Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Price of a Headshot

I can't believe I need to get a headshot...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Culture of Denial

What's life like for an "emerging playwright" on a warm Saturday night in NYC? Cocaine parties in the VIP rooms of discotheques? Building barricades to stem the tide of over-aggressive lady suitors?

Or perhaps holing myself up in my apartment trying to write my next play.

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, why don't I eat worms?

"Butcherhouse" isn't out yet, I don't know what kind of life it'll find in the world, but I'd like to have my next play in some shape to show people while they're still interested in -- or curious about -- my work. Interest is such a tenuous thing...

"Chinadoll Overdrive" is a concept I've kicked around for years now. I just need to write it out of my system. It's complicated in unique ways. It feels good to see it solidify into something after being this loose, liquid idea in my head for the past 5 years. It's evolved and it's evolving. It's become what I need to write right now.

There's no external pressure to finish it, which is precisely why I need to finish it now. I've got time to make it what I want it to be. Time never seems to be on my side. I've always been afraid that I'm not a fast enough writer. I really should have a lot more to show for the past 10 years than I do. But I'm trying to catch up. I've made some good progress this year. I just have to keep it going. Which means leading a pretty uninteresting personal life. Sorry!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hey, Ladies!

My play's now lacking a Honey Hardbody and a Donna Sweetheart. And I thought we were doing so well...

Honestly, I thought they were going to be the easiest to cast. Not that they're easy parts to play, but the text isn't Shakespeare. I hazard to say they're good parts, open to a variety of "types" and interpretations.

I am thankful that my Casting Director and Play Director are being as choosy as they are. Yes, I have veto power over all the decisions -- the SPF organization is very good about keeping to their mission statement about shows built around supporting the writer -- but I'm not the one who's going to be spending 5 hours a day working with these actors. I'd like us to have a cast that we're all excited about.

But I guess the musical chairs casting is par for the course. It's a top showcase, but it's just a one-week run.


I've finally updated my website. Not much on it, but it gives you the information you need.

Under screenplays, it lists something called "The Broken Hearted", which is actually a script that I aborted because the premise hewed a bit too close to something that's coming out. But I didn't take it off my list because I like the title and I guess I just have to write an action script with that title...

9 inches forward, 2 inches back

Friday, we had 8 of 9 roles cast. Today, we have 7 of 9.

We lost a good actress to a job with higher pay. I never met her but I'm told she was a good actress.

Damn shame. Though I guess this is part of the excitement of a festival like this. It's part of theater. Every day is "Anything-Can-Happen Day".

So, we're looking for two lucky ladies... To play a "Honey" and a "Donna"...

I feel sorry for the casting director. We were nearly out of his hair and now he's gotta deal with this. In addition to the 14 other plays in this festival.

You two have got to be out there somewhere...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Rocket Queen

Another SPF party Friday night. I was introduced to the producer of The Lieutenant of Inishmore, who's just been nominated for a Tony. Wish I'd known that. (Where are my handlers?!) He was really nice, though, and I hope he comes to see my little show.

Did an interview with the SPF Media Coordinator. The SPF website continues to evolve and we've even got our own page now. The description of the play's been adjusted, which I'm thankful for. It's not perfect, but at least people will know it's a "darkly comic horror show".

I think in the application that I absently filled out, I described the play as "four high school students search for their missing history teacher". But I'd described the play so many different ways by then -- and had met with nothing but rejection --for the SPF application I thought to myself, What would the TV Guide description be if this were a movie?

We reap what we sow...

Exciting stuff afoot. Chatted with my director, Tom Caruso, Friday morn; he offered me production updates. Everything seems to be moving along swimmingly. Tom described some of the set ideas and I cannot wait to see them.

The whole thing's gotten me more excited about the play I'm currently writing. The idea that more people might be interested in reading it depending on the reception of BUTCHERHOUSE. I feel like a man on a mission. These next two plays, I've got to get them written and out of my system. And then I can start to think about what I'd like to do next.

(Unless, of course, SPF throws me a monkey wrench...)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Butcherhouse Showtimes

SPF 2006 Presents
The Butcherhouse Chronicles
[Beckett Theatre]

Tuesday, July 11

Wednesday, July 12

Thursday, July 13

Friday, July 14

Saturday, July 15

Sunday, July 16

Tickets go on sale June 5th!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Don't You Know Me...?

Received my "welcome packet" from SPF today. Letter from Arielle Tepper, contracts to sign, contact list, SPF production handbook, schedule for my shows (I'll post them), schedule of industry events. I feel like I'm in college again! An intense, abbreviated program.

There's another party Friday night, at Theatre Row. I love it. When you have no life, you cherish every invitation you can get your grubby little hands on. I'm trying to play it cool, but I can't hide the fact that I'm excited to be in this company. Did I mention that I have no real life to speak of?

June 6th, me and some of my creative team are going to speak at an NYU journalism class. The teacher's a big fan of SPF and she wants her students to get some practice writing about upcoming arts events. I wonder which other teams have been asked to do this.

I'd like to get a better sense of these other teams. It's so easy to keep to your own project in this thing, but I'm genuinely curious! I'm getting to know the other playwrights by GOOGLING them at work, like a fucking stalker. It seems all of them have enjoyed more recognition for their work before SPF than I have. I'm going to be spending a lot of time explaining who I am and what I've done...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

193 Monologues

193 monologues within roughly 7 hours. No breaks. That's what I subjected myself to today. To find one girl that we're calling back. I've officially a new respect for casting directors.

The SPF casting director let me sit in for the "college age" open call today. I had to pee for the last four hours but I didn't want to disrupt the flow of auditions and I didn't want to miss a thing. This one girl did a Sam Shepherd monologue about urinating. It felt like I was doing a David Blaine stunt.

Of course, I didn't have to sit through all that. That's the casting director's job. I'm just one of the playwrights and none of the other teams opted to sit in on it. But the fact of it is, I've got this incredible creative team doing all this work on my behalf and I don't want to take any of it for granted. I could essentially lay back for the next two months, but I want to feel like a part of this process.

I mean, I *am* a part of this process. I'm making sure that this production remains true to my intentions and aspirations for the piece. But I'm so accustomed to the level of theater where everybody gets their hands dirty and everyone does the heavy-lifting, it's weird to just let all these other people do the tough work. Sure, writing's no picnic in the park, but some of things I wrote into this play create some very real logistical issues that will need to be solved. From casting to the amount of blood on the stage. (I didn't *think* I wrote a lot of blood into it...)

It was a good experience today. It was tough but it was fascinating.

I'm going to try to focus more on getting writing done while my team gets to work. Two more full-length plays this year. A completed draft of my new one by the time the SPF month launches. I think these are reasonable goals that I can surpass. It's amazing what one can accomplish when you clear away distractions...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Don't Lean on Me, Man, Coz You Can't Afford the Ticket

Yes, it's early. Tickets go on sale June 5th. But there's talk of the entire month of shows getting sold out pretty quickly. It's only $10 a ticket; cheaper than a movie and a helluva lot cheaper than your average theatre show. So if you really want to see my show, I suggest you buy your tickets as soon as it goes on sale.

I don't know if anybody's reading this blog. To my friends, you don't have to feel obligated to go to this one. Yeah, I've been thankful for your support over the years, but this festival's bigger than anything I've ever been a part of, and I've got no comps. I actually have to buy myself a ticket for my own premiere! I guess I'm saying, there's a lot of people who are going to end up seeing this. And hopefully, it won't be the last time this show gets seen. So if you're busy or not that hopped up to see it this July, please don't feel obligated.

But if you do want to see it -- or any of the other shows -- do NOT wait to buy your tickets...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Launch party @ Ari Tepper's incredible apartment last night...

Changed into some party clothes in a bathroom stall at work at the end of my shift. Walked up to the address just to case the area. I hate being late but I hate being early. Got up there with over half an hour to kill. Walked over to Central Park East and sat on a bench listening to my iPod and reading a magazine.

Walked back to the address around 7:32pm. Elevator operator took a bunch of us up... I swear, that elevator went up an interminable number of flights...

I'm terrible at the art of mingling. There must be some sort of course one could take. I invariably get stuck chatting with one person for nearly the entirety of the party. It was good talking to my director because I'm still getting to know him, but my eyes kept darting about the room to all the other interesting-looking people. The wine was emboldening me and I kind of assumed I'd get a chance to make more rounds, but the party thinned out before I knew it...

I did get to meet a lot of the people I've been communicating with exclusively via email/phone, which was a trip. Shook hands with Arielle Tepper, who seemed thoroughly underwhelmed to meet me. (I have that effect on people.)

Well, it's just the first party. I'll get better at this, I swear...

Friday, May 05, 2006

When Does This Get Fun?

"Sometimes I'm working on a film and someone will ask me if I'm having fun. And I'm tempted to tell them the truth: No, absolutely not. Having no fun here at all. You know what's going to be fun? When it's done, and I've done a fuckin' good job, and I know people are getting something out of that. I'll have a lot of fun then. A ton of it."
Philip Seymour Hoffman

This is how I feel about writing.

And I'm Sailing...

I realize I haven't posted a real entry on this yet. I've just been trying to be careful about what's on here. I'm sure few people have seen this site so far, but it may acquire more traffic as things pick up.

We're in the process of casting at the moment. Yesterday was the first time I saw an actress, who's worked in major tv & film, read my lines. It was humbling.

I'm starting to get excited. Yesterday was the first time in this process that I've seen the sparks of what this show COULD be. It is surreal seeing all these actors try out my words. (It's a little unsettling initially.) I've never been through a professional casting process like this...

I wrote the play. I know how it goes. I know everything I put into it, and my 2000 intentions. But just watching these auditions is like rediscovering my own play. To think I'd given up on this play and it would have been left buried in my drawer had it not gotten into this festival.

This has the potential to be an amazing show! Is that arrogant? Egotistical? I'm not directing it, or designing the sets or costumes, or composing the music. Aside from approving of things, and perhaps clarifying some details, all my creative input is the text on the page. The show is this remarkable team that's being assembled around the text...


Okay... this is why I was trying to be careful about writing real entries in this thing. Hey, I'm really harsh on my own work and I struggle so hard to get it "just right", so when I'm able to get it to where I want it to be I'm really proud of the effort.

Crank up the hype machine... now.