I just put together my application for the P73 Playwriting Fellowship-- a highly generous award sponsored by Page 73 Productions in NYC.
I wanted to post part of my response to the application, because I know that it's already motivated a couple of close friends in a really cool way. And plus, I think it's a really cool window into what I do and how I do it.
This was their question:
Describe your professional goals and artistic challenges. How do you think the P73 Playwriting Fellowship could help you attain those goals and meet those challenges?
Like with everything I do-- I try to answer in a way that was fun and unique to me. So I offered them this:
It's a commitment to myself to find a new way to express my professional and artistic goals every time someone asks me about them (because it keeps me honest and it keeps me thinking about my work).
With that in mind, I offer you a list that I hope to continue to add onto until a new person asks me about my goals again. I call this list, "73P". It is my expectation that the P73 Fellowship will help me attain every single one of the 73 Passions listed below.
1. To have as many people as possible see the plays I write.
2. To make these people go home and have a dream about my play that changes their life.
3. To always stay hungry no matter what.
4. To make a living by writing plays by the time I reach 35 years old.
5. To not get a regular job until I absolutely have to.
6. To always be asking questions.
7. To always be the best listener in the room.
8. To write plays so freaking amazing that people feel like they HAVE to work on them or else they'll die.
9. To write characters so compelling and honest that actors would beat each other to play them.
10. To run as fast as I can straight at my fears.
11. To meet, work with, and learn from the most profound people imaginable.
12. To never be scared of falling in love because love is the place where my best work comes from.
13. To have people recognize my name and immediately know that when they see it attached to a project, they can expect to be challenged, captivated, and confronted by a high-quality, imaginative, purposeful, and theatrical live event.
14. To always have fun while working.
15. To always push against the edge of expectation until it topples over and something new and incredible busts out of the broken pieces.
17. To always be able to buy a round of beers after a good night's work.
18. To actively seek out and embrace the I Don't Know.
19. To be proud of every production that I work on.
20. To model ways in which a playwright can successfully collaborate with others.
21. To shift the expectation of how a playwright interacts with their text.
22. To believe in everyone I work with as fully as possible.
23. To blow the lid off the roof constantly.
24. To tirelessly create and evaluate new goals.
25. To recognize the poison of sentimentality in my work and apply the leeches as fast as I can.
26. To be part of a theatre culture that eloquently and urgently expresses the need to develop and produce new plays.
27. To not be scared of what my family might think of my work but honest enough with myself to know that I really want them to be proud of me.
28. To always be learning.
29. To continually ask, "how can that be more theatrical?"
30. To write plays that people feel deep down in their bones.
31. To destroy sarcasm.
32. To create plays that feel a little bit like wild animals.
33. To stay in awe of how the world works.
34. To stay in awe of how amazing humans are.
35. To breathe more deeply.
36. To never compromise my work EVER.
37. To stay off-balance as much as possible.
38. To write every day no matter what.
39. To never be scared of failing, but in fact risk everything all of the time.
40. To travel around the world with my work.
41. To have people know that when they work with me, it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of their life.
42. To not be scared of the dark places, but in fact to fall in love with them a little bit.
43. To not be afraid of cutting myself and bleeding to death.
44. To stay humble.
45. To see the big picture and the small details out of each eye.
46. To have an elephant in every play that I write.
47. To have each play that I write be better than the last one I wrote.
48. To stretch every day.
49. To make people walk out of my plays thinking a lot about their life and what it means to be a flawed and beautiful human.
50. To find new ways to put words on a page.
51. To never have to worry about money.
52. To be as honest as possible, especially when vibrating inside the truth seems like the worst idea of all time.
53. To surround myself with people who will kick my ass.
55. To know that sometimes thinking too much is my enemy.
56. To pay close attention to my dreams.
57. To explode the idea of what a play is or can be.
58. To write a play that gets someone pregnant.
59. To be constantly flattened by other people's work.
60. To take the best care I can with the people I work with
61. To make my plays feel like a jook joint.
62. To have my collaborators not have to worry about a low balance on their metro cards.
63. To always be able to identify and obtain the best materials and resources possible.
64. To be capable of both long-term planning and of being intensely in the moment.
65. To write plays that win the kinds of awards that I believe in.
66. To make my characters do things that are amazing and scary and unforgettable.
67. To invite as many people to the party and as often as possible.
68. To give every community in the world an opportunity to experience my work.
69. To give myself an opportunity to experience every community in the world.
70. To make people fall in love with their imaginations.
71. To write plays that taste like a Keg Stand.
72. To always remember that I'm writing for at least three-dimensions.
73. To write plays that live hundreds of years longer than me............................
I hope they dig it. If not, it was really helpful for me to think through all 73 of those things. I actually had a few more than I needed-- I ended up writing about 85-90 Passions. But I had to cut it down, and passions such as "to have lots of mind-blowing sex" and "to take a bullet for a friend" unfortunately didn't quite make the final cut.