Tracy Held

Writer for Stage & Screen

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Subvert Stereotypes & #StopAsianHate

In recent months, I have been leveraging my membership in the Writers Guild of America West Asian American Writers Committee (AAWC) to advocate for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to help organize events that elevate the voices of writers in our communities, and to address bias and provide solutions from within the film industry.

On Thursday, May 6, at 4pm PDT, the Writers Guild Foundation will be hosting a free virtual panel titled, “Subverting Stereotypes: Re-Writing Asian American Narratives in Film and TV” in partnership with the AAWC, CAPE – Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, and the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity to produce this important panel moderated by Tawal Panyacosit Jr. featuring Liz Hsiao Lan Alper, Teresa Hsiao, Adele Lim, Shireen Razack, and Alexander Woo.

Subverting Stereotypes: Re-Writing Asian American Narratives in Film and TV Panel Flyer

On Wednesday, April 14, the AAWC, along with the support of the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity, hosted an inspiring and raw discussion with influential Asian American writers about their experiences in Hollywood along with actionable strategies for supporting our colleagues and portraying authentic characters and stories. This panel was moderated by Jenny Yang (Last Man Standing) with panelists Soo Hugh (Pachinko), Tze Chun (Gremlins), Nancy Kiu (Batwoman), Danny Chun (Speechless), Sunil Nayar (4400), and Veena Sud (Seven Seconds).

#StopAsianHate: How to be an Ally in the Room Event Flyer

Elbow Grease

Trap Street generously gave me the opportunity to write a radio play about pandemic life and they posted it as a podcast! Look up The Radiograph wherever you get your podcasts to check it out.

Written by Tracy Held. Directed by Alaina McManus. Performed by Jesse Abbott Chin and Tony Werner.

Elevating Black Writers

Writers play a unique role in our theater and film communities and in our society as a whole. We understand how essential narrative is to understanding the human condition and to connecting with each other.

At this time, we are experiencing the impacts of a society that stifles Black voices and reinforces narratives that promote white supremacy. We should not be willing to continue to go back to business as usual. As we open this conversation, there are actions that all of us can begin now. 

I invite you to participate in the elevation of Black writers using tools that are easily accessible to you.

1) Become familiar with the work of Black playwrights and screenwriters, particularly writers who are actively producing work. 
2) Write recommendations for plays by Black authors on review websites, including online bookstores.
3) Promote Black writers and their work on social media.
4) Encourage theater companies that you respect to present more work by Black writers (it’s particularly powerful if you recommend two or three authors and specific plays).
5) Recommend Black writers for developmental opportunities.
6) Encourage your friends and colleagues, particularly your White friends, to get to know the works of Black writers.
7) Watch films made by Black writers and directors. When theaters open up again, make an effort to buy tickets for shows written by Black writers.

When we read the works of Black writers, we understand their concerns and their communities better, and we are better able to implement effective anti-racism strategies. When we promote Black writers, we redistribute access to opportunities to writers who may otherwise get overlooked. When we support productions by Black writers, we help ensure their longevity as playwrights and screenwriters and poets and novelists, and we often help create more acting opportunities for actors of color. 

Most importantly, when we elevate Black writers, we get to experience their essential and transformative stories, and that’s really what storytelling is about.

Eugene O’Neill Playwriting Class

Creating plays with teens for the Eugene O’Neill Student Studio Retreat

In June 2019, I got to teach playwriting to a creative and clever group of teens through the Eugene O’Neill Studio Retreat. The students had one week to write an original play at the historical Tao House and then we had one week to rehearse the plays with students in the actor program.

It was a delight to work with Norman Gee, Brady Lea, and all of the writers, actors, and volunteers. I remain particularly grateful to the students who educated me about the significance of Vines and invited me into their funny, heart-string-tugging, and contemplative worlds.

“Intertwined,” Sun, May 26

I’m anxious to hear my play “Intertwined,” commissioned by The Vagrancy in Los Angeles, read for the first time at the Blossoming reading series on Sunday, May 26th.

This piece is thoughtfully directed by Gleason Bauer, and played by Intae Kim, Bree Wernicke, Eddie Mui, Elaine Kao, Paul Mackley, and Tamar Fortgang, with stage directions read by Megan DeHart.

Please join us at the Lyric Hyperion Theatre & Cafe in Silverlake in Los Angeles. Admission is pay-what-you-want. Stay until 6:30pm for a new play, “Molly,” about MDMA by Howard Ho!

See Ya Later, Creede!

Me and my cast for a closed reading of “Sweet, Sweet Revolution” at the National Winter Playwrights’ Retreat with HBMG Foundation.

This year, I was invited to return to the HBMG Foundation‘s National Winter Playwrights’ Retreat for the Fifth Anniversary reunion where I played (a version of) hockey on a frozen pond, ate at Arp’s a lot, and had a closed developmental reading of my full length play, “Sweet, Sweet Revolution.”

Co-op 1 for NWPR 2019!

Many thanks to Ann Pittman Zarate and Manuel Zarate for hosting as well as to all of the artists who participated in the retreat as well as this incredibly helpful reading, including Amanda J. Bermudez, Joshua Bermudez, Liz Engelman, Patrick Gabridge, Kate Brennan, Annie Butler, and Alice Stanley.

“How Touching” Recorded for the American Playbook

Recording “How Touching”

This winter, the HBMG Foundation invited me to include a second play in their American Playbook project. “How Touching” was originally commissioned by the Playwrights Foundation for their One-Minute Play Festival, and I updated this piece for the American Playbook.

Many thanks to Ann Pittman Zarate, Kate Brennan, Greg DeCandia, Amanda Bermudez, and Joshua Bermudez for reading and recording this important piece about consent and children.

“Spilled Milk” at Trap Street

I was privileged to get to develop my short film “Spilled Milk,” a romantic story inspired by true events, with Trap Street on November 17th.
This piece was read by Chad Eschman, Thi Nguyen, Luke Rampersad, Faith D’Amato, Katie Pelensky, Anne Berkowitz, Paul Whestone, Toni Maddocks, and Kimberly Alexander.
It was also a great opportunity connect with other Carnegie Mellon University Dramatic Writing alums, including Kate Mickere, Julianne Jigour (Trap Street Director of Development), and Dan Hirsch (whose play “Sisyphi” was also featured).
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