“the purest, finest poet of the stage that Los Angeles has produced in this generation.” Robert Kohler, LA Times
The practice of writing, the philosophy is, Firstly, a resistance to formulas and solutions. Writing and art pose questions, and if the mystery leaves the work, leaves the process, then usually, the work has died. Institutional forces demand standardized steps and conditions in their creative writing programs … because the institution knows, deep down, that art is there to destroy it. Even the word “creative” is probably suspect, but such are the conditions under which writing is taught. It is an intuitive and unconscious process, and even if done, for some film work, in partnership – it is still solitary.
One cannot write outlines and then follow them. This is what CPAs do, or insurance salesmen preparing their district conference sales quota speech. If one were to know where a narrative was going, one would have a stillborn project on one’s hands. The play or screenplay has within its narrative, an idea of itself. Narrative provides a space for character. The truth of a character is at once indelible and totally opaque. This idea is the reason, I suspect, we have art at all.
Art is not about communication, nor is it about moral instruction. It is about awakening. But it is also a discipline, and a practice. Those Neanderthal cave paintings, found in places where only one person might see them, at a time, is worth keeping in mind, at least when audience questions arise. You don’t write for an audience. Nor do you write for yourself. That is the paradox and the riddle.
Being able to recognize the truthful from kitsch is the basic foundation for starting on having a practice.
Teaching is not solving anything, it is being a guide, one more familiar with the territory, with the lethal plant life or scorpions. That is all. But that is a lot, and it provides the pre-conditions for identifying the hackneyed and dishonest and clichéd. Narrative is how we order our lives, and our experience of the world. Our history, lineage and society. Narrative can be almost anything, but it has to be yours.
Script & Play dramaturgy, mentoring available.
In depth analysis and consultation. The goal is to develop the writer and not the product. The artwork improves if the writer grows and develops. There is a process and not a recipe. The process is by necessity ongoing, and not a simple set of notes. Each work is unique, and demands it own specific dynamic and dramaturgical approach and length of time.
In other words, each writer has his or her own needs.
If interested please submit the work in-progress (even if very partial or only an opening). Sometimes all one has is an idea. Submit that idea if you like.
Or if a finished first draft, submit that.
Contact me if you have questions, and for rates.
There will be several on-line workshops each year. Announcements will be posted on the blog.
There will be one or two in person workshops each year. Dates and times to be announced. Contact me if you have questions and for rates.