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Scene from The Flick
The Flick

It Isn’t Until It Is

Often in this business, producers are attracted to trends; the cool thing, the hot new property. Like a moth to flame, the crowds run from one hot thing to another.  The writers look at what’s been playing and start to think about what they might create that’s similar to the last Tony winner, or the last Pulitzer winner.

They forget that it isn’t until it is. What was cool last year might be hot now and what is hot now will eventually cool off as entropy takes over. It’s also true, that it is, until it isn’t.

Who would have guessed Annie Baker’s The Flick would have won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama? The play’s initial opening at Playwright’s Horizons had subscribers walking out and prompted an apology from the company. Now, it wins the Pulitzer. It isn’t until it is.

This is a very direct lesson and should serve as a punch in the gut for those who are straining to find something that’s as close to the last prize winner or current box-office smash as they can find, or to the screenwriter, playwright or novelist who seeks to increase her chances by mimicking 12 Years A Slave, The Flick or The Silver Linings Playbook.  Write from your heart, discover your voice and write with passion. Remember, it isn’t until it is.

Lowell Williams

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