Samuel Brett Williams
Samuel Brett Williams
- Stage & Screen Mentor
- MFA in Writing
SAMUEL BRETT WILLIAMS is an award winning playwright, screenwriter, and director. His plays have been developed/produced at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Cherry Lane Theatre, Ars Nova, New York Theatre Workshop, Naked Angels, Partial Comfort, the Lark, the Kennedy Center, Yale University, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arkansas Rep, 59E59, Elephant Theatre Company, Project Y Theatre Company, the Joseph Beuys Theater (Moscow, Russia), the Gilded Balloon (Edinburgh, Scotland), and other theaters across the United States and Canada. Brett has received residencies/commissions from P73, the National Theater Institute, the National New Play Network, Theatre Squared, and Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. He is a past winner of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award (other winners include: Sarah Ruhl, Adam Rapp, and Annie Baker). Recently, Brett adapted his play, The Revival, into a feature film, which premiered at Outfest in Los Angeles, where the Los Angeles Times made it a Critic’s Pick saying, “The often difficult squaring of religious fervor and sexual longing receives poignant, powerful treatment in The Revival, a film that is deftly directed by Jennifer Gerber from a sensitive script by Samuel Brett Williams, based on his stage play.” Brett’s original screenplay Pretty Near Perfect (co-written with Jennifer Gerber) is currently in pre-production with Margo Martindale (The Americans) and Jennifer Nettles (The Righteous Gemstones) attached to star.
What is structure? I like to begin each semester with this question. I believe a screenplay is a tightly structured mathematical equation with dialogue. It is essentially poetry on top of numbers. Part of my job teaching structure is helping students categorize and highlight the things they find most interesting in their own personal worlds. Writing anything (a college essay, a pilot, a screenplay, etc.) can be a frightening and lonely task. A good teacher is there to help students when they are stuck, and to get out of their way when they are moving forward. Teaching is one of the great joys of my life. Walking into a classroom, I feel excitement. Excitement at the possibility. And excitement at the potential for progress, both in life and art.