Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Movie we were in--Uncle Bingo

A couple years back, Chris, Ian, Hannah and I were in an independent
film--no pay but it was interesting. Chuck Magee of Wounded Rat Productions
recently posted a trailer on You Tube:

On the running time, I'm at about :07, Ian (the mime) is about 1:48 and
2:07, Chris is at about 2:03-2:04. Hannah isn't in the trailer.
Next week we get to go watch the whole movie (just a private screening for
the cast).
What a riot!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Other Members of My Writer's Group

It is a delight to critique (critique, not criticize--in the hopes that the work being critiqued will improve and have a better chance of getting published) the work of my writer group friends. I am thrilled when one of them either finishes a major project or actually gets published. Three out of four of us have been published and gotten money for it. I have a hard time counting mine (except I loved the check part) because the two manuscripts I sent out were short and one of them, although paid for, hasn't yet been seen in print.

G has finished numerous middle grade and YA novels. And every other month, he has a great idea for another one--no, no, he doesn't just have the idea, he writes the first few chapters. He hasn't been published yet but I'm anxious to have him be "discovered." I wish an editor would hurry up and do that. I have to have his book before I can get an autograph.

C writes interesting travel articles. Yes, compared to the dry, uninteresting travel articles. Every time he brings in one for us to critique--that would be every time we have "group"--I want to go where he's writing about. Now and then the travel article doesn't have enough personality so he rewrites it and brings it back as unique as he is. He has been featured in an email newsletter for MONTHS now. I wonder if it's been a year yet.

A illustrates and writes. It's marvelous. I do have A's autograph on a magazine cover she did and on a "comic book" she created for a non-profit. But the chapters she brings in for a couple of different novels she's working on make great reading. The characters are so distinct and fun to read about.

And then there's me... I really shouldn't be so selfish. I'm learning so much by critiquing their work but I'm not bringing enough in for them to practice critiquing mine. A presenter at a writer's conference said that you should join a writer's group to critique work rather than have work critiqued because you learn more that way. I better exhibit a bit more self-discipline and make myself write gobs of material for the sake of the group. I suppose that means getting up early or not watching as many movies...or perhaps I could just think and type faster. Ooo. I'll do that!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Best Vacation

I'm exhausted from teaching mime classes, auditioning kids and beginning a new rehearsal period. It's times like these that I think of the best vacation we ever had.

Our plan was to spend Christmas break with my husband's folks. We told everyone. But about three days before we were to leave, one or more of the kids got sick, so we couldn't go. We neglected to let anyone know that we weren't going. We spent two weeks at home with few phone calls and visitors. It was quiet and slow and wonderful.

Auditions are Tough

I not a good auditioner. I know I can do a marvelous job for a director once cast but it's getting the part in the first place that I have a hard time with.

More difficult still is being the director doing the casting. Especially if it's kids auditioning. There's always something slightly unique about each kid's audition. It would be such a delight to work with each kid in a spectacular role. But there aren't enough spectacular parts to go around. As a director, I can only hope the kids who are cast will make the best of their parts whether or not it's ones they wanted.

Directors tend to quote Alexander Pope, "Act well your part; there all the honor lies," or Stanislavsky's "There are no small parts, only small actors," in trying to encourage actors--especially kids and youth--to feel good about a small part they ended up with. But disappointment is disappointment and it doesn't go away with a good quote. I always do the best I can for any role I'm cast in but I might be disappointed for a day or so if I didn't get the part I hoped for. So I feel disappointed and then it goes away and I enjoy the rest of the process. That's life in general, isn't it?

Monday, June 22, 2009


That's the title of my new script which will be performed on July 21 and 22. I had fun creating it. There are three storylines from tales of three: The Three Pigs, The Three Billy Goats Gruff and the Three Bears. I couldn't resist so the cast and characters are in multiples of three. There are 6 sign carriers, 3 reporters, 3 wolves with the three pigs, along with three sellers of building material (straw, stick, brick), 2 trolls with the billy goats, and three girls--Goldilocks, Curlilocks and Purplelocks. The songs in it are called Three is a Magical Number, Haggle-Haggle-Bargain, New Story New Story (lyrics by me; music by a talented friend), Three is a Magical Number Reprise. Yay! That goal was reached. (It helped that there was a deadline for writing it and I am being paid royalties for it).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Week that Went By

My daughter went to church girls' camp. My husband went as a leader. I had the house to myself from Tuesday afternoon to Saturday morning. One would think that would be a great opportunity for serious writing concentration. Nope. The week went by busier than usual...yes, busier. Or at least it felt that way. I have come to the conclusion there is no perfect time to concentrate on anything. I just have to make the time to do what I want to do; or use the time I do have whether or not it's a good time to concentrate. I'll have to keep a time journal for a few days and evaluate my spenditure of that precious commodity.

"But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them..." Jim Croce "Time in a Bottle" (I wish it was "Thyme in a Bottle;" I have some growing in my garden)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Girl in the First Row

Today we performed "Paul Bunyan" for a small group. The family in the first row come to these shows on a regular basis. Today it was the young lady's birthday. She was selected as Babe the Blue Ox. I hope she had a great birthday with us, and for the rest of the day!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Files

Usually I have a LOT going on (you know, life). Yesterday was different for some reason. I hit the afternoon and sat at my desk thinking "what's next on my list?" I didn't have anything with a drop-dead deadline, but I had to do something. So, I pulled up my files of writing projects. Just my current list of projects is long, not to mention my to-be-written file full of ideas. Those are just the ones on my computer. There's a file folder on my desk that is positively FAT with writing ideas. Everything was almost overwhelming to look at. In my Stories file in my computer, I have one file for each of my projects (to hold all the different versions and outlines). A while back, I numbered the top four books I wanted to work on. I choose to work on Project #3. I looked at the date of the last time I worked on it...OVER A YEAR AGO! I had to read all 50 pages to figure out where I was. That's just embarrassing. Maybe it's time to be more disciplined and get up at 5 a.m. so I can have a couple of hours of uninterrupted time for writing. (HAHAHAHA. I knew I couldn't say that with a straight face!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rejection Letters on the Horizon

After researching children magazine publishers for an hour or two, I submitted two of my stories to two different magazines. So that means in about three months I should be getting rejection letters in the mail...or a wonderful surprise.

Now it may seem I'm being pessimistic about my chances of getting a story published. No, I don't think so. I believe my stories are pretty good, many times they're better than things I've read. But the chances of my story hitting the exact right editor at the exact right time are slim. There are numerous people submitting stories. But because my stories are well-written, because I act professional (I type up my pages on plain paper, double-spaced; I don't pour perfume on them or send a box of chocolates with them just to be noticed, for example), and because I keep on editing my work and submitting it, I believe that eventually I will be published multiple times. What a paradox, eh, believing my chances are slim but believing I'm still going to be published? Well, I just have to keep submitting (and writing and editing and researching to whom to submit).

My optimism shows in the fact that I am still submitting.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Theater Activity #2: Answer with a Question

This is a fun concentration game for two...maybe a killer concentration game (but if you get good at it, it's fun to watch friends get flustered):

A asks B a question.B answers with a question. And on it goes. No hesitating, no repeating a question over and over (e.g. "why?" "why?"), no changing the subject, no statements, or partial statements (e.g. "No. Did you?").

A: Do you play soccer?
B: Do I look like a soccer player?
A: What does a soccer player look like?
B: I don't know.Why? [BUZZ-statement]

B's turn to go first:
B: Is your hair naturally brown?
A: Can't you see my hair is red?
B: Why do you think your hair is red?
A: Are your eyes blue? [BUZZ-change of subject]

Now they're both concentrating hard:
A: What's your favorite food?
B: Are you familiar with Thai food?
A: Is that your favorite food?
B: Do you think it's my favorite food?
A: Why would you mention it if it weren't?
B: Did you know there are 10 Thai restaurants in town?
A: Are there any in my area?
B: Where do you live?
A: Haven't you been to my house?
B: Who would know better than you?
And if they go a little faster, it gets harder.

So practice awhile, then challenge me to a game...
Do you think you can beat me? :)