Tag Archives: Scripts

Nominal Fever Ravings

5 Feb

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I need a break from this Chekhov.

…Am stress dreaming about it at this point, because with almost no rehearsal other than talking about it, we open in 9 days.

….And while “concept” is great and all, I need to “do” the fuck out of a thing in order to actually build a tangible reality. One cannot just “theory” a show into existence. But we are having to…because we don’t have time together without giant gaps in between, and schedules are so harried from everyone’s conflicts, that there is no like “panic meet-up time” where one can get private scene partner work slipped in, or try every which way to do a scene, or…well…

…Anyway…I’m toasted. Have been reaming this script alone for days and hours and trying to make choices, hoping they won’t interfere with scene partner’s choices (who I’ve never worked with before), but having to stake out like three or four levels of options here so I can alter or try to connect my stuff to his stuff, for tomorrow morning…when we next meet up.

4 more rehearsals to figure it all out.

…God. You know you’re stressed when Stoppard is the easier, happy place you wish you could fall back into.

…Meanwhile…

The required post-show crash hit, was obtained and nursed for half this week, on my couch. A lot of sleeping. A lot of first generation X-Files-watching (which I had never seen the first time ’round.) I happen to think it’s fun, badass, and slightly terrifying…whilst simultaneously worrying about my cold being a deadly alien variety which has no earthly cure, and/or becoming abducted.

…I wish I was joking about that. But: I am not.

…I induced it even further into my Psyche by watching some episodes across hours of fever sleeping…so now I feel inevitably doomed, in a very deep marrow-of-my-bones way…but have to keep viewing, as like a “How To” mental log of how to combat them, when they do eventually come for me.

…The truth is out there. And so are “they.” Cuz there’s no fucking way that the buck stops at humanity. Microscopic animals take us down, for gods sake. Lets get real, here.

…Anyway…

…No X-Files after dark, is the rule mandate. That’s reserved for script stress, and inevitable alcohol consuming. Mostly with Cecil. Who I gave the cold back to. Cuz I’m an awesome, sharing, sister-friend that way.

…So.

…It’s Friday night. Rent is due, therefor: I’m broke. No Arcadia to go play in. Too distracted about tomorrow morning’s rehearsal to go see that other show I was going to, tonight…even as a PWYC. Which is prob’ly better anyway. Am still not back to even 80% ungross-feeling, across any length of time.

…Oh, and Mrs. Johnson dropped in…about three hours ago…to mix it up a little.

Oh, what a wicked cocktail of life, I do breed…

~D

Things That Make Sense [Possibly Only] To Me

5 May

Wicked busy day at work…pushing $122,000 in new orders and bookings that had my butt stuck to my swivel chair for the full eight hours. 

…Decided to counter this with a 4 mile walk through partial spit and sunshine by the waterfront, directly after errands run of bank and script pick up.

…Then I peed.

…Checked my texts which had accumulated throughout the day, totally ignored…(due to reasons they pay me for)…and I saw a set from Puff:

Puff: “Awesome news…I will be up for Pride through 4th of July…!”

…JOY!!! Because, now that am camped in HRC with the Seattle kids…AND signed up for the huge-as-fuck event committees LIKE Pride…I was only the other day saying how kick-ass it would be if he were here for my first one, and I was there for his (in Seattle), cuz (without being a giant cock-block), we could hang some, and have times of awesome with him and his boys (whom I love), ‘tween my booth tending, button passing, and picture taking.

TIMES of AWESOME will be had. Indeed.

…Came home next, to find a gigantic box on my doorstep, weighing approximately half a pound.  After perusing labels which told me nothing, finally came to my senses and just ripped the thing open.  Arms waded through a sea of crumpled newspapers, reaching deep into the box’s guts to fish out: a giant globe on stand, and a card from an antique store in New Orleans.

…Texted The BFF, directly: “I presume was you who bought me the world…”

…The BFF texted back: “…It is your oyster after all.”

(This is why she is The BFF…reason # 562.)

…Wandered about house, attempting to find the perfect place for the world…and I found it: On top of record player by the complete Sherlock and choicest Du Mauriers.

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…Winning. Or rather, “won.” “Winning” sounds better. I will just move everything into the present tense now. Because.

…Go about opening new script (role secured only just last night), and begin to peruse the merchandise. She’s good, the playwright. A local. Commence to take notes, pull up dialect and start working for a good ol’ Louisiana drawl…mid-texting The BFF, who is well into the religious ceremony of Margarita drinking that is: Cinco de Mayo.

…I say I’m too lazy to go to the trouble of “all that mixing,” so offer chilled champagne, (still sitting in the fridge from my woeful birthday), or a warm scotch, as substitute.

The BFF says, ” Definitely champagne. But maybe I’m biased. It’s 80 degrees here.”

I respond: “I think it’s still wise here at 60-something. Cuz I mean..it’s champagne…”

We agree she is right. This almost never happens. She (presumably) goes to mix another ‘Rita…I grab a bar towel, and pop the cork.

…I study some more…

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…Mid-study I try to gauge the distinct difference between Creole, Cajun and general Louisianian dialects. Dunno which I’m suppose to use, so decide to learn all three.

…The Champagne goes largely untouched for some period of time, as I work. Then, as I fold up the script for now, I suddenly remember it.

Veuve Clicquot it ain’t, but it itches the scratch when yuh got it.

…I decide this would be an excellent marketing line, and I am totally in the wrong profession.

…I pour out some more.

…I drink it.

…I see the lap top sitting over there on the couch arm, plugged in and getting juiced.

…I decide maybe I should blog some. Then I can say I did a little study, a little writing, and a little walking with my evening…not just, “laid on the couch like a whore, swilling champagne and watching Burn Notice specials. Again.”

…Although, whatever sounds so bad about that, I’ll never know.

…You’d have to ask a non-actor civilian.

~D

Next! (And, In German)

19 Jun

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Tonight, I start work on m’next script, as first read has now been settled for this Saturday before “Earnest.” For it I’ll be playing three rolls in fast-action farce: A German spy, a bookish British smart-tart, and a Scottish country lass.

Circa, London 1935.

…Currently (of course) I’m living in posh period Brit, 1895. So that’ll be a fun mind fuck once we really get running in rehearsals while still finishing “Earnest” performances.

But I’m totally good for it. 😉

…Homework right now is working on the accents so I have something decent to use for the read on Saturday. Never having done a German without Jewish or Dutch influence, means that’ll be a whole new bag to play with for me, as well as digging out a comedic Scottish that you can still actually understand.

Tons of fun ahead.

Tonight: am focusing on Annabella Schmidt…the German spy…the model for which I will (naturally) be using, being Marlene Dietrich. I want her vocal pitch so low she sounds like a man in drag, and her accent so exaggerated she sounds like any Noir period spy supposed to be based in Germany (having prob’ly actually been born in Jersey.)

…It will be awful-beautiful.

I almost can’t wait.

So I’m leaving now to go work on it.

First bus stop on the homework train is this:

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…All aboard!

~D

Another Kind Of Life

8 Aug

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The other day, I was trolling the nets looking for something to put writing focus toward, and found this script-call, due that day.

…Of course, there was no way on earth I’d be able to get it in on time, but the subject matter intrigued me, so I decided to use it as a writing prompt and do it.  After furious attack in type, I finally took a rest away from it for a bit, and returned to it yesterday with the often true realization, that it was shit. 

The obsessive nature in me had gotten too caught up in this world…in my head it was moving mountains and healing the sick…but I had forgotten to let the paper in on it.  This happens with me, sometimes.  Thinking too quickly and deeply, and it all comes out in a mish-mash of awful.  And now I’m sitting at that extremely familiar crossroads of whether to scrap it all n’ re-boot, or just shrug it off and call it, “free exercise.”

I decided I needed a Pro’s & Con’s list.

…Then I decided that I was too lazy to write one out, and that it would ultimately come down to just one of two things anyway:

1. Am I just opting out cuz I don’t wanna do the work?
or
2. Did I already get out of it, everything that I needed to?

…Which lead to:

1. Is this in fact just an “exercise” to nimble up a bit?
or
2. Do I want to actually bulk up on the concepts and body-build my techniques a little?

…Bringing on:

1. How important is “finishing” the work, so I can hold it up and say, “See, I have this whole thing over here.”
and
2. What in the piece is salvageable, and is it enough foundation to build a decent house on?

…Which finally culminated on down to:

“I need a Pro’s & Con’s list.”

So, for the sake of accountability and things, here it is:  

PROS

* I like the people.
This may sound vein…(being as the characters are products of my own imagination)…but they have good weight and balance, in personality, idiosyncrasies and humor. They have really valid points in arguments, are often smart-asses, and make me laugh. We’re “friends” now, in our way, and I dunno that I’m okay with just being the casual kind.  Maybe we should date? I dunno…

* I’m learning stuff.
I know “of” the topic matter, but not intimately.  This is requiring research, investigation, charting and google picture-looking.  I love going full “nerd” in book work again…I love learning things and looking at the stuff that I do know, a little differently.  It isn’t easy (or particularly “restful”), but hard work is sometime fun, and mostly good for you.  ‘Cept when it’s not.

* The topic is underappreciated.
Why not share the love?  Expand on something different, something not of the peanut butter and jelly norm.  Maybe it’s time for a little peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and pickle…you don’t “know” what tastebuds may or may not want if given the option!  The whole world could be just sitting here waiting in the wings, for me to set the new precedent of “awesome.”  And if I don’t do it, someone else will.  Which is how we get travesties like the “Twilight” series…

* I already have like 25 pages.
25 pages ain’t bad!  25 pages, is a solid thing…a two-scene operetta…a one-act…a really good appetizer with garlic and butter melted all over it! 25 pages is: 25 pages!  That ain’t nothin’ to sniff at!

* There’s no law saying I have to share it.
Even if I finish it…even if I spend days and weeks on it; even if it sits complete on my computer with no voices to it, I can still say I did it. And if it’s terrible or too strange or too revealing…if I chicken out in actually showing it to someone, I can still say, “I did it.”  “It was done!”  “I made that!”  No one may ever know or set eyes on it, but much like that recipe book I haven’t cooked a single thing out of, but still keep cuz the pictures look really good…it’s mine, and I own it!

CONS

* I can’t tell the “Baby” from the “Bath Water”
I know it isn’t “good” but I’m not totally sure which parts are definitely the “bad.”  Stripping it down to it’s nakeds and trying to separate it out might be impossible, what with the ever-loving infinity of ways I can take the thing and spin it.  So, if I were to go at the script with a wrecking ball right now, how the hell am I supposed to know what to keep and what to blow apart?

* What is my point?
I don’t know that I have one.  Which actually means that I don’t.  This shouldn’t totally discourage me, as plenty of scripts without a point have been written, produced and have purchased beach houses for their composers, before this. Also, sometimes a point will arrive later when you sit back and view the piece as a whole.  But those cases are when you have to go back and beat the crap out the script with more and more edits to clarify just what the hell that is.  Which is a lot of work.

* It’s a lot of work.
Maybe I have enough “jobs” right now.  Maybe I don’t need another place where my head has to go and be all reasonable and thinky and things.  Maybe it just wants to sit on a couch after work and watch Buffy.  That could totally be what it needs right now.  Course, I’ve sorta already been doing that a lot lately.  Which is how I gained all this weight.  So, maybe I should scrap writing altogether and get my fat ass out on a damn walk for a change.

* It’s never as good on paper as in my head.
Often, it’s just sheer disappointment.  I dunno why.  We speak the same language, and know all the same similes, gimmicks and jokes…but my head is always smarter, funnier and better looking than the words end up as, on the page.  It’s a once-removed ratio of goodness.  Like my speaking vocabulary is severely limited and made awkward because of dated exclamatories (“Rad!”),  too slow call-up recognitions (“you know, that thing with the stuff by whats-his-face?), and general social-retardedness with regards to small-talk (” I well too, you? How are.”) Where I know without a doubt, that I come off better on “paper” than “in person,” there is equal truth that I’m gooder in “brain” than in “write-speak.”  It’s just true.

* I have other things I should pro’bly be doing.
Shows are starting up again, people are consistently missing at work leaving holes that need filling in.  Then I’ll be taking my own vacation, with a Cuz in tow… to see the world of everything we have here to offer.  Also, I really need to start back into exercising more than just my jaw (while in the act of chewing.)  Digging in right now is just not the best timing.  It never is, but this might be a particularly worse “not the bestness” of it.  Also, I think I’m just lazy.  Not so much that I can’t waste hundreds of words bitching and making excuses about writing a thing…but enough to put off just going ahead and actually agreeing with myself to write it.

…So goes the battle, friends.

Wonder which one I’ll pick.

~D

Your Mission, Should You Accept It…

13 Jul

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In around 18 hours I will magically turn into a screenwriter, through the science and technology of filmdom. 

…Our group has a google chat already set off and binging continually on our phones, with info from every department.  Tech, Location, Costume, Catering…it’s all been arranged like we’ve already done this upwards of 10,000 times…and I am perfectly aware (as everyone is stellar and collected and organized), that until me and the writing department build an actual script…with the actual specifications and genres, (which we will not know until actually half a day from now), there is nothing anyone can actually do.

…So, no pressure.

…Which is good, for anxiety-ridden peoples such as myself.

…But that isn’t the best part.

…The best part came mid-yesterday as a general text went out to all involved, from our Producer.  It stated the following:

“Has everyone had chicken pox?”

Why?

Because our Director/Editor has contracted a case of Shingles. Overnight. (As people do.)

That’s why.

…Which immediately told me that this is not going to be your “average shoot.” (Whatever that is.) And that clearly, I would need to take notes, as the blog that will follow the completion of this process is gonna be straight up ridiculous.

So, I’ve decided to open a note-pad on my desktop and contribute occasional notes  throughout the process, as I see fit.  You know, with all that “free time” I’ll have just lying around.  And sometime mid-week, (when I’ve finally gotten some damn sleep, and this is all a past-tense dream), you will be getting a first-hand record of a gorilla film-shoot in Seattle…the summer of 2012.

Wish us luck.

…Donations of caffeine and alcohol can be made directly through me.  We will light a special candle in Chapel, in thanksgiving. And  I don’t even think a single one of us is Catholic. 

But we will convert. 

…That is how serious we are about it.

~D

Wine, Women & Other Delights

7 Jul

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Thursday night, over a spread of summer berries, breads, salad, cheese, wine, chocolate, coffee and Perrier, seven women sat down to feast on a script, and one another’s company.

…Literally at-table, with scripts in-hand, tween fork fulls, we ate and drank and laughed. Restroom breaks at intervals or when reader not in-play, wine corkings and pour-outs at natural segues in topic…we were exhausted with food and our efforts, as coffee was poured out casually during the final scene.  In the end, a tour-de-force and three-course meal was had, and we were each so supremely impressed with the success of it all, that a production of the piece by right of blood-determination and pinky swears, was insisted.

This script must be shared, but the formula was a delicate beast.

…We agreed (all) that the delectable intimacy we had shared over the evening was the same way it should be presented for the audience .  Very limited seating…sometime late summer…wherin everyone partake in food and wine in casual corners, as the audience plays at voyeurism, outside of normal theatrical patronism.  No stage to separate the one from the other, no blocking to suggest “presentation.”  Just a collection of women, living their lives in History, in their houses, in their offices, in their time…which some will secretly have view-access to.

The script: “Top Girls.” Caryl Churchill’s 1982 tribute to feminist power struggles, and their rise and fall of ideals across History and into the future.

The cast: Seven savvy dames who’ve lived the lives of many of the characters…which, if you knew us, would be all but painfully obvious.

The process:  We change nothing from that evening’s presentation of share, sauce, laugh, pick, pour, wink, wine, taste, wit, crunch, smack, tease and play.  Only this time, people will be standing and sitting around the space like patrons at an art gallery, free to view the work from any angle they please.

The rules: Delight in the extraordinary work of truth. Celebrate what it is to be a woman in these (and in any) times, rough though it may often be. Enjoy an unusual evening of theatre that will make you howl, hiss, laugh, sob and say to yourself end-of-the-night: “we really are remarkable creatures, ain’t we?”

Simple.  True.  Real.  Just like the piece.

…I had never read or done any Churchill previous to this, though had heard much talk of her “Cloud Nine” (a sex-politics play of the first degree.)  Mdm. Director of the evening’s festivities, brilliantly likened Churchill’s style of work to that of a female Mamet…in content, topic, politics and most especially beat-work.  Her dialogues follow the true form of conversation, outside of polite society, “we all wait our turn to have our say” dogma.  No one “waits” here.  No one “minds their tongue,” or “keeps it close”…no one holds back their thoughts for a moment’s pause.  Sentences wrap, envelope, cut-off, cut-out, usurp, entangle and define one another continually.  Yet the joke (and truth) lies in the fact that with a room full of women, this is merely the kind of multi-tasking we relish in: we are able to do it all while also listening and responding to one another, throughout.  As opposed to Mamet’s work’s denying completion of thought, information and (often) actual conversation.  The beats are insanity and completely superb when achieved correctly.  The comedy is crisp, tart, acidic and jolly by turn.  The drama is jaw-dropping, in its insistence of righteous self-expression, earnest regret, and truthful grudging.

It’s frustrating.

It’s enlightening.

It’s humiliating.

It’s enticing.

It’s truthful.

It’s a mind-trip.

…After two months away from scripts and stages, lines, and study…the whole evening and it’s process was like that first taste of water following a drought.  You walk around knowing you’re thirsty all the time, but the minute your lips finally touch a water glass, it’s like the most wondrous element of delicious existence you can even fathom.

It’s been a long time.

…And I thought: if you wanna swig of refreshment, you should keep your eyes peeled for our “Save-the-Date.”  I guarantee, it’ll be wondrous.

~D

Miss Scarlet, With The Car, In the Bathroom

2 Jul

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Exactly one week from Friday, I will be amongst many in a throng of humanity, crammed into Seattle Art Museum listening to a series of lectures on the rules and regulations of gorilla-filming for the 48 Hour Film Festival.  Thankfully, some several-year veteran’s are the ones who have built our team, selecting it’s members with whatever crystal ball of weirdness they own.  I know it’s an “iffy” brand, because they want me to be a part of the deal…and I’ve never been on a film set in my life.

…I adore film, don’t get me wrong! 

…I want to make babies with it and pepper the world-over with them…like a Queen Victoria of cinema.  That isn’t the concern.  It’s that I am “of theatre.”  Like the “in my bones” kind.  And I’m not a cross-over when it comes to displays of my talents.  I am particularly unphotogenic…to the point that head shots and archival candids are the absolute bane of my existence.  And this is partly because everything on my face is giant. 

…There is nowhere to GO, no safe haven to retreat to when an entire face is just yelling at you with every feature.  So I consider it fortunate that this is a “good” thing for theatre, and we all get along swimmingly for it, la-de-dah.

But now, two perfectly lovely people want me to do some film.  And I said “yes,” because they are perfect and lovely.  And then I thought about my little “problem” and added a small asterix to my contract clause.  We are working exclusively on “handshake” terms, so not being in exact writing, it goes something like this:

“I will be honored to do this film shoot with you, on the strict understanding that I in no way have to act on screen in it.”

…The addendum clause to the addendum clause they replied back, goes something like:

“…Unless we really, really need you, cuz for whatever reason it’s the only way to go.”

…To which my legal department responded:

“…But what if I had another solid behind-the-screen job that might even make it a conflict of interest in time and schedule budgeting?”

…To which they said:

“Fine.  You’re head writer.”

…To which I said:

“Um…I’ve never written a screenplay in my life!”

….To which they said:

“You’re like a 7-time produced playwright. Suck it up, and learn.”

…So that is what I have been doing. 

I have a job.  I know what it is.  And my giant face won’t be screaming at people on a screen the size of a two-story house afterwards. 

I can work with this. 

…And I have been.

Two practice runs in fully timed and detailed mock-up situations.  And several panicked moments of complete spontaneous inadequacy.  One of the mock ups though has even been claimed by Team Leader to film later, just “because.”  He thinks it’s solid.  He likes the “reveal.” And no one paid him to tell me that.

…Every stumble-effort success, is still a “success.”  So, play on.

Tomorrow, will be my third pass.  A couple notes from Team Leader as an Editor and Director on things to be mindful of from passes one and two, are simmering even now, in my brain.  Just a-waiting.  Married with a couple things I’ve learned on my own, along the way. Here is my mental notebook going into run three:

1)  Less locations, less effects for post.
2)  Shorter.  Always shorter.
3)  It’s not meant to win an Oscar.
4)  Over-“dramaticalness” reads on screen faster than a fart is found out in an elevator.
5)  Maybe find a different way to kill people than with cars.
6)  Find a wine-bitch.  I work waaay better when I stop thinking and editing crap before I’ve even allowed myself to actually write it.
7)  Pretend like this isn’t going to be seen by thousands of people on a movie screen with my name on it.
8)  Pack my toothbrush.
9)  Make peace, right now, that no sleeping will be taking place.
10) Remember: we are having fun.

…So goes my next gig.  Followed quickly by the next two, back-to-back, up on stage.

Rest time is over, friends.

Season’s starting!

Time to get the head back in the game.

…”About fucking time!” Says I.

~D

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