Making Story

James Lecesne's picture
James Lecesne
Week 4: July 1 to July 6
ORIENTATION: July 1, 6:00-7:30 PM
WORKSHOP: July 2-6, 9am-Noon
Discipline: Multi-Genre
Open to All

On-site Housing Not Available
Workshop Description 

Are you ready to develop your next play, novel, solo show, TV pilot or children’s book? This workshop will give you the tools you need to tell your story. You will find a voice to speak your emotional, political and personal truth, and create a structure that will carry your story further into the world with power and clarity. The work we do over the course of the week is primarily about how to structure your story. We will review the basic elements of story, and then discuss how those elements apply to yours. As you present to the group, we will puzzle out the underlying conflict, illuminate the characters, uncover your deeply held beliefs and create a vivid map of your story. The goal is to leave you familiar with the landscape of your story and have a clear idea of where to dig for treasure, as well as a tangible plan to continue working.


James Lecesne has been ranked by the New York Times as "among of the most talented solo performers of his (or any) generation," and he's been at it for over 25 years.  His solo play, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey opened Off Broadway at The Westside Theater and received rave reviews. James wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award Winning short film, Trevor, which went on to inspire the founding of The Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24-hour suicide prevention helpline for LGBT and, Questioning youth.  He is also the founder of The After The Storm Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to offering support to community centers in New Orleans that are working with youth and the arts.  Following Hurricane Katrina, he organized a group of artists to travel to New Orleans, and he produced the feature length documentary directed by Hilla Medalia, After The Storm, which spotlights the lives and struggles of twelve young adults who are living in the storm-ravaged city.
An actor as well as a writer, James' solo show Word of Mouth was presented Off Broadway by Mike Nichols and Elaine May and directed by Eve Ensler; he was awarded the NY Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award for best solo performance as well as the LA Theater Weekly Award. He also wrote the book for the musical, One Man Band, with music and lyrics by Larry Hochman and Marc Eliot. His play, The Mother of Invention premiered Off Broadway at The Abgingdon Theater in NYC.  
James adapted Armistead Maupin’s Further Tales of the City as a mini series for Showtime (Emmy nomination) and wrote one of the final episodes of the TV series, Will & Grace. He created the stage play, The Road Home: Stories of the Children of War, a play based on interviews with survivors of wars in Tibet, Bosnia and Cambodia and presented at the International Peace Conference at The Hague.  His play, The Mother of Invention, premiered at The Abingdon Theater in February 2017.  James has taught at The NYU School of Continuing Education, The New School, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and The New York Film Academy.  He was a Distinguished Guest Speaker at The Heller Graduate School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where his Pro-Seminar “Sharing the Truth: Effective Storytelling for Social Justice Activists” included 30 participants from 11 countries. He has been a featured speaker about issues related to LGBT Youth at organizations and corporations such as Nike, Johnson & Johnson, Twitter and many others.
His young adult novel, Absolute Brightness, was published by Harper Collins and was awarded The William Morris Award by the American Librarian Association and was nominated for a The Lambda Literary Award. His novella Trevor was published by Seven Stories Press in 2012. Also available – The Letter Q: Queer Writer's Notes to Their Younger Selves, edited with Sarah Moon and published by Scholastic in 2012.