“Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is, but it is gonna be great!” – Tony, West Side Story
It’s a new decade. 2020.
We find ourselves here, in the present moment. For me, and perhaps for many of us, it looks different from what we expected. The state of our industry, our country, and the world, are suddenly different. How’d that happen?
I know we all look toward 2020, and the new decade in general, to be something bigger. And better!
Where are you now, as a writer, as an artist, as a person? Where are we as a country, as a republic, as a democracy?
The second question may be out of our hands, beside our participation in the upcoming elections. But the answer to the first and more important question lies totally within yourself.
How Big Can You Be?
I’m challenging myself to be bigger this year, to set bigger goals and step up to the plate more often. I know that my mission in this life is to create theater – theater that expresses where we are at this point in history. When I teach theater to college students, I like to point out that although our discussions center around a play, we’re really looking at a piece of history reflected through an individual writer’s perspective. When we study a play, it’s a reflection of one individual’s viewpoint of what’s happening around them during that point in time.
Therefore, while studying dramatic literature, my students get immersed in the study of history as well. And they love it.
Many of us find it fascinating to study history through personal stories. You and I, by writing and producing plays and new musicals, are creating the theatrical canon of the 21st century.
I think that’s BIG.
My personal 2020 challenge is to help you put more of your stories on stage. Your challenge is to write the best plays possible that reflect the experience of living in this time, in this culture, at the beginning of this new millennia. And when those stories aren’t produced or published, they disappear.
So, how big can you be? Another Chekhov, Kushner, Sondheim, or Miranda? Why not?
Believe in Yourself
No one does theater because they think they’re going to get rich. And if that’s what you think, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
You write stories, musicals and screenplays because you believe you have something important to say, to contribute, to the culture. You need to express your own perspective in your own way. And it gives you joy like nothing else when it works, when people stand and applaud your work.
When you know that your play changed something or someone, that makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it? My favorite example is Jessica Blank and Erik Jenson’s Off-Broadway play The Exonerated, a play about six people who were exonerated after years on death row for a crime they did not commit. After watching a “command performance” in the Senate days before the final vote, the Supreme Court overruled the death penalty in the state of Illinois.
It doesn’t get any bigger than that. Yep, a piece of theater saved people from death and changed government policy.
Believe that your gift of storytelling can change lives and impact this world for the better.
It Takes a Village
Our plays are very much our children. Like our children, it takes a village to make them grow.
Your village are your connections, your theatrical friends and supporters who have nurtured you and encouraged your work all along. And it’s also the new people you’re meeting all the time, through your networking, pitching, and writers’ groups and classes.
I challenge you to go bigger this year – network more, submit more, learn more, write more. And don’t let the money blues, or the not enough time blues, get you down. Know that at a certain point it really is a numbers game, and if you keep at it you’re improving your odds all the time.
Just keep showing up.
Your real enemy is your own insecurity, your own sense of lack, your own depression or even despair. Sometimes it’s so damn difficult to keep submitting, to keep smiling, to keep trying. Despite yourself, you are tempted to agree that theater is too hard right now to do.
That’s when you need to lean on people who truly know you and like your work – your Village. People who are in the same place and understand the struggle.
And by the way, a village isn’t a town or a city. They’re too big. Some online theater sites feel like cities, so crowded and big. You want people to know you, who want to journey alongside you as you move your work forward. A village is your small group, your peers, your peeps.
CreateTheater is a Village
I’ve envisioned my CreateTheater.com community as a village where people can connect online, take classes online, and network online, to make meaningful ties with other writers and theater industry pros who are part of my theater community in NYC. It’s a village, not a city.
But if you’re a person who likes that “small town” feeling of knowing others and being known, then subscribe to our newsletter. Join in our community and take free classes that will come with the membership opening soon. Meet people along the way who are dreaming as big as you are.
I’m planning more for you coming soon.
Make friends in the industry online. Join the CreateTheater village.
“Cate Cammarata is an excellent coach who has helped and encouraged me every
step of the way, since I first worked with her, when she was the dramaturg for the
developmental reading of my show, CRUDE-The Musical, at the 2016 New York
Musical Festival. This past year, CRUDE-The Climate Change Musical premiered at the Cape Cod
Theatre Company, Oct. 10 – Nov. 10, 2019. The show ran for five weeks, with 17
performances, and generated great publicity. I can’t thank Cate enough for her
expert coaching, over the past 3 years, as I worked to improve the arc of the script.
She’s taught me so much about the industry, about producing and about networking.
Cate has also helped me with specific networking opportunities.
I highly recommend Cate Cammarata as a fine coach for any writer looking to
succeed in the theater industry.
— Maureen Condon, Playwright & Composer
“I believe a Mastermind group is essential – for the support, ideas generated, the encouragement, the accountability, the important friendships formed and for a sense of belonging in the theater, whether or not we’ve been produced. Cate’s Mastermind, in particular, is extremely helpful. Cate knows her stuff and gently pushes us forward, stepping in to help when needed. She is passionate about getting work onto a stage. She makes you believe it’s not “if” but “when”.”
— Jarlath Barsanti Jacobs, Playwright