Monday, 23 January 2012

How to Write a Good 10 Minute Play

I've been seeing a lot of competitions for 10 min plays lately, this especially seems to be popular in the United States.  So I came across this article from NYCPlaywrights (which is another great resource for playwrights by the way) on how to write a good 10 minute play. Perhaps you might find it useful...

Here are some highlights:

  • Does the play pull me in right away?
    There are only 10 minutes - the play has to pull you in right from the start.
  • Does the play surprise me?
    If the play is about something I've heard a hundred times already, I'll be bored. Or if it unfolds in predictable ways, I will be bored.
  • Does the play make me laugh or well up? Or both?
    Art must have an emotional impact.
  • Does the play have a dramatic struggle?
    People sitting around bickering is not a dramatic struggle. So many people don't seem to understand that.
  • Does the play have vivid characters in compelling situations?
    People sitting around bickering is not a compelling situation. Especially if the characters are called "man" and "woman." If the playwright can't be bothered to come up with a name for a character, it's usually a sign that the character is as generic as the label. This is especially true of a 10-minute play where you really don't have time for generic supporting characters.
  • Does the play show more than tell? "Show, don't tell" has been said a million times and yet maybe about 20% of all the people who write plays - including lionized, famous playwrights - seem to get this.
  • Does the play blow my mind through sheer funky originality?This is the Holy Grail of ten-minute plays. I've seen only a handful of ten-minute plays that have blown my mind.
  • There isn't much different here from good playwriting in general, but I think the point is that when you've only got ten minutes, you gotta make 'em count.

    See the full article HERE.

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