Naked Playwriting, 2nd edition Revised and Updated

The Art, the Craft, and the Life Laid Bare


266 pages
Silman-James Press
Categories: ,

Naked Playwriting includes all the critical elements needed to write a play: concept, character, dialogue, and story. It also includes chapters on Zoom plays, devised theater, copyright, agents, how to get produced, how to direct your own play, and playwrights working in Hollywood. This book has everything you need to master your craft and put your unique voice out into the world. 

William Missouri Downs has had hundreds of productions, from the Kennedy Center to San Diego Rep and all over the world. More than a dozen of his plays have been published. He has also written for several NBC sitcoms.

Robin Uriel Russin is a professor of screenwriting and playwriting at the University of California, Riverside. A Rhodes Scholar and WGA member, he has written, produced, and directed film, TV, and theater. His plays and films have been widely produced and distributed and have won awards at festivals around the world.

About William Missouri Downs

William Missouri Downs has written over twenty full-length plays and won numerous playwriting awards. He has twice been a finalist at the Eugene O’Neill (Mad Gravity and How To Steal A Picasso) Downs’s plays have been produced by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, The InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, The San Diego Rep, The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Salt Lake City Acting Company, the Actors Theatre of Charlotte, the International Theatre Festival in Israel, the Stadt Theater Walfischgasse in Austria, the Jewish Theatre of Toronto, The Bloomington Playwright’s Project, the Detroit Rep, the New York City Fringe Festival, the Durban Performing Arts Center in South Africa, the Daehakro Arts Theater in Seoul South Korea and over 150 other theaters worldwide. In Hollywood, he started as a script secretary on NBC’s Moonlighting (Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd), and worked his way up to staff writer on the sitcom My Two Dads (Paul Reiser). He also wrote episodes of Amen (Sherman Hemsley) and Fresh Prince Of Bel Air (Will Smith). In addition, he won the Jack Nicholson Award for screenwriting, sold a movie to Ron Howard’s Imagine Films and optioned another to Filmways. He is also a member of The Writers Guild (WGA). In addition he has directed over 40 plays and acted in 40 more. He has MFA in acting from University of Illinois and MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA. He was trained in playwriting at the Circle Rep in New York.

About Robin U. Russin

Robin U. Russin has written, produced, consulted and directed for numerous film, TV and theatre productions, including On Deadly Ground; America's Most Wanted; and Vital Signs on ABC, where he was Senior Producer. Among the plays he has directed are Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Charles Evered's Class, and Eric Barr's A Piece of My Mind. Many of his feature spec scripts have been either bought or put under option by both studio and independent producers, and he has been hired to write a number of adaptations and rewrites as well.

Among Russin's plays is Painted Eggs, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times as "ambitious, heart-felt and hypnotic," and The Face in the Reeds, which premiered in an extended run in Santa Monica, and is slated for production in New York. His original one-hour pilot script and bible about King David, Beloved, is now adapted and in production as Of Kings and Prophets on ABC. His stories, articles and reviews have been appeared in Script Magazine, Harvard Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The American Oxonian, Shofar, and elsewhere.

Russin is a Professor of Screenwriting at the University of California, Riverside, where he has served as director of the MFA program in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts.  A Rhodes Scholar, he holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford, Rhode Island School of Design, and UCLA, where he earned an MFA in screenwriting.

Naked Playwriting’s exploration of dramatic craft is comprehensive and up to the minute (devised theater, Zoom plays), filled with insights, examples, and insider tips. Best are its stripped-down “naked truths”—the essential elements that are found in good plays. It’s a necessary book for anyone thinking about writing a first play, and a terrific refresher for those of us playwrights who think we know it all.

Jeffrey Hatcher | Playwright, Compleat Female Stage Beauty

I’ve read many how-to books about playwriting but none have been as comprehensive as this one. Naked Playwriting provides the clear and concise tools anyone would need to translate their thoughts and ideas into a play. It then goes one step further by providing very solid and helpful guidelines on submission, development, and production. If you want to know anything about the process of contemporary playwriting in America, this is the book for you.

Charles Smith | Playwright in Residence, Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago

I’ve never read a more thoroughly entertaining book on “how to” write (and produce and market) a play! Downs and Russin are clear, confident, and absolutely right in this funny, down-to-earth, deceptively simple guide to the craft. It doesn’t get better than this. I’m recommending it to students and colleagues, and then taking some of its good advice for myself.

Kate Snodgrass | Artistic Director, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

Naked Playwriting will inspire the courage to bare the truth and core emotion of your soul. . . .  It conjures your voice onto the page and the stage. This edition not only guides your craft but also instills the relevancy and urgency of playwriting in today’s world. This book’s earlier edition has been my essential compass in the navigation of storytelling as a playwright and also as a screenwriter. This new, revised edition is even more essential.

Weiko Lin | Associate Professor, MFA Writing and Producing for Television, Loyola Marymount University


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