Cover of The Dramatist Jan/Feb 2022: The Motivation Issue
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why I Joined the Guild with Larry Dean Harris
  • Illustration of Larry Dean Harris by Dan Romer
    Illustration of Larry Dean Harris by Dan Romer
  • Illustration of Larry Dean Harris by Dan Romer
    Illustration of Larry Dean Harris by Dan Romer

I fell madly in love with the Dramatists Guild in 2007. I was neck deep in shit and losing serious sleep over a stormy collaboration on a new musical and a very scary contract that I foolishly signed without legal counsel of my own. My collaborators had thrown me under the bus a few times by that point. Did I mention these were my friends?

Enter the Guild. Gary Garrison patiently listened and explained that I had rights. David Faux provided sage advice. And I learned a powerful lesson: to shut my mouth and wait. When the right moment came and a producer dropped the ball, I seized the opportunity, burned the contract, and returned to restful REMs.

This is why I joined the Guild. I felt safe within its loving arms.

I signed on to be SoCal Regional Rep because I knew there were others like me who needed a sense of community and the mad skills of Business Affairs. I’m pretty sure I did most of the learning in those seven years of regional programming, national conferences, and hours on the phone with my SoCal colleagues, talking through their issues.

Every day, my love is rekindled when I see how the Guild takes care of its own. There are resources for members: online content, podcasts, courses through the DGI, programs, and events. There are actions like The Count and awards like The Lillys and fellowships like New Visions that recognize the underserved and overlooked.

Then came the day in 2020 when Andrew Lippa reported to Council that the Dramatists Guild Foundation had distributed more than $1 million to playwrights in emergency rent and that the coffers were running low. Without hesitation, Council members immediately stepped up with pledges—pledges with many zeros—to ensure that no Guild member in need would be turned away.

This is why I stay. And also because I would love to someday write a musical with our new rockstar president Amanda Green, who is smart and funny and I am absolutely certain would never throw me under a bus.

Larry Dean Harris
Larry Dean Harris

co-founded the LA-based Playwrights 6 in 1999. In 2016, his play Stage Moms was selected for the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival. He is also a solo performer/storyteller, producing the Silver Lake salon Strong Words. Harris now resides in Palm Springs, CA and serves on the Guild’s Council.