How to find a great writer for your great idea.

If you’re reading my blog, then I’ll bet a union health payment that you don’t have one single idea for a show.

I’d bet that you’ve got a “shit ton” of ideas for shows.

(Sorry for the language, but I heard a guy use that expression at a Shell Station in Austin, and I just can’t stop saying it).

So what do you do with your ST of ideas?

If you don’t consider yourself a writer, then you gotta find one, because leaving all those great ideas idle on a shelf is a sin.

But how do you find a writer for your play or musical (or television show or novel or whatever)?

Here are three fishing holes I visit when I’ve got an idea that I want executed:

1.  Agents

Almost all established writers are repped by one of just a few agencies.  And a lot of the younger, more promising writers get sucked up by the same agents very early in their career, regardless of whether they’ve had any success. Reach out to the literary agents in town, forge a relationship, and ask who they would recommend for a job.  If you do reach out to an agency, don’t be surprised if you can’t get a top agent on the phone.  Work the assistant.  Find out if they have writers that are looking for ideas, commissions, etc.  Take the assistant to lunch.  Come on, you can do it.  You’re a producer.  Act like one.

2.  Festivals

Festivals are like Whole Foods for Writers.  They’ve got everything.  Whether there are 10 plays, 100 plays, or 1000 plays in a festival, you can bet there are writers of all shapes, styles and interests.  Sample as many shows as you can, looking for someone who has the talent and the sensibility that you are looking for.  And hey, if they’re working in a festival, I’d go double or nothing on that health payment that they are passionate and a hard worker.  And that’s the kind of writer you want and need.

3.  Friends

Put yourself in a circle of artists that have similar sensibilities, and ask them for recommendations.  Not only will you get recommendations of talented individuals, but your friends and associates will be able to give you some insight into whether or not the two of you will get along.  You’re going to be birthing a baby together . . . and if it was your idea, then that writer is acting like a surrogate . . . so you want to make sure you understand each other and can go through this difficult (and at times painful) process together.

Great writers are hard to find.  And great writers that are also passionate about the same subjects you are passionate about are even harder to find.

But they are out there.

Sometimes it just takes a ‘shit ton’ of work to find the ‘write’ one.

What do you do when you find that perfect writer?  Do you commission?  Do you collaborate?

More on that tomorrow.

  • Rachel says:

    I am an aspiring librettist/lyricist looking for a composer with whom to collaborate. Any tips for finding one?

  • Jerry F. says:

    Not sure what part of the globe you’re in, but the Academy for New Musical Theater has as “Shit Ton” of resources for all kinds of writers. Check ’em out at

  • Michael DiGaetano says:

    Gee, Ken (Gee? Who am I, The Beaver?). You should experiment by having an occassional mixer to bring writers, composers, producers with ideas, people with money, etc. together. The Dramatist Guild does it on occasion, although not nearly enough. Your gathering was quite successful over Christmas and it was a great way to meet others with like interests. And you wouldnt even have to give away a kindle!
    Michael DiGaetano

  • Dan Steele says:

    As a native Texan, I appreciate (maybe even laud) the use of “shit ton” here!

  • hey racheal am a writer in need of a producer do you know any?i think you can be one.remember am in Africa and my scripts are on the international level as some people have seen them and said so,mostly from the British Council

  • Gleisis Santos says:

    HI there!
    My name is Gleisis Santos and I have a really good idea for a musical. However, I don’t know how to write it. I started but i dont think I can make it. Please do you know how I can find agencies, writers and everything I need to finish this musical. I really really need help. I’ve got the whole idea for it from the very begining to the end. I have no idea how to get writers. Is there any recommendations or do you know how I can find these people?

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