Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Butler of Oz

Remember my post about The Butler Did It! getting a reading in Australia? Well, they must have liked it because they decided to give it a full production. And director Cassie Bird had some really nice things to say about it in the Cowra Guardian:

"It's a fast-paced show where a lot happens. Everyone who came along was really impressed by it, they thought it was really funny..."

The article doesn't say when the production will run, but I'm thinking it'll be soon.

To read a sample from the play or to order it yourself, please visit my publisher's website.

Break legs, everyone!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Why I Write - Part 2

I don't often hear from people producing my plays, but when I do, the results can melt the frost right off this old heart.

I just received the following email from a special needs teacher in Massachusetts who has been cast in an amateur theatre production of You're Driving Me Crazy. She liked the play so much she decided to have her students read it in the classroom:

To my surprise and delight, a student who had refused to read anything for me (from a book -- "I hate to read. I won't do it.") jumped at the chance to be Kendra, with no qualms about gender.

A shy student then took over for me as Ms. Granville and was hysterical. The 'non-reader' then agreed to read a play in the curriculum anthology! We are on a roll. They all read below grade level, if they can read.

And some of them are great audience members who willingly 'retell' the play etc. ...The class I teach is a self-contained Social-Emotional/Learning Disability classroom, and I am thrilled that we have all enjoyed the experience of your play.

Nancy Hilliard, M. Ed.

It doesn't get any better than that.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A new resolution

I don't know about you, but I'm a big resolution guy.

I know, I know. Everybody dives into each New Year with high hopes for self-improvement, only to give up two weeks later when that diet or newly purchased gym membership gets pushed aside by the busyness of life.

Keeping to diets and a strict exercise regimen are not a problem for me. And that's becuase of one very simple reason. I don't even try.

Instead, my resolutions revolve around writing. In 2012, I fell way behind in submissions, so for 2013 I vowed that I would submit one play to one contest or theatre company each day of the year.

How did I do? Well, I was absolutely faithful for three months. And when I finally quit midway through April, it wasn't because I got lazy or busy. I simply ran out of submission opportunities. And for the rest of the year, I continued to submit to opportunites as they popped up. As a result, I ended up with a total of 191 submissions for 2013.

Some could look at that and say I failed. But I say that's 191 possibilities for production or publication that I hadn't had before. And that's probably 150 more than if I hadn't made that resolution.

So what is my resolution for this year? Well, I intend to keep submitting. Last year's resolution established a habit that I feel confident I'll continue in this bright new year. But to be honest, it shouldn't be that hard because there just aren't that many opportunities I can submit to.

And that brings me to the main problem that I faced last year. I don't have many opportunities to submit to because I don't have much new material.

It's not because I didn't work hard. I maintained my hour a day writing commitment every day without fail (if I missed a day, I made up for it with an extra hour the next day).

It's just that I struggled to finish anything. And that's largely because every day, I put off my writing until I was plumb exhausted--I often wrote from midnight to 1 am or later--and then I was surprised when my writing wasn't very good.

So this year I'm going to focus on the quality of my writing. I'm going to do my writing first thing when I get home from my day job, when my brain is sharp (no more Facebook until I'm done!). And I'm going to get to bed by midnight so that my brain will be fresh the next day.

I suspect that last one will be the tough one. I'm a night owl, and I love to stay up late surfing the web or watching Marx Brothers movies.

But since the beginning of this year, I've stuck to my new resolution reasonably well, and I already see the payoff in my writing.

That, I trust, will be all the motivation I need to keep going.