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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Doing Workshop

A great advantage to doing workshop production in the Twin Cities is the opportunity to see the wealth of acting talent we have "north of ordinary."

A lot of people I speak with like to say, "Diablo Cody wasn't born here or go to one of our renown colleges and universities." Brooke Busey went to college at the University of Iowa, "the writers' University" that has produced a number of great writers from Bi Feiyu to Robert Penn Warren and Ann Patchett among many others. But Cody did come to Minnesota to reach her artistic maturity as she pointed out at her Walker Art Center debut screening of JUNO.

Talent comes to the Twin Cities from all over the region and it is important that as an artistic community there are mechanisms for those talented and coming-of-age have the places to develop their craft and skills whether they be writers, producers and directors, actors working in collaboration.

The clear fact is if you wish to be a filmmaker or writer you just have to do it and see your scripts thru to completion. You have to keep working with others to make it happen.

And by that I do not mean, writing proposals, promoting your image, networking with the bigwig suits, writing ad copy or playing the ego-centric celebrity chasing game -- I mean working on and developing your vision, skills, and talent. I find it often shocking in many art schools today, that more emphasis is place on honing the "professional skills" and grooming their students for the world of foundation funding and grants writing and less specific classes in artistic development.

Over the last decades there have been those places where talent gathers like the Playwright's Horizons in New York, the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in the rockies, even those incubators of talent and ideas like Second City first in Chicago and then later in Toronto that have become a focal point for the emergence of new talent.

The best place to synthesis those skills is in a space where other artists of equal talent come together to share. Its called workshop. Workshop, for lack of better analogy, is the place after college and during everyday life to further incubate talent. It is a place where creative artists and performers possessing all different types of skills, varying aesthetic perspectives and high levels of passion come together to lend their skills and share a vision.

More important to the process of workshop collaboration is the experience of having to work with other talents and at reconciling differences in points of view. All too often, creative people get bound in and ego driven tunnel of self-obsession and stop listening, stop being open to new ideas and this leads to stagnation. It is not hard to see this even in some of our most talented filmmakers and they need to change gears and innovate.

We need to do our work here but also bring the highest level talent and new faces of cinema to Minnesota to work with us on our scripts, ideas, and vision. Next week, at the Guthrie Theater you will have an opportunity to see great local actors, new fresh faces in the national cinema and Minnesota producers, directors and script read in the Dowling Studio. If you are serious about film and storytelling in this medium you will participate.

"Discussing the script" above photo by Jon Wiley

2 comments:

Our Wildest Dreams said...

I'm looking forward to attending!!
-Susan

Our Wildest Dreams said...

Robb-

I want to tell you how great Tuscaloosa was at the screenwriters' workshop at the Guthrie. The dialogue was especially good. Actors Sam Rosen and Nicole Vicius were big standouts!

-Susan