Although Taylor has dabbled in fiction and written for radio and film, playwriting is his passion. "I get to be an introvert writing alone and an extrovert working with actors and directors. Playwriting forces me to tell the story with great limitations of time, space, and number of scenes." He also loves the collaboration between audience and storyteller that is unique to theater, he told me over coffee in his hometown of Portland, Oregon.
Taylor has won fellowships from the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon's Literary Arts . How did the fellowships affect his writing?
"Receiving a grant is a wonderful thing. Money is only part of it. With fellowships, which are very competitive, winning means credibility. It's a shot in the arm. After I received the Oregon Arts Commission fellowship, I was no longer embarrassed to introduce myself as a playwright. For a 4th-career playwright, that's very motivational. The grant made it difficult to want to write anything else but the play," said Taylor.
"I urge anyone who wants to be a better grant writer to sit on a panel," said Taylor, who has reviewed grant applications for the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust. From this experience he learned the importance of keeping his audience in mind. Panel members who review grant applications "go very deep into the budget and the objectives of the project. They want to make sure the grant writer is realistic about what the project will achieve and that the project isn't too big a stretch for the applicant," he said.
Taylor's top five tips for succeeding as a grant writer include:
- Remember the audience for the application.
- Pay attention to pacing.
- Maintain a clear idea of what, as an artist, you want to achieve with the project.
- Get to the point in the application.
- Ask: What is the most important or striking aspect of the project and make sure that that isn't buried at the end of the application.
The grant-writing process is a way to find your own answers to the big questions about your next project. "If you want to know about something, you have to write about it," said Taylor.
Find George Taylor at http://www.cyranoworks.com.
Gigi Rosenberg's essays and how-to articles have appeared in the Seal Press anthology The Maternal is Political, Parenting, Writer's Digest, The Writer and on Oregon Public Radio. She receives rave reviews for the grant writing workshops she leads at NYC's Foundation Center and Chicago's Self Employment in the Arts. She has performed her monologues throughout the Pacific Northwest and now coaches writers how to give stellar public readings and write winning grant applications.