RIPP #1: MELISSA HILLMAN, IMPACT THEATRE

May 2nd, 2013 donnahoke

 

Explanation of RIPP, Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project here.

 

MELISSA HILLMAN, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, IMPACT THEATRE CO.

 

“I started on Twitter at the insistence of a few people in my company, especially Jax Steager and Reggie White, in 2010. I didn’t know what it was all about, so Jax introduced me to the theatre crowd there that gathers around the #2amt well, as well as #newplay.

 

The people there are great; the conversations are brilliant and inspiring. They’re the masters of inappropriate jokes, bad puns, support, advice. It’s a real community.  One of the people I connected with early on was a playwright named Monica Byrne. We developed an online friendship—joked with each other, argued with each other, encouraged each other. She was someone I ‘saw’ almost every day. I can’t remember if I asked her to send me a play or if she asked if she could send one, but she sent me a play. We rejected it. It wasn’t right for us at the time, but I loved her writing and told her so. She sent me another one. I fell in love with it and brought it to our annual season planning retreat. It’s opening our 2013-2014 season.

 

The moral of the story is this: Develop those connections. Yes, we would have read Monica’s plays whether I had had a personal connection with her or not, but would she have known about my company if we hadn’t ‘met’? Would she have known what kinds of plays we were looking for if she hadn’t been watching me talk about it on Twitter? Would she have lost heart at the first rejection and never sent another play if we didn’t have a personal connection? If we didn’t have a connection, I might not have personally contacted her to encourage her to send more work. I might never have even known she submitted until I got the rejection write-up from my literary manager, a long list of names, plays, and brief assessments. She would have been just another name on a list. So develop those connections! We’re out there looking for you!”

 

In a nutshell: These days, we have the tools and ability to network from wherever we are; use them. And if you’re not sure how, here’s a good place to start learning: http://www.suilebhan.com/2013/04/29/seven-steps-to-success-for-playwrights-on-twitter/

 

Next RIPP post Saturday!

 

Donna

 

 

Written by donnahoke

donnahoke

Dramatists Guild Council member and ensemble playwright-in-residence at Road Less Traveled Productions, Kilroys List and award-winning playwright Donna Hoke’s work has been seen in 40 states, and on five continents. Her full-length plays include ELEVATOR GIRL (2017 O’Neill finalist), THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Princess Grace semi-finalist, currently in its fourth year in rep in Romania), SEEDS (Artie award winner for Outstanding New Play), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (2016 Kilroys List, Winner HRC Showcase, Firehouse Festival of New American Plays); she’s also authored more than two dozen short plays that have had hundreds of productions. Donna is also a New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; author of Neko and the Twiggets, a children’s book; and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. For three consecutive years, she was named Buffalo’s Best Writer by Artvoice, the only woman to ever receive the designation.

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