Want Me to Visit Your School or Writers Organization?
I have been to numerous schools and Thespian festivals as a guest artist, teaching workshops and helping students learn how to write plays. Want me to visit yours? I'm based in Los Angeles, California, but I love traveling and working with young people (and I'm happy to work with your adult writers group too!).
After you've read the FAQ below, feel free to contact me via email or call me (in the US) at 1-310-869-8985, Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 6 PM Pacific Time for more information. (In other words, that's between 1 PM and 9 PM if you're on the East Coast.)
Frequently Asked Questions
everything you need to know to plan a visit
Q: I'm a student and I want you to visit us, but I don't even know where to start. Whom do I talk to?
Usually the best way to start arranging a visit is to talk to a parent or your teacher, as there are issues of schedule and money to be worked out. But if you really want it to happen, don't just dump it in the lap of an adult--follow up with them from time to time, as busy schedules can make people forget.
Q: How long does a visit last?
A: A visit can last from as little as a day (or even a few hours if you're close to Los Angeles) to an extended residency of several weeks or even a month. It depends on your schedule and mine.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: I try to keep my fees as reasonable as possible, but when you're talking about having someone visit you from a distance, there are expenses. You'll need to provide transportation to your school (that might be an airplane ticket, or simply mileage if you're within driving distance of Los Angeles), hotel, a stipend to cover meals (or you can provide the meals themselves), rental car/transportation (assuming I'm not traveling with my own car), and a negotiable fee for my time.
A great way to defray expenses is to get local sponsors (e.g. a hotel might offer a free room for a program ad) or grants, or why not team up with another school or local group to share the visit? For example, two nearby schools might split a week's residency, allowing them to split airfare and other costs.
Q: My school is far away from Los Angeles. Is that a problem?
No problem at all. I'm happy to visit schools or theatres anywhere in the world (as well as in the United States, of course). Among my favorite travel destinations are Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Asia, and I'd be delighted for you to introduce me to a new favorite. While I do need to be paid for my time, if you're located in an especially desirable location, let's talk.
Q: What happens when you visit?
A: A lot of that is up to you. In the past I've done everything from provide basic instruction to drama classes on how to write plays to work one-on-one with student playwrights who are developing their own work. I've also been to schools where my work is being performed and sat in on rehearsals, talking to the student actors about my plays. I'm happy to do talkbacks with the audience after a performance, and to talk to local media as needed.
One of my favorite guest artist experiences was at a high school near Orlando, Florida, where they were premiering Gunplay, a trilogy of one-act plays about gun violence, in Thespian competition. During the school day, I talked to drama classes of various levels about playwriting, and then in the afternoon, I attended rehearsals. I was able to attend the final dress rehearsal and then went out to dinner with the cast and tech crew, which was a complete pleasure. I still keep in touch with the teacher who brought me there and recently returned to her new school to conduct playwriting workshops and work with the cast of their production of Thank You for Flushing My Head in the Toilet and other rarely used expressions, my play about bullying.
Click here to see photos of my visit to Idyllwild Arts Academy!
Q: Do you ever write new plays specifically for a school?
Yes. If you want to create a very special residency, something that the students will always remember, you can commission a play for your school to premiere. Just remember that writing a new play takes some time, so you need to plan ahead. Also, there will be a fee for the commission, and while you will have the right to stage the first production, I still own the play (this is standard for all commissioned plays).
Q: This all sounds great, but what if a visit is hard to work into our schedule or budget?
While an in-person visit is always the best option, it's not always possible. But there are alternatives. Skype or a similar videoconferencing service allows for multimedia communication (voice, computer chat and cam), so that I can work with your class or writers group virtually. It's the next best thing to having me there in person.
Want to learn more? Contact me via email or call (in the US) at 1-310-869-8985 from Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 6 PM Pacific Time.