and I thought I did a good job. But through a series of travel snafus, they never came to NYC and our meeting was cancelled. By the time I tried to figure out a way to reschedule they had already moved on. I guess it wasn't meant to be. I have no doubt about it.

- I am guaranteed a job on another show. And a bump up to story editor. The only question is when said show will start. But with this private news I relax a bit and wait to see how things will suss out.

- I interview for two Dan Fogelman shows: "Pitch" and "Untitled Dan Fogelman Project." The first interview is with Jess and I am using a tiny side office at BAX so that I look somewhat professional. This time I am prepared, no repeat of the HBO debacle. A week or so later I interview for "Untitled Dan Fogelman Project." I was using the space at the Dramatists Guild Fund: the backroom near the kitchen. I had a thick head cold, but I push all the phlegm down to my toes, smile, and drop into a meditative space. I don't know whether it was the MJ flu-game, the setting, or the people, but everything clicks. Not saying that in a cocky way, but it's one of those times when you just 'know.' Like on a good first date or when you take a college class and realize what you're major is going to be and how the rest of your life will go forward from this one moment. No matter what happens, I feel good. I gave it my all. I was prepared. I was engaged. And I was loose because I was on cold medication but also I knew that there was another job pending.

- I engage in a back and forth between my agents, manager, and lawyer. They do their magic, I give my opinions, and we have synergy. And then I get the call of the year: I got the job for "THIS IS US." Unlike many of my friends I would have almost an entire week to move to LA (most only get 1 or 2 days). I tell my Brooklyn roommates, find a storage space, get boxes, plan out my last few Broadway tickets, and say my goodbyes.

- My farewell gathering was at Three Jewels. I was surprised at how many people showed up. I got pizza, snacks, and drinks. We laughed and talked in a beautiful space. It was so much better than meeting in a bar.

- I tell O'Neill and New Dramatists about the TV job. They're flexible and great.  I attend the Monte Cristo dinner for the O'Neill and meet some of the other fellows. I go to the New Dramatists banquet and I'm in the church!!

JUNE: La La Land

- I arrive in LA and sleep on my friend's couch. Another friend helps me find a nice 2 bedroom in West Hollywood off of Fountain and Fairfax.

- "Obama-ology" rehearsals are in full swing. Who knew that fate would bring me to the play! The cast is great and they have managed to trim the play down to a lean, full one-act.

- Free time is abundant so I figured I could try to lose some weight. The goal? 40 lbs. I find a trainer at the gym and start a regular workout regime. I also start monitoring my diet.

- I started dating! Or, in fact one date and a relationship starts. Who knew! No HBO flub on this.

- At the end of the month is the O'Neill. After work I go home, throw some clothes in a suitcase and hop on plane.

JULY: Theatre (in LA)

- O'Neill was fantastic. "Running on Fire" goes through several drafts until it sings. Maybe not the tune of traditional theatre, but the work is its own thing. Uncompromising, funny, tragic, speaking to the times. As Marsha Norma or Chris Durang would say 'this is clearly my voice.' And that's all I can ask for, because I am trying to hone who I am (as oppose to imitating past greats).

- btw, kayaking! I love kayaking. Who knew? I could kayak right now as I write this.

- "Obama-ology" opens. Overjoyed that this little play has my tone and signature stamped on it. I can't believe the journey of this work from an inkling, to a rough draft at Juilliard, Juilliard public reading and then in the school's summer play festival, before hopping across the pond to Finborough and then RADA. And now LA.

- I met up with a movie exec about "Judge Jury Execute." We are in agreement: this is important and we can work together, so we start doing 'the work.' I take the first series of notes and settle in for rewrites.

AUGUST: Hollywood Withers

- this is the slow time.

- I move to a new place on Palm Avenue in West Hollywood. I'm in the deepest and greasiest part of the gay jungle.

- I watch the news. I am lukewarm on Hillary Clinton and many of my friends feel indifferent to her, but we rally ourselves by looking at the alternative.

- "Obama-ology" closes. I loved the production. I wish more people could have seen the play but I can't be in charge of that. All I can focus on are the words. Toward the end of the run, the crowds grew due to word of mouth.

- I turn in rewrites for "Judge Jury Execute."

- I continue working out and add dance and zumba classes at night. The weight starts to fly off.

- a lot of brunches and meetings

SEPTEMBER: Premieres

- I go back to NYC for the New Dramatists ceremony. I stay some of the days in the New Dramatists loft, and some other times on a friend's couch in midtown. I miss NYC. The induction ceremony was wonderful and exciting.

- "This is Us" premieres. The audience response is a grassroots phenomenon that no one could have predicted. The first show opens to huge numbers. The writers and producers are taken aback. We all hoped for success, but few expected "Empire"-esque ratings. But the new kind on the NBC block starts off with a bang.

- Lama Chunzom comes to LA with the teachings of Master Kamalashila. I get a new set of meditations and dharma. Wisdom spreads!

OCTOBER: Focus

- I write my TIU episode. And then the entire season gets re-broken so I have to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. I think it ended up a lot better.

- I have lost 40 lbs. Now I'm going to 50!

- I rewrite "Judge Jury Execute" because... it's Tuesday. But the script is getting better.

- I spend Halloween out and away from my apartment since I'm located at the epicenter of the parade. I work out at Crunch, I eat a luxurious dinner, and then I watch a terrible movie at Sundance Cinema. By the time I get out it's past midnight and the party is starting to die down.

NOVEMBER: World Turned Upside Down

- I have lost 50 lbs. Now I'm going for 60.

- I'm on set for my episode. It is a new phase in my career, being in the meetings, talking with the actors. On "BrainDead" my job had already ended by the time they were shooting my episodes. And I found myself wrapped up in other work so I never went to the set.

- The election happens and the world is turned upside down.

- amidst the carnage of democracy I win an award. A fairly big award that I can't openly write about until 2017. But I am overjoyed! And the check cleared.

- I finish another draft of "Judge Jury Execute" and I think we're finally 'there.' The exec is happy, I'm happy, others are happy. Now we go looking for a director.

- "This is Us" becomes the clear runaway hit of the season. The numbers keep growing every week. By the end of the month we are on-par with "Empire."

DECEMBER: Nominations

- "This is Us" surpasses "Empire" in Nielsen Ratings. The only show bigger than it on network tv is "The Big Bang Theory." Maybe one day?

- Award nomination season and "THIS IS US" gets nods from SAG, WGA, AFI, NAACP. And then the Golden Globes! Three nominations, which means WE GET TO GO...to the after party. And maybe the writers are in a tent on the side during the actual awards, I don't know. But at least we got the after party.

- I finally have an excuse to go into the fancy cake bakery near my place, so I order a Golden Globe cake made from red velvet. But I'm trying to lose weight so I drop the cake off at the office, take a picture, and then leave. I heard it tasted amazing.

- theatre meetings happen. We will see if any of it leads to new opps in 2017.

- movie meetings happen. Once again, we will see if new opps are on the horizon.

- I get two salt lamps as gifts. My sinuses feel great.



Kuumba

2016 was a strange dichotomy. As the geopolitical and cultural world went to hell, my personal life went in the opposite direction. In the areas of career, creativity, spirituality, health&wellness, philanthropy, and relationships (which I usually do not mention online on purpose) I felt myself growing. Words like 'abundance' and 'prosperity' has become hackneyed and trite thanks to religious charlatans. And yet those twin terms apply to this year which was the best. BEST YEAR. Not even close, which is a funny thing to say b/c prior to this turn around the sun, 2015 was THE BEST YEAR. And prior to that, 2014 was the best. This doubling has happened ever year since about 2006, when I took a year off to take care of family issues and focused on helping others solely, while disconnecting from my own immediate wants. In the echo chamber of this holographic universe, I have felt the multiplication of that kindness by so many collaborators, colleagues, partners, and teachers. Thank you. To the numerous charities I worked with and contributed to this year, to the 3 play productions, 2 tv shows, 2 theatre awards, one workshop at the O'Neill, one induction into the freshman class at New Dramatists, one screenplay deal, one love, one Lama in Venerable Lobsang Chunzom, one body of wellness. And even more amazing than my own story has been seeing my friends thrive in TV, theatre, film, journalism, marriage, yoga, wellness, and family. It's a lot more fun to be amongst people who complain less, work more, succeed beyond expectations, expand, and encourage me to do the same. May the upward spiral continue into 2017 and expand out to more friends, family, strangers, and even enemies. Be Christ. Be Buddha. Be love. Kuumba!

Friday, December 30, 2016

NIA (purpose)

I had the pleasure of hanging out with theatre director Michel Hausmann and Miami filmmaker Billy Corben ("Cocaine Cowboys" and "The U" on ESPN's 30 for 30) in SoBe. At the end of lunch Billy told me to check out his netflix documentary "Dawg Fight," about the backyard fighting circuit in West Perrine, which is one of the poorest and most violent areas of Miami. I watched it yesterday and I was moved to tears.

"Dawg Fight" is filled with hometown folks who look like me and are struggling to survive. They don't want handouts, they don't blame the government, and don't want to sell drugs to their community. So they fight each other. They're smart, determined, funny, and just want a chance. They are literally trying to fight their way out of poverty. Faces are bashed in, people lose eyesight, flaps of flesh are torn from faces and blood is spilled on the 12X12 ring in a dirt-covered backyard.

Neighbors cheer, black market bets are placed on fights, the local police look on, and an official from the Dem party comes to a bout to praise self-made entrepreneur and backyard fight promoter DADA 5000. At the end of the bout, the fighters are so bashed and discombobulated that they have to led out of the ring like little children. The winner gets $200 and the loser gets $50. And they're happy to have it.

"Dawg Fight" was sad, epic, brutal, black, American, universal. These are men with purpose and I hope we can honor their hard work, pride, and dreams by giving them a chance.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ujamaa and Sharing Wealth

Ujamaa. My mom told me about Daryl Davis, a Blues musician who converted 200 KKK members by talking to them. Part of me squirms when I see these stories glorified b/c I think 'why do the black people always have to be the saint, and why should I have to go out of my way and inconvenience myself b/c of their ignorance?' But I have to admit that I would much rather live in a nation filled with ppl like Daryl Davis engaging in communication, rather than existing in a culture of the righteously angry shouting/shaming the other side. Today is Ujamaa, collective economics. The underlying principle is shared wealth. But wealth is not just monetary. It is mental, spiritual, cultural. It is kindness. Money is, in fact, the easiest thing to share. Daryl Davis shared his wealth with these people...and with me. Ujamaa.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kwanzaa Kujichagulia: Yoga

The yoga instructor subbing in this morning was a guy. And so were 90% of the yogi students. I had to look around to make sure I wasn't just imagining this, b/c I have never been in a yoga class -in NYC, LA, or Miami- that was almost all guys; especially not for a yoga class at a gym where the genders are heavily split between women taking the most of the classes and men lifting most of the weights (and everyone uses the cardio machines).

The yoga instructor noticed it too. And it wasn't just that it was mostly guys, but all diff types and ages. Short, tall, chubby, skinny, old, middle-aged, young. Some times bodybuilders wander in off the floor do a couple of stretches and then bounce. But b/c the class was almost all guys, the few bodybuilders who came in ended up staying for the entire session. And the class was also mostly people of color: black and latino, the instructor was Latino Jewish, the few women that were there were all latino and newcomers. It was a moment of 'first chance' for so many new people who spontaneously/synergistically found themselves trying something new...which transformed the experience into something completely new for me.

It was a lesson in self-determination and people being willing to change. And when enough of us do it, we can transform a class, a college, a country or even the world...just by showing up, removing our external and internal prejudices, and diving into the work.

KUJICHAGULIA: self-determination.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Kwanzaa UMOJA: Door in the Face vs. Foot in the Door

From relearning "Bargaining and Negotiations" class...

Foot-in-the-door vs. Door-in-the-face. Foot-in-the-door is the small ask that eventually leads to the 'real ask.' A door-to-door salesman asks for a glass of water to get in the door to ask for five minutes, and then a series of small asks leads to selling something. A guy asks if he can carry a girl's books to her locker, to establish a habit of caring for the girl, in order to ask her out on a date. FITD depends upon the listener feeling helpful or valuable.

Door-in-the-face is the big ask that will be rejected by the listener so that the real ask seems more reasonable. DITF depends upon the listener saying 'no' to an ask and then feeling guilty about it, so that the real ask seems reasonable.

My first job in high school was at a local newspaper. I used foot-in-the-door: just let me write an article. One, that's all I ask. I wrote the article, the response was very positive, so I asked to write another article. After a few articles I switched to door-in-the-face and walked into the publisher's office and asked to be a newspaper staff writer. The publisher laughed. I was in high school and had no experience. But I listed my articles' positive response and work ethic, he felt a bit guilty, then he 'offered' the freelance writer position that was well-paying. He never would have given me that job if I would have asked for it upfront. He ended up giving me what I wanted b/c I over-asked and negotiated to a reasonable medium.

On the first day of Kwanzaa I am remembering that persuasion techniques -FITD and DITF- can be used to get people to reach common ground, work together, achieve our goals, and create community. UMOJA.

The Killer Year of 2016

RIP George Michael.

Umm, I'm gonna sound like a jerk saying this but....a year is not an active thing. It's not a person who is doing something, a killer snatching David Bowie, a fiend tripping Prince, or a secret agent rigging the election. I'm not being cute and I know people are not stupid. I know we're half joking when we 'damn 2016 to a fiery hell' but its reached a critical mass online that makes me think this joke is starting to creep into the mediated cultural subconscious, like some sort of hocus-pocus displacement of real feelings into numerological superstition.

Last year people were saying 'goddamn 2015! Next year will be better.' And before that ppl were cursing out 2014 for being a lil bitch. There are active things and agents making our world more tragic and ending lives prematurely and this joke feels like its a way of flipping helpful healing grief into the usual reactive anger at an abstraction. Are we gonna start blaming days of the weeks or months for tragic events that happen on them ('fuck you September. I'll never forget the way you did me dirty' or 'I never liked 12:34pm').

I can't wait until 20 yrs from now when there are no fish in the ocean so I can blame the year instead of the actual cause. So a precursory fuck you to 2037!! And eat it, 2050 when Florida sinks into the ocean and there's no longer a US eastern seaboard.

Anyway, back to listening to George Michael as our planet burns to the ground -from a contrarian in mourning.

Holiday Bumper Sticker

Be still. Be Christ...and by that I mean be a radical leftist rabbi who hung out with all types of people, didn't judge others, was an enemy of corrupt religious clergy, spoke out against the government, didn't give in to conventions, and certainly didn't give a flying flip whether you said 'happy holidays' or 'happy birthday' because he was a Marxist who didn't believe in societal norms, and would reject petty arguments in favor of the larger goal of the expansion of love across borders, religions, ethnicities, sexualities, and genders b/c if God is love then he was about the infinite inclusiveness of the One, rather than the troll-like activity of exclusion, so if we're celebrating Christ-mas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and Ramadan, and Winter Solstice, and Je Tsongkapa Day at the same time of year he would probably think 'that is so cool. I love you guys.' So, yeah! Be the pure non-duality of love. And be merry about it. And that would honor his legacy more than word choice or presents. Yay!!
-my personal holiday bumpersticker

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Dunning Kruger Effect in Trump's America

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." - H.L. Mencken.

While working on the CBS show "BrainDead" the writers were asked to toss out different political and sociological terms that symbolized our age. One of the first things I mentioned was the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Dunning-Kruger is a cognitive bias in which low-ability ppl have a superiority complex. They are incapable of accurately assessing their own intelligence b/c they...well lack intelligence to even judge their performance. It's a vicious cycle and no amount of facts can dissuade them from their 'illusory genius.' I thought Dunning Kruger perfectly described a lot of the alt-right and the GOP policymakers: self-deluded geniuses unmoved by facts.

But there's also a reverse of the Dunning Kruger. This is when smart ppl overestimate the intelligence of others, thereby crippling their judgment. That is, unfortunately Obama and many ppl on the left as well as GOP politicians who were easily defeated by Trump. They overestimated the intelligence of voters. They thought 'people are too smart to fall for this con game.' And even though I really like Obama I think that has been his key flaw: he overestimates the good and intelligence in people and doesn't act until it's too late. Birtherism, Tea Baggers, Benghazi-Truthers, these are all completely b.s and Dems didn't respond to them in time b/c they thought 'this will go away once the facts are presented. People are too intelligence.'

Now news outlets are reporting that the Obama administration knew about Russian hacking a year ago, and they failed to act decisively b/c they thought 'no one is gonna fall for this fake news.' And as a result enough people were hammered day in and day out with e-mail distractions, fake news, and lies that it was enough to tip the election in key areas. And that's the Dems fault. Yes, shame on the GOP for colluding with a foreign power. But also shame on Dems who continually make the same mistake. Stop overestimating people's intelligence. There are millions of voters who desperately need Obamacare who profess their hatred of it....because they have no idea what they're talking about. They truly think that by electing a billionaire who doesn't pay taxes and benefits off an unequal system, he is going to fix the world for them.

Thank you Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and other Dems who talk to ppl at their level, don't take anything for granted, and follow-through.

The defining difference in our age isn't right vs. left. It's Dunning Kruger divide of highly incompetent destructive ideologues and fanatics vs. academics impotents who fails to act in time and aren't decisive enough to stop our long painful slide into a new dark age. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

GET WHAT YOU WANT: December 2016

1.
POLITICAL AFTERMATH: Open Fist Theatre
Deadline: January 1st
Website: http://www.openfist.org/

The Open Fist Theatre company, based in Los Angeles, is seeking submissions of short plays themed around the nation’s various responses to this election and its aftermath. The plays will be performed by company members at a pop-up event, scheduled to be produced around the end of January/early February. If you have any original material that you think might fit, or are inspired to create something new, please email the piece to Cait.L.Thompson@gmail.com by January 1st. It does not need to be a literal interpretation by any means

2.
PLAYWRIGHT FELLOWSHIP MCKNIGHT FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: December 8th
Website: https://pwcenter.org/programs/mcknight-national-residency-and-commission

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

3.
ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG FOUNDATION: ART AS ACTIVIST FELLOWSHIP
Artist Fellowships Address Racial Justice and Mass Incarceration Issues
Deadline: December 5th
Website: http://www.rauschenbergfoundation.org/grants/current-rfp-0

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation is dedicated to fostering the legacy of the artist’s life, work, and philosophy that art can change the world. The Foundation’s Artist as Activist Fellowships support independent artists and art collectives that have a demonstrated commitment to applying their creative work to the public sphere. The focus of the 2017 Fellowships is on addressing racial justice through the lens of mass incarceration. Applicants should present works that highlight the need for more aggressive reform on issues such as immigrant detention, policing, and the privatization of prisons.

 Fellows receive funding of up to $100,000 over two years as well as professional development opportunities through a group gathering at the Foundation’s residency campus in Captiva, FL. U.S.-based artists and artist collectives seeking to work full-time on an ambitious creative work tackling this issue are eligible to apply. The application deadline is December 5, 2016. Visit the Foundation’s website for more information about the Fellowship program.

4.
AUSTIN PLAYHOUSE FESTIVAL OF NEW AMERICAN PLAYS
Deadline: December 15th
Website: http://www.austinplayhouse.com/new-play-festival

Full-length scripts are currently being accepted through December 15, 2016. Three to four scripts will be selected and announced to the public on March 1, 2017. Professional directors and performers will be assigned to the selected scripts for a rehearsal period culminating in a series of public staged readings from May 5 – 7, 2017.

Festival playwrights will be awarded a $500 prize.
Plays must be submitted in PDF form by December 15.
Plays must be full-length with a running time of at least an hour.
Plays must be submitted in an acceptable script format and written primarily in English.
Plays must be unproduced. Scripts may have received public readings or limited workshops, but additional information may be requested to determine eligibility.
Only one script per playwright may be submitted.
Playwrights must be citizens of the United States. Submissions from Austinites, Texans, and underserved populations are particularly encouraged.
Playwrights must submit plays and send direct inquiries to info@austinplayhouse.com with the subject header “New Play Festival.”
Playwrights must include a brief biography or resume with submission.
Austin Playhouse will have first right of refusal for selected scripts for the 2017-2018 season.
WHERE: Austin Playhouse at ACC’s Highland Campus 6001 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78752


5.
The Julliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Program
Deadline: Dec. 15th
website: www.juilliard.edu/apply-audition/application-audition-requirements/playwrights-program-application-requirements

 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.

6.
PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT CONTEST
Deadline: December 31st
Website: thecolonialplayers.org/index.php/news-archive/762-promising-playwright-contest-2017

Full-length play scripts sought for theater workshop opportunity. The winner will receive a prize of $1,000 and a script workshop weekend in summer 2017. The workshop will culminate in a rehearsed public reading of the script at our theater in Annapolis, Maryland.

GUIDELINES:
Playwrights must currently reside in Washington DC or any of the 13 original colonies of the United States
Plays must be unpublished and unproduced.
Estimated run time should be at least 85 minutes, and cast size should not exceed 10.
Musicals and musical librettos are not accepted.
The winner will be notified by May 15, 2017.
Judging is blind. No name(s) of the playwright(s), nor any other identifying information is allowed on any submitted material. The materials will not be forwarded to readers for judging if names appear anywhere.

All entries must include four PDFs:
Summary of the story not to exceed two pages. Plotline only! Please do not include reviewer comments, notes of praise, or any enthusiastic blurbs that are intended to sway judges or sell the piece
List of Characters with descriptions
10 consecutive representative pages from the script
Full script (no author names or other identifying marks)

Submit online at Submittable.com between October 1, 2016, and Dec 31, 2016


7.
Neil LaBute New Theatre Festival
Deadline: Dec. 31st
website:http://stlas.org/labute-new-theater-festival/

 SUBMISSIONS
Submissions will be accepted October 1 through December 31, 2016. Professional Submissions: Successful entries will have no more than four characters and be crafted specifically to exploit our intimate performance space. (18′ x 18′ stage) Changes in scenery or setting should be achievable quickly and with few major set moves. Our focus is on fundamental dramaturgy: plot, character and theme.

 PROFESSIONAL SUBMISSIONS
Professional, new and previously unproduced one-act play submissions should include a letter of inquiry, a synopsis and a 10-page sample from the script. Running time for each performance should not exceed 45 minutes. Up to Eight plays will be chosen. In addition, a new piece from Mr. LaBute will be performed every night for the run of the festival.

 HIGH SCHOOL SUBMISSIONS
Winning plays by high school students will be presented in readings. The guidelines are straightforward: The one act should include no more than four characters featuring a clearly developed plot and distinctive characters. No longer than 15 minutes in length. Non-Professional, new and previously unproduced one-act play submissions should include a letter of inquiry and complete script.

 Submissions should be sent to:
LaBute New Theater Festival, St. Louis Actors’ Studio, 360 N Boyle Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
For more information: 314-458-2978 or help@stlas.org


8.
INKTANK RISING CIRCLE THEATRE COLLECTIVE
Deadline: January 6th
website: www.risingcircle.org/

INKtank is Rising Circle Theater Collective's play development intensive for playwrights of color. INKtank has a two-fold mission of providing emerging playwrights of color an artistic home and support system while assisting them in the creation of a more developed draft of a full-length script. The final drafts of the INKtank plays will be presented at PlayRISE, a culminating festival event where the selected works receive a public reading.

The INKtank Lab seeks to select 3-4 writers of color who are invested in the revision process of their own work as well of their peers in an artistic community environment with a shared intention of honest feedback and rigorous pursuit of excellence.  The lab cycle will be facilitated by INKtank alums, Raquel Almazan (La Esperanza, or The Hopefulness) and Monet Hurst-Mendoza (Lilia, Veil'd). INKtank is a collaborative process where Rising Circle will provide structure and resources, while playwrights create what happens week-to-week based on the needs of each writer.

Applicants must submit the following by January 6, 2017:
• One full-length script that you would like to work on during the lab. The play must be in line with Rising Circle’s mission statement to expand the scope of storytelling on the American stage by giving voice to unheard stories of people of color. We are especially interested in plays that have an urgency to address the current social, political and cultural times.  Please note: we are not accepting one-character plays or musicals at this time.
• Resume
• A one-page Artistic Statement explaining your personal rewrite goals, what you feel are the strengths of the script, and what you would like to focus on for the piece during the developmental process. Please include any developmental history of this piece, if it has had readings in the past, or if there are any upcoming readings of your work.

*Please read all lab requirements and guidelines prior to applying.
*Applicants MUST live in the tri-state area to be considered.
*Finalist interviews will take place in early February.


9.
NEW AMERICA FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: February 1st
website: http://www.newamerica.org/fellows/how-to-apply/

New America’s Fellows Program invests in thinkers—academics, journalists, independent scholars, and public policy analysts—who offer fresh and often unconventional perspectives on the major challenges facing our society.

Fellows advance big ideas through research, reporting, analysis, and/or storytelling. The big idea can be a sweeping reframing of a familiar subject through new research or a new combination of existing research; a masterful presentation of a case study that advances our understanding of a timeless American theme or stress fracture; an innovative new media or academic project to disseminate knowledge about a shared challenge; or a bold policy prescription for moving domestic and international issues forward. Our goal in the Fellows Program is to find bold, iconoclastic thinkers and to fund them for a year, long enough so that they can make progress in writing a book, develop a series of articles, work on a documentary, or work on another project that would be accessible to a broad audience and long enough to be able to build a real community among the fellows.

Fellows benefit from a financial stipend, engagement with each other and with New America’s various policy programs, and the expanded audience and exposure from New America and its media partners. Precise terms and stipend levels of fellowships vary widely, as some fellows work full-time at New America in pursuit of their research, while many others have other professional commitments during the term of their fellowship.

10.
NEW AMERICA FELLOWSHIP (CALIFORNIA-BASED)
Deadline: December 31st
website:  http://www.newamerica.org/ca/new-america-ca-fellowship/fellowship-faq/

In the National Fellowship program, a hallmark of New America, New America finds new voices, particularly journalists and academics, bringing accessible policy writing to broad audiences. Our CA Fellowship program, in contrast, is designed to find social entrepreneurs based in CA who are doing work that relates to New America issue areas. We work with the CA fellows to tell stories about the work they’re doing, and we’ll help them create content to plug into our national media network. While the two fellowships are not mutually exclusive, it’s unlikely there will be crossover because of the different types of people we’re recruiting for each program.

Fellows must be based in California (anywhere in the state). Other than that, there is no location requirement. Fellows will come together in Washington, DC for orientation and to attend New America's annual conference in May. New America CA is based in San Francisco, and fellows will gather in San Francisco approximately three times over the fellowship year, but travel costs will be covered.


11.
BRICLab Residency
Deadline: January 17th
website: www.bricartsmedia.org/artist-opportunities/residencies/briclab-residency

BRIClab is a commissioning and residency development program for Brooklyn and New York City-based artists to explore and expand the possibilities of their work in music, dance, theater and multi-disciplinary performance.  Free and open exploration and intentional commitment to process – with the support of the staff and resources that BRIC offers – are at the heart of the BRIClab program. Artists receive stipends and an intensive residency in BRIC’s Artist Studio with development time, opportunities for artistic mentoring, and work-in-process performances.

DEADLINE
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 (11:59pm)
Artist’s receive:
Exclusive use of the BRIC House Artist Studio for 10-12 days (8am – 10pm)
Artist stipend of $1750
Additional $200 for Creative Advisor honorarium
Up to 30 hours of technical support
Two work-in-progress showings on Thursday and Friday of the 2nd week at 7:30pm, followed by moderated artist/audience dialogues
Photographic and video documentation of showings

SELECTION CRITERIA
BRIClab is for Brooklyn or New York City based artists who:
Are developing new work that is relevant to diverse Brooklyn audiences
Are exploring their interests and questions with thoughtful processes and can articulate a context for their work
Are excited by the opportunity to share their work with the public and who embrace dialogue with audiences as a meaningful part of their process
Can articulate (for multi-disciplinary work) an understanding or purposeful examination of how the various disciplines will interact and serve the whole
Across the season of BRIClab residencies we look for diversity and/or resonance in:
racial and cultural perspective
discipline (dance, theater, music, multi-discipline)
method/practice (collaboratively developed, solo work, heavily researched, more or less embodied, etc.)


12.
LARK PLAYWRIGHTS' WEEK
Deadline: January 12th
website: http://www.larktheatre.org/get-involved/submit-play/

The Lark’s Open Access Program seeks to provide development opportunities for new and diverse voices for the theater by identifying and advancing promising plays that reveal unheard and vital perspectives.  This submissions program allows The Lark to serve a wide range of playwrights through an extensive multistage selection process with an emphasis on inclusion and advocacy.

Our support criteria emphasizes ambitious, fresh, playful, engaging, energizing, provocative, powerful and theatrical work by writers with clear statements of purpose who are open to a collaborative development process.

Writers selected for Playwrights’ Week are provided with ten hours of rehearsal and a public staged reading, towards addressing self-defined developmental goals for their plays, as well as opportunities to engage with other Playwrights’ Week participants in a peer-based community of support and conversation.

A complete submission is composed of two parts:

1)    A completed application form.
2) A full-length script, with your name or any identifying information removed as we are committed to an anonymous initial review.

Email Deadline
January 12, 2017 (11:59pm EST)

Please EMAIL your script and completed application as two separate attachments in the same email to: submissions@larktheatre.org. Application available online:
http://www.larktheatre.org/get-involved/submit-play/


13.
MARBLE HOUSE RESIDENCY
Deadline: Dec. 19th
website: http://www.marblehouseproject.org/artist-application/

Marble House Project is a multi-disciplinary artist residency program located in Dorset, Vermont.  Applications are accepted in all creative fields.  This includes but is not limited to visual arts, writing, choreography, music composition and performance.   Each session has eight to ten artists, creating small, dynamic interactive groups. Residents are selected by a jury process composed of past-years residents, staff and members of the board. Artists are selected based on the quality and commitment to their work and their project description.  Each session is specifically curated in order to maximize the art residency experience for each individual artist.  Marble House Project accepts approximately sixty artists each season. Five spots are reserved for Vermont residents and there is a family friendly residency specifically designed for parent artists with children. Residency applications are open for Spring Summer 2017. Deadline to apply is midnight, December 19th, 2016.

Please choose the application that best fits your practice. If your discipline is not best served by the forms below, email info@marblehouseproject.org.

Applications close midnight December 19th, 2016.


14.
PREMIERE STAGES PLAY FESTIVAL
Deadline: January 1st
Website:www.kean.edu/premierestages/pdf/2017_Play_Festival_Guidelines.pdf

From October 1, 2015 through January 3, 2016, Premiere Stages will accept submissions of unproduced plays (previous readings, workshops, and showcases are acceptable) written by playwrights born or currently residing in the greater metropolitan area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania). All plays submitted to the festival are evaluated by a professional panel of theatre producers, dramaturgs, playwrights, scholars and publishers. Our panel selects four finalists who will be given public readings with Equity casts in March 2016. Following the March readings, the panel selects the festival winner, who will receive a full Equity production in the Premiere Stages 2016 Mainstage Season and an award of $2000. The runner-up receives a 29-hour staged reading and $750. Our two other finalists will be awarded $500. We also strive to facilitate relationships between writers and theater professionals who we think will respond to their work, in hopes that plays developed at Premiere will go on to subsequent productions throughout the country.

All of the plays we produce retain the coveted “World Premiere” brand on their plays. Additionally, Premiere’s productions are consistently reviewed by the New York Times and scouted by major publishing houses, and multiple Festival plays have been honored by the American Theatre Critics Association. Our 2015 Play Festival winner was also featured in American Theatre Magazine and on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Submission Guidelines: Premiere Stages seeks to support a diverse group of writers. We are particularly interested in scripts that explore or address contemporary issues and tackle topics that challenge and connect with our audience. We encourage writers to view our production history: http://www.kean.edu/premierestages/past14.php for a better understanding of the type of scripts that we have produced in the past.

Agent/Theatre Professional Submissions: Premiere Stages will accept full scripts from literary agents or theatre professionals with an affiliation to Premiere Stages. All other writers are required to submit a 10-page script sample and synopsis.
● Plays must be full-length and have a cast size of no more than eight.
● Plays submitted must be unpublished and must be works that have not been previously produced (readings, workshops, showcases are okay).
● Plays must be written by playwrights who were born or reside in the greater metropolitan area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania).
● Musical Submissions, adaptations, and solo-shows will not be considered at this time.
● Submissions are limited to one script per playwright.

Non-agent submissions: Playwrights submitting without an agent/theatre professional must include:
 ● A brief synopsis of the play (no more than half a page).
● A character breakdown.
● A history of the play’s development (if any) and a brief statement of your goals for development.
● The playwright’s bio or resume.
● A script sample from the play (no more than 10 pages). Plays and synopses will be evaluated by a panel of arts professionals. The panel will submit their recommendations to the Producing Artistic Director and Literary staff. The panel will request full scripts from synopses of interest. For any questions regarding the submission guidelines, please email us at premiere@kean.edu. Submissions should be sent via email to: pfsubmit@kean.edu.


15.
Yale Institute for Music Theatre
Deadline: Jan. 2nd
website: http://drama.yale.edu/YIMT/institute-home

 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 2, 2017, 11:59PM (EST).


16.
Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Residency
Deadline: January 18th
Website: http://www.wurlitzerfoundation.org/apply

The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, established in 1954, is one of the oldest artist residence programs in the country. The Foundation’s mission is to “Support the artist and the creative process” and serves as a haven for visual artists, literary artists and music composers. We are located on fifteen acres in the heart of Taos, New Mexico, a four-hundred-year-old multicultural community renowned for its popularity with artists.

The Foundation offers three months of rent-free and utility-paid housing to grantees. Our eleven guest houses, or casitas, are fully furnished and provide residents with a peaceful setting in which to pursue their creative endeavors.

The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico provides residency grants to people who specialize in the creative arts. The foundation accepts applications from and offers residency grants to painters, poets, sculptors, writers, playwrights, screenwriters, composers, photographers and filmmakers, of national and international origin.

The Foundation, with support from The Caruso Family Foundation, also provides academic scholarships to Taos High School seniors pursuing degrees in the creative arts.
Online applications received between now and 11:59PM MST, Jan. 18 2017 will be considered for residency grants in 2018. Supplemental work samples sent via mail must be postmarked by January 21st!


17.
KITCHEN DOG NEW WORKS FESTIVAL
Deadline: December 5th
Website: http://www.kitchendogtheater.org/script-submissions/

Each year, Kitchen Dog selects six new plays from hundreds of submissions to be part of our New Works Festival. Selected scripts receive 15-20 hours of rehearsal, one public reading in June, and a $100 honorarium for the playwright. As Founding Members of the National New Play Network, it is our goal to showcase an exciting, diverse, and inclusive slate of plays that reflect the next phase of new work coming to the fore in the American theater and beyond. This year marks our 19th annual festival of new plays. In a continued effort to go green, we are only accepting submissions through the New Play Exchange (NPX). If you are unfamiliar with NPX or how to submit a play through the new opportunity module, please scroll down for tips.

We invite playwrights to submit full-length scripts that have had no more than one production. This is more of a showcase opportunity than a developmental one, so scripts should be close to production-ready, especially since we are unable to provide travel funds. Plays that call for five or fewer actors are ideal, but not mandatory.  We ask that all scripts speak to Kitchen Dog’s mission. Only one submission per playwright will be accepted.

The web-based NPX is the most efficient way to get your work in front of hundreds of new play professionals across the country. This platform allows us to easily receive your plays, and to recommend them to our colleagues in the field. While we are only able to present six plays as part of our Festival, we are committed to writing recommendations in NPX for our top 25 finalists.

Only electronic submissions will be considered – no hard copies or emailed submissions accepted.

DEADLINE is December 5th, 2016.

If you have questions about submitting your play to us through NPX, please contact haley@kitchendogtheater.org


18.
Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Writers
Deadline: January 9th
website: www.leahryansfeww.com/apply.html


 All women who consider themselves emerging playwrights (as distinct from fledgling or mid-career playwrights) are eligible to apply for the FEWW Prize. Playwrights from all over the world are encouraged to apply, but the play must be written in English. Eligibility does not require that a submitted work adhere to the traditional three-act structure. One-acts, two-acts (even four-, five-, six- acts), monologues, adaptations, and any other wild (or deceptively tame) format will be considered with equal seriousness. The only absolute requirement is that the submitted text be a completed full-length work for theater.

The 2017 winner will be chosen by a committee selected by the board members of Leah Ryan's FEWW, and will be presented her award as part of the 2017 Lily Awards, which honors the work of women in American theater.

 The winner will also receive a cash award of $2,500 as well as a staged reading of her play hosted by FEWW at a theater in New York City. In addition, a stipend of up to $700 for travel and accommodation may be provided by FEWW if necessary.

 We will begin accepting applications for this year’s prize on November 15th.
The deadline for submissions for the 2016 FEWW Prize is Monday, January 9th, 2017 at 5pm EST.

 Applications must include the following:
1. Ten pages excerpted from a fully developed, completed script. Please note: finalists will be required to submit the complete script to the FEWW;
2. A cover letter of no more than 300 words describing yourself and your work.
3. Your resume or a bio;
4. The name, address, email and phone number of one reference. This person should know you well and be able to speak about your work if called to do so.
Finalists will be contacted in early March and will have one week within which to submit their full play.


19.
BOGLIASCO FOUNDATION FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: January 15th
Website: http://www.bfny.org/en/apply

Bogliasco Fellowships are awarded to gifted individuals working in all the disciplines of the Arts and Humanities without regard to nationality, age, race, religion or gender.

To be eligible for the award of a Fellowship, applicants should demonstrate significant achievement in their disciplines, commensurate with their age and experience. Please note that Bogliasco Fellowships are not awarded to students currently in a degree-granting program. The Foundation gives preference to those whose applications suggest that they would be comfortable working in an intimate, international, multilingual community of scholars and artists.

The Foundation only accepts applications submitted through the online application system. To access the system, you must first register for an account here, where you will also find a list of requirements that we strongly encourage you to read before beginning your application. Once registered, you may login as needed to work on your application by clicking on the "login" button indicated to the left.

Bogliasco Fellowships include full room and board, plus the use of a private studio. The cost of transportation to and from the Bogliasco Study Center is the responsibility of Fellows and their accompanying spouses/partners. So also are all project materials and equipment, and any personal expenses incurred during the fellowship period, including medical expenses. Spouses/partners will be charged a daily fee of $25 to help defray the cost of meals and housing.

DEADLINES:

Deadlines for the submission of applications are as follows:

January 15th for residencies during the subsequent fall semester, and April 15th for residences during the subsequent spring semester.

Notification dates for the award of Fellowships are as follows:

April 1st for Fall Fellowships; July 1st for Spring Fellowships.