A playwright is an independent artist who creates work for the stage. Some have a specialized degree in playwriting, while others majored in English or theatre or started writing on their own. Playwrights usually have the freedom to decide what to write about and when. Sometimes, they are “commissioned” to write a play or musical for a specific theatre company, and may be given a topic or theme to write about along with funding. Playwrights are rarely employed on a full- or part-time basis. Most are paid after a theatre agrees to produce their play, when they receive a “royalty” fee.

About the Video: Luis Alfaro, Playwright

According to Luis Alfaro, the best playwrights read a lot, ask questions, want to know things about people, and love language. He should know—he’s won many of the most prestigious awards in theatre and had his work produced around the country. But before all that, he was a kid growing up in Pico-Union who spent a lot of time journaling. He talks about how he got his big break, the arc of his career, and what young playwrights can do to hone their craft.