Page 1





Seven Tips for Getting Your Play Published BY: THEATERFOLK

Research the Company We publish plays primarily for high school and middle school students to perform. If you have written a drama about angst and ennui at a Senior’s Centre, you’re wasting your time sending it to us. It could be the world’s greatest angst-ennui-Seniors-Centre play on the planet, bound for Broadway and the silver screen, but it just doesn’t fit with our mandate. Have a look around any publisher’s website to see what kind of stuff they publish. If you don’t see anything remotely similar to your play then it probably isn’t a good fit. Read the Submission Guidelines All publishers should have a set of submission guidelines posted on their website (ours are here). Read them; they’re meant to help you, they’re your best friend. Format is Important, Specific Format is Not This might be the number one question we get: “How should the play be formatted?” The answer for us is, “Any format, as long as it’s legible.” Stick with one simple font (Courier/Times/Arial are all fine, decorative fonts are not) and one color (black). Let the words themselves bring the color and excitement. Test the Play before Sending it to Us Get a friend to proof the script for typos. Get some friends together to read the play aloud. This will highlight all sorts of things you never considered when you wrote it in your head. Get your school to stage it, get other schools in your area to stage it. Get it up on its feet where it belongs. Have faith in your script before asking us to have faith in it. 5

Seven Tips for Getting Your Play Published CONTINUED… BY: THEATERFOLK

Write a Cover Letter Nothing fancy, just a quick note that briefly describes the play and establishing how you think it would fit with our catalogue. We have actually received email submissions with no note, just an attached script without an author name. Don’t Give Up If we turn your play down, don’t give up. We’re not saying that the play isn’t good, we’re just saying that it won’t work for us. There are dozens of publishers out there and we routinely see plays that we turn down end up in other publishers’ catalogues. Likewise, we have published many scripts that were rejected elsewhere. And if You’re Turned Down by Everybody? We are no longer in an age where publishers are the gateway to the world. Anybody can put up an inexpensive website to promote and sell their own script. Look at the way the music industry is evolving. We’re only a couple of years behind them.








Stylist: Ron Cooke Adrienne Landaue Photo Credit /Zsavita J. Banks

SYLVIA TRAYMORE MORRISON Have you ever seen Wendy Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Fantasia, First Lady Melania Trump, former First Lady Michelle Obama, Mo'Nique, Cher, Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick together in one evening's performance? Well, all you need to do is catch the Sylvia Traymore Morrison Show.

Stylist: Ron Cooke Photo Credit/Zsavita J. Banks

Comedienne/Impressionist Sylvia Traymore Morrison is America's first Black Female Impressionist in the history of this country. She is also the first Black female to write for Saturday Night Live. Her history spans over 5 decades of entertaining and she is still on the move! Her performances continue to receive standing ovations.


Sylvia was recently in Las Vegas at the "Mo'Nique Does Las Vegas" Show residency where she was introduced to the Oscar award winning actress. Mo'Nique broke down crying when she met Sylvia saying "Ms. Sylvia, thank you for knocking down doors so that I could do what I do!" It was an emotional evening. Monique invited her to share her residency stage that night and after a spectacular performance, the Oscar winner invited her back to perform the next night for two shows which prompted her to invite Sylvia back to Las Vegas in June. Mo'Nique was impressed all the way around! Sylvia did her first professional show at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC in 1969. She had been doing shows at peoples' houses for birthday parties, weddings, talent shows, school programs and cabarets that were popular during that time. She could hear things like certain bugs when she was a child and could mimic their sound. "I did not know I was an impressionist at that time." I didn't even know what an impressionist was.




When she started doing professional shows people started paying attention. It was during a trip to Europe to entertain the American Troops that Redd Foxx took an interest. He heard about her talents because of her involvement as a runner up in the Miss Black America pageant where she tied for first place with Bernadette Stanis, Thelma, from Good Times. "Mr. Foxx flew me to Los Angeles shortly after I arrived back to the states. He signed me to a contract the same day I met with his team. He is the only person in my entire career I ever signed a contract with. I didn't sign a contract when I hosted the Muhammad Ali Roast, replacing Richard Pryor at the legendary Apollo Theater, nor did I sign a contract with Whitney Houston when she took me on tour with her in over 20+ cities. I did not even sign a contract with Saturday Night Live. I was just happy to have the opportunity and no one else pressed it. For Sylvia's 50th anniversary, DCBX of Washington, DC is preparing a celebration in her honor. "I'm so excited about that. It's been quite a journey. I wrote an autobiography several years ago entitled "Almost There, Almost" and removed about 180 pages about the dark side of my career, but I've been told recently I should add them back. I think I'll do that!" Almost smiling the whole while, Sylvia has no idea when she might or if she ever will retire. "I absolutely love entertaining my audiences and look forward to each and every show I have. I'm very thankful for all of my opportunities. 12

SYLVIA TRAYMORE MORRISON Sylvia's second book, Jellybeans From Heaven, was inspired by Whitney Houston. It is a fictional piece that inspires and encourages. "I don't even know what made me write about something so awesome other than the fact that the story came to me while on stage talking about my Whitney Houston story." You can follow Sylvia on Instagram at sylviatmorrison, on Facebook at Sylvia Traymore Morrison and Twitter at sylviatmorrison.



Devising in the Drama Classroom

BY: THEATRE FOLK Definition What is the definition of devising theatre? What does it mean to devise a piece? “Creative theatre” is what I would call it. So, “devising” means you have an idea or the group has an idea and they create a piece. They decide where the story is going, and the group decides the form which is very important in the devising process. Then there is the step of creation This piece, in the end, needs to have structure. So, you need to say, “Okay. How are we going to start this piece? What order are the scenes going to follow? Are we going to have short scenes? Long scenes?” and really nail down the script in whatever way that comes out. 15

Rehearsals What are some tips for effective rehearsals of a devised piece? It’s very important to get everyone trained in a way to observe each other and to observe other groups because seeing how different groups or different people are working on their own pieces, will make the group have an aha moment. There are many more versions of how a devised piece can be studied but this process time and time again has proven successful‌


BY: THEATRE FOLK Spoken word is poetry that is meant to be performed for an audience, rather than just read on a page. Spoken word has a freedom to it. Spoken word poems can use alliteration, rhyme, repetition, slang and word play…but there aren’t specific rules or a certain format to follow. Spoken word poems don’t have to follow a certain meter or have a set number of lines. However, this doesn’t mean that that spoken word poems are wishy-washy. They are meant to be highly personal and full of emotion, opinion, and attitude – which makes spoken word so perfect for students to explore. It allows students the opportunity to share their thoughts, and provides a platform for them to do so. It also builds on important performance skills taught in the drama classroom, including memorization and rehearsal, vocal projection, enunciation, tone, gestures, facial expressions, and confidence.



So, let’s get students exploring spoken word poetry! Here’s an exercise that will help them develop a piece to be performed.

1. Start with a topic that evokes strong, personal feelings. This is not the medium to play it safe. Think in grandiose terms: my greatest success, my worst fear, my most hated experience, my biggest goal in life, the issue that I feel most strongly about. I am a huge fan of brainstorming – take 2 minutes and have students brainstorm a list of words or sentences about one of the topics listed above, or another topic of your choosing. Remind students that what they write is meant to be performed. If they aren’t comfortable sharing their thoughts on a certain topic, they should go in another direction with their topic. 2. Develop clear visual imagery around the topic. If your topic had a visual image, what would it be? What color is your topic? How does it look, feel, smell, taste? If your topic was a person, what would they be like? Have students create a mood board by cutting out imagery from magazines or printing photos off the internet to make a visual inspiration of their topic.


SPOKEN WORD CONTINUED… 3. How do these images translate verbally? Students will take their mood boards and brainstorm lists and use them to inspire their piece of spoken word poetry. On a new piece of paper, have students write the following words: • I see • I hear • I smell • I touch • I taste • I feel • I think • I wonder • I want • I am Students will then complete the sentences in relation to their topic. Once those ten sentences are complete, cross out the “I” and first verb, and voila – students have a whole series of imagery that can be sorted, re-arranged, and worked around to make their spoken word poem. 4. Practice and perform. Once students have their poems written, it’s time to practice and perform. All spoken word pieces must be memorized. In class, allow students to partner up and perform for each other as a practice round, before having students perform for the entire class. Remind students about the qualities of good performance: projection, enunciation, variety in tone, gesture, eye contact with the audience, and emotional expression. This is not a poetry recital, it’s a spoken word performance! 19


Quick story before we start speaking about ISO. When I began as a photographer, instead of reading up on Aperture, ISO, and the shutter speed, I just dived into shooting. Of course, I was in auto mode for most of the time or one of the presets they provided. I’d look at the pictures I’ve taken at the end of the day and say there’s something missing. I’d say to myself it’s not as sharp as I’d like or the blur wasn’t the way I envisioned. So with the being said I started to become a student of the game. I called

around, watched videos and read books & article that involved the art and skill of photography.



Last month we spoke about aperture and how it effects the exposure of your shot. This month we’re going to continue on the exposure triangle with ISO, which means International Standards Organization. (No lie, I had no idea what this meant until a couple of weeks ago - silly me right lol).

Prior to digital cameras, people would shoot with analog cameras and rolls of film. These rolls of film included numbers on them that would distinguish the ISO. Since the digital revolution or the digital age, DSLR cameras have made it much easier for photographers by introducing the ability to alternate our settings directly from our cameras, now we can adjust on the go. We can go from shooting while the sun is shining then walk in a building with horrible lighting and you would not be able to tell the difference in the Photos.


ISO brightens up or darkens a photo, high iso brightens the picture but it may also bring grain or noise to your picture. You would raise the ISO if your unable to brighten your picture via the shutter speed to aperture. This is definitely a game of give and take, you have to figure out what type of picture you like to see and get your settings to that. Remember we DO NOT want to be lazy photographers. Let's get out of auto mode and work our way to manual. Now the normal or standard setting for everyday use would be ISO 100, at this setting you will get the least amount of noise or grain. You should typical stay on this setting when you’re shooting weddings, portraits and most indoor events. Again this isn’t the


gospel, I implore you to learn your camera. Play with the exposure triangle settings to get your “perfect picture�. While typically you can shoot with your ISO at 100 indoors but again nothing is really absolute, there are some photographers who do not like to use their flash while at weddings and other indoor events.

The following are some conditions that can affect how you can choose an ISO, * If you have a moving subject and you want to freeze the motion for a still, then a higher ISO will allow for a faster shutter speed. 23

* If you’re shooting an image that doesn’t require a high aperture then you can use a lower ISO. * If you are shooting with a flash you can usually get away with a lower ISO setting. * If you plan to only show a small version of an image, such as on Instagram, you can get away with a higher ISO. Before I go I’ll say again play with the settings on your camera and master them as you go along. With that being said that is ISO in a nut shell. It has been an absolute pleasure! Thank you for allowing me to share and always remember NEVER STOP LEARNING! -EJ Instagram - @eazzysphotography Facebook - @eazzysphotography Email - Phone - 973-358-5083


Subscribe Today!



Profile for Pastoring Today