Playscripts playwright Elizabeth Meriwether is busy writing and producing New Girl, but hasn't forgotten her playwriting roots.
Are you working on any plays at the moment?
I'm not! I'm currently writing and producing Season Two of the TV show that I created, New Girl. I'd love to work on a new play in the future.
What are the differences among writing for TV, theater and film?
In my experience, writing for TV and film means putting more emphasis on the plot. In the theater, dialogue can be the story-- the way that characters talk to each other can be an event in the theater. In TV and film, more things have to "happen". You can feel it if the plot slows down or stops moving forward on screen.
Who helped you along the way, as far as your playwriting career?
Many many people. Toni Dorfman was my professor at college who inspired me to write plays. The director Shira Milikowsky directed my first play in New York. The director Alex Timbers asked me to write a play for his theater company that became Heddatron. Kim Rosenstock, who was working at Ars Nova, got me my first public reading. (She now writes on my TV show!) Evan Cabnet directed two of my plays in New York. Jenny Gersten produced my first professional production and got me to write television as well. Marsha Norman and Chris Durang taught me at Juilliard. I also had internships at Playwrights Horizons and New Dramatists that really introduced me to a lot of people and taught me a lot about the New York theater world.
Any tips for aspiring cross medium dramatists?
Every writer should try to write cross medium-- you don't know what you can do until you try it. If you've never written TV and film before, try to get your hands on some scripts-- read as many screenplays and teleplays as you can. They're fascinating and also much less intimidating than watching the finished product. Seeing it on the page you might be surprised by how familiar it feels-- I could never watch a movie and think: I can do that, but I felt like I could get my mind around writing a screenplay once I saw it on the page.
Did you ever act in or write a play in high school?
Yes, but what happens in high school should stay in high school...
-- Elizabeth Meriwether
Other Elizabeth Meriwether plays published by Playscripts, Inc. include Heddatron, Poor Bob, Particle Board, Nicky Goes Goth, and Oliver Parker! Playscripts, Inc. is also proud to publish Elizabeth Meriwether: Collected Short Plays.