→ Good Criticism Encourages More | Writers on Writing : Medium

Good Criticism Encourages More

My friend (colleague? fellow PlayGround writer? other local tall playwright dude?) Aaron Loeb outlines a fantastic approach to criticism in his article on Medium, based on the idea of assuming the writer you are a critiquing is a “master.”

He calls is the “assumed master” approach. So instead of pointing out things that just don’t work because you are so much better than the writer, instead you assume she’s an expert in her craft and that there’s something you need to talk out so you can understand. The idea being that when you explain what worked, the master will learn what’s going in her work and be encouraged to do more of that. And when you explain where you couldn’t figure out why the master did something, “well, she may find that helpful too”:

It is vital that anyone creative disabuse themselves of the notion that their “I just didn’t get it,” or “Nope. Didn’t work for me,” are so much richer and more meaningful than anyone else’s utterances of the same shitty things. When someone opens themselves for critique, you have an opportunity to elevate them and yourself, to open a door to incredible possibilities that weren’t there just moments earlier. What could possibly be better than that?

A great approach, and one that’s getting a lot of love on Medium. Check it out.

→ Business Model: The Next Frontier | The Clyde Fitch Report

Business Model: The Next Frontier

Scott Walters (The Prof) on The Clyde Fitch Report:

I did a search on “innovation” and “theatre.” Here is what I found….Three theatre history books and a 1972 design book. And therein lies the problem….Business is obsessed with innovation, with change, with finding the Next Big Thing. Most of the books I listed above are about encouraging creative disruption in your organization, trying new business models to sell your products. Theatre? Not so much.

→ Career Advice for Young Playwrights | Gwydion Suilebhan

Career Advice for Young Playwrights

A fantastic article by Gwydion Suilebhan, with this advice:

If you want to be a playwright, get a second career, too. With the same passion you pursue writing for the stage, pursue something else. Something more lucrative, something you like, something the world clearly wants more of. (Because that’s sometimes hard to see about theater.) Make it your second-favorite profession, if you must, but make it something you expect to do forever, or at least until (like me) the next career comes along.

→ An Interview with Owen Egerton | Read to Write

An Interview with Owen Egerton

My friend (and dude I used to do a ton of improv with), the Austin-based writer Owen Egerton, was interviewed on the Read to Write website. In the article, he expresses something I’ve often thought but never put into words, about how a background in improv helps with writing:

Improv and writing are wonderful bedfellows. Long before I revise, I must create! In that place — that hot cauldron of creating, that hunt for self-surprise — the revising mind is an enemy. That part of my mind questioning my choices, correcting my spelling or simply asking “what are you doing here?” — that part must be shut up if I’m to thrill the page. I leave the revising for tomorrow. It’s the same in improv comedy. In improv we train ourselves to say “yes” to the wild, untested, unwritten ideas. We do not stop to ask, is this the best idea? It is the idea! So we play with it, we build upon it. So when I write, I tap into this mode. I splatter my pages with messy ideas and fractured sentences and fantastic surprises!

→ Taking Charge of Our Own Evolution | Gwydion Suilebhan

Taking Charge of Our Own Evolution

Over on his blog, Gwydion Suilebhan calls for “a new theatrical ecosystem for the United States”:

We need to favor plays more than grant proposals. We need to favor audience engagement over ticket prices. We need to favor flexible development paths over fixed seasons. We need to favor experimentation with technology over defending our precious little version of our art form against change. In short, we need to re-do everything.