Meet the Teaching Artist: Writing Dialogue for Screen and Stage with Brysen Boyd
by Writing Workshops Staff
3 weeks ago
We are thrilled to welcome Brysen Boyd, a renowned playwright, TV writer, and essayist hailing from Tacoma, WA. Brysen is teaching an exciting new 6-week Zoom workshop titled Writing Dialogue for Screen and Stage that starts soon.
Leveraging a rich background that includes a stint on the writing staff of HBO's critically acclaimed series SUCCESSION—a role created expressly for him—Boyd is uniquely positioned to guide aspiring writers in honing their dialogue writing skills for both stage and screen.
Brysen's journey as the 2023 Artist-in-Residence at the prestigious Williamstown Theater Festival and as the inaugural Playwright-in-Residence at Reverie Theater Company stands testimony to his expansive and deep-rooted understanding of the industry. Boyd, a proud member of the Youngblood/Ensemble Studio Theater, aims to arm students with the foundational skills required to craft riveting dialogues, a pivotal element in scriptwriting.
Drawing upon quintessential works from notable playwrights and scenes from seminal TV shows, he plans to nurture a vibrant learning ground where students can blend the rich textures of playwriting into screenwriting and vice versa, helping them emerge with ten-minute plays or short film scripts they can take pride in. This course is set to be a fulcrum where the essential aspects of scriptwriting are unraveled, making it an unmissable opportunity for both seasoned and budding writers.
Hi, Brysen. Please introduce yourself to our audience.
Hi! My name is Brysen Boyd and I am a writer originally from Tacoma, WA, but based in NYC now. I write TV (SUCCESSION), plays (Kennedy Center, Ensemble Studio Theater, others), and creative nonfiction (Florida Review, Columbia University, Orca Lit). I have two wiener dogs named Simon and Alvin, who I love dearly.
What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft?
After years of being a playwright and then working on a very intense show, I realized how different scripts need to be based on what medium they are intended for. This course is born out of first wanting to create a generative space where writers can start new plays and screen projects, but also so that we can learn the differences in writing the two. The two forms help each other in so many ways, but are so different at the same time.
Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?
Students can expect to walk away with at least one short play, a short screenplay and then an option of another play or screenplay. This is a generative course! Where you will be workshopping three times in the span of six weeks. The short pieces also need not stay that way--the hope is that when you're walking away from the course you have started something new that you can expand into a full length piece.
What was your first literary crush?
As a kid I watched much more HBO than I should have, so I'd say Alan Ball and Michael Patrick King are idols of mine.
What are you currently reading?
I'm reading The Art of Cruelty by Maggie Nelson! I am also constantly thinking about a play by Mona Pirnot called "I love you so much I could die."
How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?
I am constantly switching between projects. Because I write prose and plays/TV, it allows me to switch back and forth whenever a certain project becomes my fixation. On any given writing day, sans deadlines, I will start with a play in the morning--run into writer's block--and switch to the new nonfiction book I am writing.
Where do you find inspiration?
A great deal of my inspiration comes from music. When that doesn't work, I love going to various writing prompts to help jumpstart things.
What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?
I sent a playwright colleague a very early piece of a play and she said "Brysen this is great--but you write plays and TV and nonfiction, so I want you to ask yourself, why did you chose to write this for the theater instead of in a book or film? I want you to lean into theatricality--lean into what you can only do in theater and nowhere else." I think of this whenever I start a new project and try to lean into the form as much as I can.
What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?
I don't read craft books very much--but I'll offer a lit journal that has inspired me for many years--Brevity Mag is a wonderful place to find essays, all under 750 words, that can change your life in the blink of an eye. It's a great place to read something quickly for five minutes on the train or in a parking lot, and then have it stay with you forever.
Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?
Relaxed, but constantly here if you have any questions. Students should feel free to text me anytime, 2AM or 7AM, if they have questions or need something. (I will respond right away at 2AM, I will respond a few hours later if texted at 7AM).
Learn More About Working with Brysen:
You can learn more about Brysen's upcoming class, Writing Dialogue for Screen and Stage 6-Week Zoom Workshop, and sign up now!
Join Brysen Boyd in this journey to explore new dimensions in writing and enhance your craft!
Instructor Brysen Boyd is playwright, TV writer, and essayist originally from Tacoma, WA. He served on the writing staff for HBO’s SUCCESSION (in a position created for him), is a 2023 Artist-in-Residence at Williamstown Theater Festival, the inaugural Playwright-in-Residence at Reverie Theater Company and is a proud member of Youngblood/Ensemble Studio Theater. His plays include FAMILY SIDESHOW (Playwrights’ Center Venturous Prize Nominee, O'neill Conference Semi-finalist, 2022 Juilliard Finalist, Winner of KC-Melting Pot National New Play Competition), CLOSING COSTS on 6101 NYANZA (Blue Ink Award Semi-finalist, Kennedy Center Short Play Semi-finalist) and others. His work has received support from Tin House, The Kennedy Center, Sewanee Writers Conference, Columbia University, Napa Valley Writers Conference, Kansas City Melting Pot, Seattle Playwrights’ Saloon and others. Having come to playwriting and creative nonfiction in undergrad by way of his first love, TV, his goal in life is to write stories that make others feel as excited as 9-year-old him felt when watching David and Keith on SIX FEET UNDER. Writing means everything to him—second only to his miniature wiener dogs, Simon and Alvin. B.A., Boston College MFA., Columbia University