Jonathan Dorf reports:
"Finishing a first draft of a play is great. But it's like building a house. If you tried to sell that 'first draft' house, buyers would wonder why you're selling a house without wiring, plumbing, coverings on the walls ... you get the idea. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you only get one shot to sell them the house, so wait until it's absolutely ready...Often, the play you start writing isn't the one you finish writing; it takes the process of writing the play to figure out what the play is really about. Then, the job becomes to make the beginning, when you didn't know what you were writing about, more like the ending, when you did know. I call that process 'recentering.' So you spell-check, you proof, you clarify, you recenter, you polish—you've done all you can on your own. Now you need help. You're ready for a reading. To hold one, all you need are a bunch of actors, chairs and a room. While you may be able to get scripts to the actors ahead of time, it will probably be a cold (unrehearsed) reading. It's nice to have a few audience members, people who are committed to your work and whose opinions you trust. Your objective: to listen to the play. Hearing it aloud is a great way to know if the dialogue works and to get a sense of the play's rhythm. You may wish to hold a brief discussion afterward...A few rules to make the discussion more useful:
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