1. You’ve done writing for a lot of different mediums. Most NYM writers are really emerging and haven’t ventured into other fields. What would you say was the biggest surprise about writing for TV or Film?
The biggest surprise about tv writing, when I started, was how different it was. My first real tv job: 2003, in Los Angeles, I felt like I’d landed on another planet. Writers spoke a foreign language and behaved in ways I’d never encountered. I often ran to the bathroom, frantically calling friends to translate, or just to cry. Happily, I’ve had a much easier time since then, working in New York for amazing playwrights and showrunners Theresa Rebeck and Warren Leight. TV is a great way to make great money. And learn about story telling. And they feed you really well.
2. A lot of NYM writers come from the Playwriting Program at Ohio University, because that’s where Madness started as a concept. You had an unusual path through OU, how did that happen?
In the summer of 2001 Charles Smith, whom I’d never met, called, looking for a guest playwriting teacher. I happily landed the job, and arrived in Athens to teach grads and undergrads in, yes, September 2001. A month, of course, not to be forgotten. While there, my new pal (and student) Ian Mairs, gently yet firmly suggested I could use an MFA. I approached Charles, who kindly offered me a spot. I returned to Ohio University in September, 2002, as a grad student. My students, from the previous year, were now ahead of me, as classmates. I LOVED IT!!!!
3. What’s the best advice you can give about achieving longevity in the industry?
I have no idea. Do what you love. Make enough money. Don’t get (too) bitter. Keep your passion for theatre. Hope for the best.
4. What are the writing challenges you face now compared to what it was like when you first started, and what’s coming up next for you?
Challenges are the same: writing the next play, getting it produced. Writing the next play, getting it produced. Coming up next: a Sloan/EST commissioned play.