Top 10 Tips on Finding a Writer

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Anticipation, I love it, can’t wait….just want it to be now.  Well, we are pre-festival season.

I’d like to start talking about what I feel is important in the various roles for you to hire for your next production!

First, though, I can’t wait, next spring…..Guardians of the Galaxy 2!

My top 10

  1. Go see a writers work, especially in the medium you wish to have it performed.
  2. Do they do what they say they will do? This is important if you’ve got a tight time line. If they say they will get back to you by such and such a date and they don’t. It maybe the early warning sign you may not get what you need.
  3. Agree what your needs and wants on the project are with them. Do this face to face and see if you can agree a way of working on the project. This is good so you can get a feel for them, in person, and if they are flexible to your needs and theirs.
  4. Talk through how many revisions you expect from them. Do this up front, do not leave this till later.  Vague boundaries around timelines and revisions have led to many arguments about what each party thinks.  Write it down and send copies to all parties involved.
  5. Agree the rights of use on the script and for how long
  6. Are they showing a passion or strong interest in your project? If they don’t, then don’t be surprised that your project could get shelved for another more interesting one.
  7. Fees – make sure you talk about this before any word is written. What they expect and what you can afford? If nothing, then agree what that looks like as well – have something to offer in exchange. Put it in writing.
  8. Rehearsals – Personally, I don’t like having the writer sit in on rehearsals other than a few at the beginning and at the end.  It can be hard sometimes for writers to see their work in a manner which isn’t the way they expect. Therefore, they can cause a lot of unnecessary tension between performers/director and writer. So, find out how they work.  I’ve had many say they love it when they see the actors/director bring a new life to their piece. I still keep the access limited
  9. Do they write for others? or mainly their own projects? This is good to know, as some writers are better than others at writing for others.
  10. Are they willing to make practical changes to a script? For example: time limits, word length, etc.  It’s crutical you are clear at what your absolutes are.  If you need a one person show with a length of 45mins, limited props and scenery. You can say that up front. If they aren’t able to stick to that – walk away and find someone else

Summary

When I produce other people’s pieces I look for all these things in a writer.  I’m not keen to have my director be the writer, as a writer can often find it hard to let go of the script they hear in their head. This can be a problem when they are the director as well. They may not be as objective, as someone who hasn’t written their own material.

I always try to make sure I have these two roles done by others- and not me either!

For some more of my guidelines on roles in production, check out my other blog here!

Please tell me what you look for in your writers?

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