Get to Know The Writers Group
If you're interested in meeting the wide variety of writers who are part of NYWIFT, joining The Writers Group is a fabulous way to do that. The group was founded almost ten years ago, and keeps its members busy working on seven different programs throughout the year designed to showcase and perfect their creative work.
Kathryn Bild, who took over as chair a year and a half ago, is one heck of a multi-hyphenate: writer, singer-songwriter, director, acting coach and Grammy Award-winning video producer. She is author of the books Acting From a Spiritual Perspective, The Actors Quotation Book, Uncle Ethel and Miss Madeline Goes Shopping. She also writes the online column You Go, Girl — Shouts From a Cosmic Cheerleader.
Recently, Bild discussed the group with Janet Stilson, NYWIFT VP of Special Events, in an online exchange. Their e-conversation follows.
How long have you been a member of The Writers Group, and what do you get out of it?
Let's see. I was a member of Women in Film in L.A. for about five years, before I moved to New York in 1998 and transferred my membership to NYWIFT. Then, in 2000, a few of us who were writers in NYWIFT, led by Esther Krivda, started The Writers Group. I'm one of the founding members.
The opportunity that I enjoyed most before I took over as director was the Theatrical Readings, which features works in progress. The Group rents a theater for the night and four or five members take turns reading, or having actors read, a scene from their work. This is an activity we keep going today.
It's one of our most successful and fun and rewarding events. You see and hear your work come to life and experience how it's received in a real theatre. It's very empowering for the writer. And it's all done among, and in the company of, other writers. Very cool.
Now that I am the director, I find my rewards are broader and deeper. I get to direct the development of additional activities, each voted on by group members, and each led by its own committee chairperson. This rounds out the structure and purpose of the group as an entity, and benefits its members, as well as members of the public, in a variety of ways.
What other activities does The Writers Group do?
In a nutshell, the group sponsors seven activities/events. In addition to the theatrical readings, there is a Spring brunch; a lecture/conversation series featuring successful writers, directors and producers, as well as instructional workshops.
We also have the Writers Lab, in which members get together to share their work. And there are round table readings of screenplays, directed by NYWIFT directors, from which one screenplay is selected each year for a fully-staged theatrical reading. We also have a program we call Getting Our Work Seen, in which work is sent for review to NYWIFT producers.
Some of these seven programs are up and fully running, and some are still developing.
Do I need to be a member to have my work considered for any of these programs?
You do. The public is invited, for an admission fee, to both the lecture/conversation series and the instructional workshops, but to participate in the Theatrical Readings, The Writers Lab, The Round Table Readings, Getting Our Work Seen and our fabulous brunch, you must be a member of The Writers Group. If you're a member of NYWIFT, you may join The Writers Group at your discretion. All NYWIFT members are welcome.
Once one is a member, is there any kind of vetting process for getting one's work selected to be read or shown?
Some programs are first come, first served; some have selection committees. The Writers Lab is open to all members.
What kinds of things do the members of the seven committees do, and how much time does it take to participate?
We meet quarterly in the NYWIFT conference room. I encourage everyone who joins The Writers Group to join a committee. It's a good way to meet other writers and the best way to benefit from the activities and events offered. Plus, we need the help! The Writers Group is trying to offer its members some very valuable opportunities, and it takes some time and effort to really make this fly in a way that is really useful, that we are proud of, and that is worthy of NYWIFT.
If you are a member of NYWIFT and would like to join The Writer's Group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Last updated: Apr. 26, 2012