Monday, January 21, 2013

I'm Writing a Musical

I have a confession to make.... I'm writing a musical.
Proof. I'm not making this up.

This isn't like, "Oh I have a great idea that someone should turn into a musical someday." No, i'm seriously writing a musical. I have the entire thing outlined, 5 scenes written, 3 songs lyricized (is that a word? Meaning the lyrics exist, but no music has been created for it yet) and 12 characters realized. If you would have asked me a week ago, "Joey, would you ever write a musical?" I'd of probably told you "I don't know, maybe. I like coming up with ideas and... (blah blah more weak non committal babble.) "

But last Thursday I was literally struck with inspiration. It hit me, in my head, and I just started writing. It was crazy because I had never written dialog before, but it was out flowing so naturally that I couldn't stop. I invented 8 characters on the spot, and for each one I had a very specific person in mind, so I just mentally jumped into their skin and started writing dialog I think they would say. And no, I am not going to tell you people who I based these characters off of. ;D

SO, if you will allow me to make an addendum to my New Years resolution, I am going to put "Write a screenplay" on hold and add "Write a Musical." and then also add to the resolution list "Get musical produced by the end of the year." That's right. I'm going to make this happen.

For those of you who, by now, are dying of curiosity or want to steal my idea, here is the official unofficial summary: (I dont have a title for it yet) is a musical about young actors in New York trying to "Make it" but they are fed up with how backwards and broken the system is. So, since none of them are finding work, they decide to put on their own show. They experience many difficulties along the way in mounting a play, but ultimately bond together to produce one hell of a show. Filled with singing, dancing, and a huge ensemble of over 30 actors, this musical tribute to Shakespeare's A Midsummer-nights Dream will rock your socks off.

Think Sister Act 2 meets Rent meet The Mighty Ducks meet Hamlet 2. A wonderful underdog story with tons of influence from those inspirational 90's stories we all know and love.

That's where I am at with that. So random right? I am hoping to finish the first draft in a week, and I totally want to enlist all of you guys help. I need proof readers to give me honest feedback and tell me this sucks. Theatre is a collaborative art, and I truly believe that, so if you are interested in reading it, or want to steal my script, just shoot me an email or a Facebook message. The more eyes the better.

I had dinner with a professor from Clarke University last night at the Roxy (FAH-HANCE-EE) and we had a great time swapping stories catching up. One thing he said to me though that will stick with me is to "Stay Hungry," and I don't think he meant physically starve myself. What he was saying was to not settle, to keep chasing dreams, to go after goals. I think that is some very strong advice. Don't settle, don't become comfortable, don't become content. That advice really struck me as something I needed to internalize, because with this full time job I could very easily slow down and rest, but why? Why would I want to become comfortable when there is still so much to do? So what, I lose a few hours of sleep from staying up writing or doing theatre. OR maybe I have to spend money investing in my art, causing me to live off of Ramen for a few weeks. Wouldn't you rather be happy and poor than comfortable and miserable? I know I would. 

But I am digressing. Yesterday I had the extremely good fortune to direct a friend in the shooting of her acting demo reel. For those who don't know, anyone who wants to act on screen needs a good demo reel to show themselves off. Well my friend didn't have much of a reel, because she hadn't done much screen work yet, so she decided to make her own. Basically we staged a bunch of professional looking scenes that could be from TV or an indie film or something similar. And I had the pleasure of directing the acting in each one of these scenes. To the left is a moment from one of the aforementioned scenes. Thats all I can show you at the moment but I'm sure in a few week I can show you the video once it is edited. Anyways, it was a ton of fun and I have finally got my feet wet with what its like to direct with a professional film crew, and let me say, I hope my socks never dry.

So anyways, let me know if you are interested in proofing my script, and keep being awesome everyone. Until Next Time. 

"Gotta Knock a little Harder"
-Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Categorical Loaf

Ever have one of those days where you know you are supposed to blog, but you cant really think of anything to blog about? So instead you blog about not being able to blog about anything, resulting in a droll bit of boring blog prose…. Yeah that’s my day today.

So lets see… usually when its been a slow week for me personally, I look back over the past few weeks and sum up different personal stories as advice for potential new New Yorkers... But I haven’t really discovered anything new or worthwhile in awhile that would benefit others. I guess you just have slow days, right?

A lot of projects I am working on are still happening, but nothing super major has occurred with them that would be interesting to report on, just lots of little necessary steps. And no one really wants to hear me blog about getting health benefits and signing W-4’s, do they?

So I guess what I am saying is that sometimes life isn't super interesting, or super exciting. It just is. You trudge through the boring parts of it to get to the exciting bits. That’s where I am at right now. I have my metaphorical snow boots on and I am trudging through the proverbial snow banks to the allegorical grocery store of life in search of…the…categorical loaf of bread? I have no clue where I am going with this… ANYWAYS.

2013. The year of creativity. Lets make something awesome. Share it with everyone. So in lieu of anything interesting in this blog post, here is a poem I wrote. Just now. For you. Until Next Time!

Life loves little moments.
Moments defined
Not by bangs,
Or celebration.
But by silence,
And simplicity.
Live Life’s Little Moments.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Be a Director

I hate making decisions. I love it when life’s choices line up in a nice neat order and all I have to do is walk the path to success. When all I have to worry about is performing well and then opportunities present themselves in a nice neat order. Not only is this unrealistic, this is also terrible way to live. What ends up happening is that I am no longer in control of my future, and when actual decisions come up I end up waiting until the last possible moment and usually choose the easiest path. I put others happiness’s before my own.

Let me put this in perspective: I came to New York with the idea that I wanted to stage manage and then eventually work my way as a director. This makes sense right? Watch and observe directors and then learn from them. Well as it turns out, its not the 1950’s anymore. Directors no longer do this. There is no longer a neat transition from stage manager into director. If you work for 5 months as a stage manager, you are going to be known as a stage manager, and people will remember you as a stage manager, and you will get offered jobs as a stage manager. You end up pigeon holing yourself into a job you don’t want to do, of if you are like me, a job your not that good at. I want to direct. I don’t want to stage manage.

This is getting a bit deep... Here is Lenny
Kravitz in huge scarf to lighten the mood.
Until now, I had always been nervous when people asked me what I wanted to do. In my head the answer has always been “Be a Director”, but I always felt like I was being obtrusive by declaring this as my passion. So my typical answer would come across as week and non committal “oh, I want to direct someday, but right now I am working as a stage manager.” What if a rocket scientist said that? “Yeah I hope someday to be a rocket scientist, but right now I am working as an architect.” No! if you want to build rockets, you learn how to build rockets.  In the words of the glorious film Little Miss Sunshine “Do what you love, and fuck the rest.” I would rather work as a director and make lots of mistakes, than pretend to be a stage manager and take no risks.

If you haven’t gathered by now, these past few weeks I have been having a slight identity crisis. I thought I knew who I was and who I wanted to be, but all that has been coming into question in only the best of ways. I don’t know about you, but there are times where it feels like my inner identity is different from the one that people see on the outside. Machiavelli said in Chapter 18 of his guide book for young noble princes (The Prince  ca. 1532) that “Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.” I feel like this applies to me in only the negative sense in that, I am afraid to show who I am, so I show people what they want to see. I am afraid to share my opinion for fear of upsetting people or making them angry. This seems foolish, does it not?

So where am I going with all this rambling? Well lets bring it back to the beginning. Because I have been marketing myself as a stage manager, I have been getting many offers to stage manage many projects. And with all of these, I really do want to work on the projects. I love the stories, I love the people, and I love the message, because if I didn’t love everything about these plays, I wouldn’t want to stage manage them. But I am realizing that by saying yes to these projects, I am hurting myself, because I don’t want to be a stage manager. I want to be a director. So I have to do what’s best by me, and work hard at finding opportunities to direct.

This brings me to my next point. In case you have forgotten, Off the Kings Road, the play I am assistant directing, begins rehearsal this week! We just had a production meeting, and we are jumping right into rehearsals, so it should prove to be fun and exciting process. We will be rehearsing for all of January and then the show will go up in February. Check out the website!

This leads me to my next exciting piece of news. Remember on my list of goals for 2013 that one of them was to direct a play? Well seems I can cross it off already because last week I was brought onto an exciting new project as director! Thanks to an amazing friend who helped me get connected, I will be working with an exciting, young, passionate group known as the Rhapsody Collective. We will be working on creating an entirely new play from scratch and having it performed in May. I will be Blogging more about this as details emerge, but exciting, no?

And my last bit of exciting news: I was offered a Full-Time position at Actor’s Equity. My top priorities, before accepting this, was that I would have to have time to take my class from Wynn Handman, and that I would still have time to pursue artistic opportunities in theatre. After some thinking I decided that I would be able to do all of this, so I readily accepted the position! So now I officially have a full time job, with a welcomed pay increase, more hours, and health insurance. The Mom’s and Grandmom’s will be happy about that last one :)

A beautiful sunset out my window, for no reason.
Also, my friend Alison came and visited from Iowa and we didn’t waste a spare second. We walked through central park (beautiful), saw Newsies (amazing), went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (I would live there if I could),  went and saw Les Mis (also amazing), and even got to see a taping of The Late show with David Letterman! It was a busy week, but a lot of fun too.

So I think that’s everything… Existential identity crisis, check, job opportunities, check, and fun times with friends, check. Pretty much the typical week here.

That’s all for this rather lengthy blog post. Remember to make 2013 the year of creativity! For everything you consume, try and create something and then share it with someone. Write a poem or a book, or draw a picture, or make a movie, or cook fantastic food or create a sonnet, or devise a hiku, or build fort, or make a snowman, and spread the love. Until Next Time!

Cowboy: "You never know what you're gonna run into out there. If we're wearing our colors, we can't hide. "
Vermin: "Who wants to hide? "
The Warriors, 1979. Rip Sol Yurick (1925-2013)