Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A total immersion script writing experience...

Last month we held our semi-annual MFA residency for the program I run in Writing for Stage and Screen out of the New Hampshire Institute of Art.  It was jammed-packed with classes, one-on-one sessions with students and faculty and table readings of the eleven full-length plays and screenplays that students had written during the fall semester.

A large group of professional actors and other theatre and film professionals joined us for the readings and the lengthy feedback sessions that followed each of them.  

By all accounts, this was an extraordinary time for all involved.  We--students, faculty, and all the other artists who were a part of the residency--were given the special opportunity to live and breath our art, to celebrate what we do and to share new work in a total immersion experience.  All students in the program left the residency stimulated and charged to begin work on their new projects for the spring semester with their assigned mentors.  Our team of professionals who serve on our faculty and as guest artists were also recharged.  Everyone was energized and reminded of why we are in this business in the first place--to create good stories that have something meaningful to offer the world.    

The over-arching goal of our MFA program is for every student to explore and develop his or her own writing process--taking an initial idea and developing it through the many phases of creating a viable script, including finding the structural underpinnings, exploring characters and backstory, inventing a workable plot outline, and writing a working draft that is then given first voice by actors. And developing this process--a process that is continually refined over the creation of several scripts as each student develops a body of work--is the key to mastering the craft of writing for the stage and screen.

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I'm the Program Director of the low-residency MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen being offered by the New Hampshire Institute of Art.  Our next residency runs June 19-28, 2015 and we are currently accepting applications for starting the program in June.   I'm also a playwright and screenwriter, producing partner in my production company Either/Or Films (The Sensation of Sight and Only Daughter), and a professional script consultant.

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