Bruce Graham is the author of thirteen published full length plays and has won numerous awards for several. His hilarious rendering of the ever-suffering Philly sports fanatic is brought to life in The Philly Fan and staged semi-continuously throughout the Philadelphia region. His film credits include Dunston Checks In, Anastasia, and Steal This Movie. He has penned TV movies, Hunt for the Unicorn Killer, The Christmas Secret, Ring of Endless Light, Right on Track, Tiger Cruise, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Trading Christmas, and Cedar Cove. He wrote for Roseanne, and as a staff writer for Hallmark’s Cedar Cove, and The Good Witch.
Graham began his career as a playwright at the Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays (PFT) in 1984 with Burkie, became playwright-in-residence at PFT, and later served two years as Artistic Director. A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he is an ex-high school teacher, and teaches playwriting and film courses at Drexel University.
Along with Michele Volansky, Graham wrote the book, The Collaborative Playwright: Practical Advice for Getting Your Play Written.
“The interaction between the ideas of the playwright and the know-how of the dramaturg is vital to the success of any production. But not every writer is accustomed to thinking like a dramaturg. The Collaborative Playwright changes that by offering a lively dialogue between a highly successful playwright, Bruce Graham, and an equally accomplished dramaturg, Michele Volansky, supported by hands-on exercises to get you thinking and writing in new ways.” http://bruce-graham.org/
Bruce Graham joins the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference again this year to share his expertise. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to know his secret. So, I asked. As expected, he had me laughing…
You have been successful in writing for the stage, film and television, what’s your secret?
I have no moral backbone whatsoever. Anything for a buck.
Why Philly? Can it be done from here? Again… the secret?!?!?
Yes, it can be done from here. But it’s a helluva lot easier from New York or LA. I always tell students to observe my career…then do the opposite.
What would you tell your younger self?
Never punch out a critic when there are witnesses. And never, repeat never, walk into a producer’s office and then make fun of the posters on his wall.
I’m always curious about other writers’ process and wondered about a story I’d read during the run of Graham’s play, Something Intangible. Theatre lore being what it is, I thought I’d remembered a description of Graham in quiet repose listening carefully for dialogue cadence for last minute script tweaks before opening night.
He explained, “That was probably the Philly Inquirer article written by Howie Shapiro for Something Intangible. He had a whole paragraph about me napping on the cot. Terry Nolen said I was “listening to the rhythms of the play. Actually I was sound asleep.”
I think it’s safe to say it’s going to be a fun workshop!