Monday, November 8, 2010

This BLOG is ending...

Because, well, soon, my website should be up and ready to go. And it will have a blog on it.
And it's not like I've been putting a lot of entries HERE.

SO. Follow me on LPONTIUS.COM, the day after tomorrow....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gr. (Please, help me help you, give me a synopsis...)

So, I'm reading scripts for a competition. The competition requires a twenty page sample.

They don't say WHAT twenty pages, true. And that's cool. Any twenty pages from a play, I'm cool with that.

Now, personally, I would do the FIRST twenty pages. These are the pages that introduce the audience to the world of the play, the style, the language, and most likely the major need/conflict of the play. To me: it's perfect for a submission of twenty pages.

Now, some people are submitting the LAST twenty pages... Ok. They feel this is the most exciting part of their play (which if it is...what does that mean for the first 80 pages?) Fine, I'll read the last twenty pages.

BUT GIVE ME A SYNOPSIS. SOMETHING so I understand WHAT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE. Help me help you. I want to like this play, I, in fact want to LOVE the play that I'm reading. But, if I'm struggling to figure out why people are yelling and screaming, punching, crying then I'll have a harder time loving the play.

A synopsis. A few sentences ANYTHING. Not just a character list or a location, what has HAPPENED.

You wouldn't just show the last twenty minutes of a play to an audience so why are you making me read the last twenty pages?

Even a play that begins in Media Res STILL functions like the beginning of a play, we get information about who, what, where and why.

But the LAST twenty pages are designed to be the LAST pages, things are coming to a close, conflicts are settled, characters lives are moving on, but without context I don't CARE, I don't UNDERSTAND.

So, if you have decided that the first twenty pages aren't the best or the most exciting (which then, you should really look at those pages again, who wants to sit through something boring to get to the exciting bits) and you are going to submit something from the middle or the end: take a few sentences and set up the scenes. Provide context.

Help me love your play.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Well. I'm moving.

It's been decided and it's been put into affect.

I'm moving.

To Los Angeles.

The movers today took all of our furniture and so I'm sitting in a bare apartment. I'm hunched in a corner typing on a milk crate, sitting on the floor. So, it's really hit me: I'm moving.

We didn't make this decision lightly, but, we didn't make it with our heads. Certainly the idea of quitting a job that was pretty good, working with people that I liked, meeting astounding people (I'm looking at you Edward Albee), leaving a place I like to live for...well, let's just say, we have a good feeling about it.

We're moving to Los Angeles because I want to write for TV. And that's just insane.

Now, I think I'm talented, I have some friends, I have a manager, but to chuck a job, a home aside for an incredibly tough field to get into? That's the insane part.

Like I said, we didn't think we our heads, but with our passions.

I'm passionate about writing, I'm passionate about creating, and so...

We're moving.

(I promise to do a better job at blogging. It should be a pretty exciting summer... We're driving across the country, moving and making a six week trip to India and Singapore, all in the next three months. So, it should be good.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Playwrights, stop hurting theater....

There’s a trend lately. Well, maybe it’s just the shows that I’ve seen, so maybe it’s a trend that’s unique to my theater going experience. But, it’s beginning to make me mad.

Playwrights aren’t writing plays anymore. They are writing collections of scenes. These collections of scenes run for about 90 minutes and then there’s either a quick resolution or simply a strange image, followed by a black out.

Over the course of those 90 minutes there will be some good scenes, maybe some interesting observations of humanity, but the scenes aren’t connected to each other, it’s almost like each scene is happening in isolation. I find more and more often I’m watching a series of ten minute plays with the same characters, sometimes in the same situation, just behaving slightly differently. It’s fucking boring.

It’s because the scenes aren’t adding up. Aren’t building on top of each. Aren’t moving us forward to a climax.

They just exist.

Let’s be blunt: how often have to seen plays lately, written by people in their 20 or 30s (hey, maybe even one of mine), where you kept saying to yourself, oh, they didn’t need this scene, they could have started the play at the second scene….no, I mean, the third scene…well, alright the fourth scene. It’s because the material is all compartmentalized. Segments. Bits. Each containing their own, and perhaps even, unnecessary exposition.

I want to see a play with drive. I want to see a play that what happened in one scene EFFECTS what happens in the next. I want to see a play the moves towards a climax.

Maybe it’s a new dramaturgy, I don’t know. But I find that it’s boring, flat, generally striving towards irony with passive characters.

Though, maybe, it’s not the fault of the playwrights. Maybe it’s the fault of how we teach and develop work in this country.

When I was a student and when I taught, because of time constraints, we can only really bring in a scene or two at a time to read and to talk about. And that’s no way to write a play. Sure, I can bring in a scene into a classroom—and I’m going to do my best and write a really great scene that’s interesting, because, let’s be honest, I want to impress—and then we’ll talk about that scene, what questions we have, for that scene, what we liked, in that scene, and what we didn’t…in that scene. The scene becomes the focus.

However, context matters. A scene isn’t a single entity of a play. No more than characters. Scenes, characters, action, every component has to work in concert with the rest so the entirety works. Not singular moments. The play.

All that said: Playwrights, stop hurting theater. Please stop writing ten minutes collections and go back to writing plays...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Things you need for a trip like this

Basically I'm out here doing a fact finding mission and to meet people- to throw myself out into the universe and see who catches me.

These are some of the things you need:

Friends...or friends of friends (so stay in touch)

Facebook (in order T0 stay in touch)

A smart phone-one that does texts, email, internet AND has a GPS (so you can stay in touch, and figure out where things are in relationship to you)

A car with a GPS (so you can get around, not get lost, and get to places on time)

A place to stay (that's where friends come in real handy)

A calender (so you can organize)

A willingness to be flexible (because things happen)

And a desire to just talk to strangers (because meeting new people is how things happen to you)

More later...

The end of a good day...

I'm doing something that isn't done in LA, something that might be considered...well of less import.

I'm seeing a play.

I don't know for certain which, a friend invited me, but it will be nice to see something where someone else does the talking.

It's been a great week, lots of chatting, coffee/tea. People have been extremely generous with their time and their stories.

More thoughts later...