Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sally Jane Joins the MFA Blog


For starters, a big thanks to Tom and my fellow bloggers for allowing me to join their ranks. A little about me: I'm originally from Texas (Go Rangers!) and I received my MFA from Southampton College (formerly Long Island University, now SUNY Stony Brook). I'm a playwright/screenwriter, and since getting my MFA in 2004 I've taught English 101 at two community colleges, worked in various capacites for a non-profit childrens organization in East Harlem, produced/production-managed several Off and Off-Off-Off Broadway shows, been the theatre coordinator for the Southampton Writers Conference, had a couple of my short plays produced, and one published. Occasionally I get paid for these things, occasionally not.


So if you have any questions about life post-MFA or attending writers conferences or getting a play produced or about finding your way in a multi-genre program, I'm your girl. I can't wait to hear from you!

9 comments:

Sheila Lamb said...

Can't wait to hear more about the post-MFA life!

Sally Jane said...

Thanks Sheila!

WanderingTree (Sequoia N.) said...

Can't wait to hear more about your experiences, Sally! I have a bit of a theatre background as well (in San Francisco mostly). I was even the glorified coffee guy to the producer for the last revival of A Chorus Line. I really miss the more collaborative nature of playwriting.

Sally Jane said...

Thanks Sequoia! Yeah, one of the many things that I enjoy about playwriting (and what makes it so different from other genres) is that it really is a two-step process: 1) write it and 2) get it produced. A play isn't really a play without step 2. A novel is always a novel, but a play has to have an audience. It forces me as a writer to look at my art in a slightly different way.

Adam Atkinson said...

Great! Yes! More playwrights on the blog! I'm very curious about the MFA Playwriting experience, in general. Welcome aboard!

theaikenite said...

Hi Sally. I'm a thirty something gal who worked for a year on an MFA in SC and didn't finish. I got married and had four children. I started writing again about a year ago. It is going fine but I'll admit to being a bit lonely. I have thought of applying long distance just to reconnect with some other writers. However, the cost is hard to justify. I am interested in opinions on whether this would actually be beneficial to me or if I should just suck it up and keep writing and submitting.

Sally Jane said...

theaikenite: I'm a firm believer in surrounding yourself with writers. It is so beneficial. Granted, you have to surround yourself with the right kind of writers (people who like your work, who understand how to make comments in a constructive way), but once you find that support system it can be incredibly invigorating and inspirational.

If you don't want to finish up your MFA where you originally started, I would recommend looking into some low-res programs. Or you might try attending a writers conference as a means of getting your feet wet. I would personally recommend the Southampton Writers Conference (full disclosure: I work for them, so I'm biased). I've been attending for 7 years and it has definitely become my home away from home. No, it's not free, but I do believe it is worth it.

Feel free to comment more and ask more questions! I love answering them.

michael said...

Hi Sally, I'm a dabbler in all writing types and would love your help in finding multi-genre programs.
I graduated with a BFA in Dramatic Writing (concentration playwriting) from NYU, but definitely had a love/hate relationship with it. My greatest encouragement actually came from a Point-of-View Journalism class I took with the author James McBride, and also my TV classes. Meanwhile I've spent my year out of school so far pretty much just writing movie/play/tv reviews for various websites, but I feel a little unfulfilled.
Do you know of any respectable programs that can combine possibly becoming the next Augusten Burroughs, without losing that scripted/fictional element? Also not opposed to low res since I'm a little workshopped out. God I sound like a mess.... points for accuracy!

Sally Jane said...

Michael: Actually, I'm just about to write my next blog post about that very subject (stay tuned). In the meantime, I will blatantly plug my alma mater, Southampton College. They have a great MFA program that allows you (actually requires you) to take classes in a variety of genres. They also have a Manhattan track that allows you to take classes in Manhattan and then take the summer conference in Southampton. And if you want to study personal essay/creative non-fiction, then you HAVE TO take classes with Roger Rosenblatt and Matthew Klam. They are amazing. And for playwriting, I've taken classes with Marsha Norman, Emily Mann, and Jon Robin Baitz. Also amazing. So check out the website (www.stonybrook.edu/mfa) and if that doesn't float your boat then I'll help you investigate other programs as well. Keep the questions coming!