Sunday, December 21, 2014

Our year in painstaking review

Doesn’t that sound like fun at Christmas time? Just when you are busy as hell and gadding about to snow themed parties and cautiously debating whether to have a 5th or 6th drink or get that reindeer tattoo – you get this in your inbox and let out a gusty sigh. Who wants to read my entire year in review? Not even me.


Fabian’s year in the style of a Michael Bay Action sequence:

Fabian pounds into the Woolworths warehouse and runs for the layer picker he grabs an oversized wrench and hurls it at the vast robotic creature that has created itself from pallets and banana’s. “Grrrrrarrrggg” it howls, somehow. Fabian throws his Manager, Matt, to the ground saving his life and simultaneously using him as a jettison point. Something explodes. Something else explodes. Fab seizes some sort emblematic piece of machinery that you might find in a food warehouse and is immediately promoted to a Systems Specialist able to defeat large transformer-derivative creatures via the use of logic and a combination of DOS based technology. Women throw themselves at his feet and all their clothes fall off, he ignores them and sacrifices himself to save fresh produce as we know it.

(Fabian is still alive)

Gabriel – in the style of Adventure Time.

Gabriel the Human climbed a vast mountain made of staples and eyeballs, he is feeling a bit weary as he was up late playing “Battle Fight” with his friend and housemate Louie the Cat. Grade one had also really tired him out – it had been one long year of fighting lolly based creatures, excelling at maths and extolling an astounding numbers of non-sequitors. Gabe’s reading had come on leaps and bounds though and between reading ancient demonic texts and The Treehouse books he was becoming an avid reader. “Hapkido Way”, he screamed as he was attacked by penguins – that yellow 2 belt was coming handy, he could take down arctic animal life as easily as he could take down animated evil trees! Then Louie farted.

(For those of you that have seen Adventure Time, you will marvel at my semi ability to capture the nonsensical nature, to those that haven’t seen it, you’ll be mystified, as I generally am). 

Bridgette – in the style of Serial.

All in all everything Bridgette had done through the year was pointing to one thing. Or was it? When you weighed the facts and re-read the signs were things as clear we had previously thought? There were so many rumours to begin with, rumours to be believed – successful theatre shows and writing projects and rumours to be discounted – affairs with Prince Harry and double jointedness. But which rumours do you pay attention to? Did Bridgette dye her hair red as asserted by her hair dresser, Jasmine? Can we even believe Jasmine, after all – she also said that she made the phone call dated 2/8/14, but her phone was nowhere near that mobile tower at the time. One thing is for certain, nothing is as clear as when the year started and nothing will be resolved by the end of it. Next time on Serial: 2015.

(If you haven’t listened to Serial, then you should. Get with the program). 

Merry Christmas. Don’t take things too seriously.

Bridgette, Fabian and Gabriel.  

Ps, people dress an astounding variety of animals in Xmas costumes. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Writing for the small, small screen

It would be great to say that the reason why I haven't posted here about writing is because of all the writing I'm doing. It would be great. Really great.

So. That's me. How are you?

I have been writing - just not as much as I should, or on the things I should. There's a pattern. I see it very easily. I should be writing 1AZ - or at least refining it. Where are my zombie peeps at? We are planning a development on that - it's really in it's infant stages - the development, not even walking, just lying on the floor waving its arms. Still very cute. I will work with Wayne Pearn on the development and we will inveigle actors and it will all come together in the oddly magical way that theatre does. As I have been heard to say before "It all worked out ok because lots of people suffered". Heartwarming.

Adorable Zombie Baby.
I guess I should have figured this out, but, the results you get back when you Google "baby zombie" are disturbing. To say the least.

What else have I been writing? Monologues. I submitted three to the MadWomen Monologues and two have been chosen. "Big whoop" I hear you say - "You run that festival". True dat, but I don't decide if my own monologues get in folks. That be out of my hands. So I'm pleased that they are in and if you would like to read them and the one that didn't make it then here they be: Reunion Blues, Letters from My Mum and Picking Dad Up. Picking Dad Up didn't make the final cut. If you're in Melbs and you like the theatre you should come to the monologues. I am performing this year :)

Chris and I toasting all those great monologues
And finally *trumpetty noise from mouth* I have been writing Fury again. Poor Fury, left to languish in creative purgatory with a bunch of other weirdos. Alice Bishop and I have decided to make it into a web series. It solves a few issues for us, in that we had adult actors playing teens, and we didn't want to have to organise teens for a three week run of a play. So now we don't have to. We can hire them for a week and film them. We decided to get away from it all for a writing weekend to Forrest. It's in a forest, yes.

I love Alice. Let me just be clear about this. The idea of going away with her anywhere already gets me vibrating at a slightly higher frequency. The notion of having her all to myself for more than 24 hours was almost too much to bear! I am going to blame that excitement and also a bowl of soup on the unfortunate bout of food poisoning that I got on the Thursday night before we were meant to go. On the Friday when we were supposed to be gaily sallying forth to Forrest - I was weak and delicate and feeling extremely sorry for myself.

I feels ya kid, I feels ya.
So, we made plans to leave the following day for a writing day. Not as salubrious as a writing weekend, but I didn't care - I had stopped vomiting and the weekend was looking great.

We drove to Forrest, taking a couple of detours through other forests that weren't the right one and then found the lovely little house that we had been given for the weekend/night. Right nearby was a coffee shop (hooray!) and then up the road some sort of nice looking eatery (Hooray!) and lots of places to walk and talk. So we did that. We walked and talked. Not about Fury - don't be SILLY! About all the other stuff that is interesting on the planet. After our lovely walk we then went back and knuckled under.

Us, but in front of an open fire.
We decided to write 7 episodes for the series - each one about 5 to 7 minutes in length. We began with a synopsis. This involved a lot of us thinking about the original script and what we liked from that and deciding what to keep. Interestingly the character that we had originally pegged as the leader of the group has disappeared and been replaced with another member. As we talked about it we realised that this character - Lish - had a lot of components that we needed and she also effectively allowed us to bring our main cast to 5 - four girls and a guy. All teenagers.

Lookit all those teens sexting and whatnot.
Webisodes make you work quite hard. We needed to be economical in the story telling and make the most of our visuals. We need to keep the pace up and end each one on an effective "cliff hanger" - a reason for watchers to come back. It was easy. And really fun. Said no one. Ever. (Except that it was and it was).

We celebrated how amazingly clever we were by realising that the decent eatery up the road was closed and that we only had the local pub to eat at. How to describe this pub... hmm... so lets say that you had money to decorate a country pub and you put a quite a bit of it into some nice corrugated iron walls and other bits and bobs and then at the end you were trying to figure out how to finish it off... Then you realised that neon lights and TV's everywhere would complete the vision. And awful food. AWFUL. So that wasn't quite so droll. It didn't matter though because Alice and I had cheese and chocolate and wine with us because we are not STUPID.

We wrote the first episode on our return and then I had to sleep as I was still not myself and the food at the pub had not helped in the slightest. The next day Alice and I packed up the wee house and went off to find ourselves some coffee and brekky. This turned out to be in Why River (?) Wy (?) Ah well. I guess I'll never know.

We wrote the second episode there and thusly proceeded home feeling mighty pleased. It was my job to format everything properly and then send it back to Alice. And there we are. Bing bang boom. Just like that. So now we have to write the rest and then we get a producer and then we get money. It all seems pretty straight forward.

And then... ZOMBIES!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Moving away to get close.

It is hard to write when you can distract yourself. I've said this before. There are things that want your attention everywhere!

Curse you rock!
I sit down to write and then I can see that the top of the plant stand is a bit dusty and I know I can't write when there is dust! I sit down to write and I need a cup of tea, or the washing should be hung out, or Gabriel sets out on a duologue for one, or I have to work, or I just... don't feel like it.

And there are things to write. Believe me. Plays and blogs and monologues and short plays and press releases and grant applications, oh yes, there are things to write.

So I went away. I went north this time. Some of you, who read this blog, and that is about 16 people, may recall that I went to the beach about 2 years ago and wrote there. This time I went to spa country, Kyneton. This is what small town life is like for the gentrified and well off. There are food stores that sell 15 types of artisanal honey, everyone is a barrista, and if they aren't a barrista then they are just up here at their weekend place. Or, like my charming hosts, they own a beautiful property and easily distracted writers stay in it. 

Don't get me wrong, I am perfectly able to be distracted in Kyneton too, there are things there as well. Just not as many things as there are at my house.

I had set myself the task of finishing the first draft of 1 AZ - the zombie comedy.Yes, I'm still working on that. It is pretty funny, if I do say so myself. I sent it off to Playwriting Australia and although they
declined to develop it, they did ring me up and talk to me about the play which I thought was very decent of them. Their main concern was they weren't sure where it was going. I can understand their qualms. Where does a zombie comedy go? In my case, it goes blacker and blacker until - you know - it's pretty damn dark.

I have had the shorter play performed about 4 times now, it's been quite successful with Short and Sweet. In a coincidence of fairly high proportions one of the dramaturgs for Playwriting Australia (Brenden Hooke) ended up directing it for the Sydney version of S&S.  He was very complimentary regarding the longer version.

So I was in Kyneton to write that first draft. Which I did. Pretty anticlimactic right? I spent a bit of time thinking about which people die and which people live and then how they live and die respectively. And then I wrote it all down.

The thing about finishing something - like a first draft, is that you just have to make a whole bunch of decisions and then stick to them. If it is any consolation to other writers trying to finish a first draft - there are many mistakes made and I also have a few gaping holes where characters are alive and then dead. But the first draft is done.

So many funny memes about zombies....
I have sent the whole thing off to the RE Ross Trust and I am hoping that they might consent to give me about 8k so that I can develop the play to a second draft. That would be a fine thing. If not, then I'll no doubt develop the thing myself - for no money - as I usually do.

The other play that I am meant to be writing is Fury. My other child. Here is what happened to Fury. I wrote the play with a group pf extraordinary actors and a brilliant director. I had an amazing time, a time of great learning and fun. And then we put the reading on for the first draft and it was received really well. And then I completely changed my mind about the ending. Not only that, I completely changed my frame of reference regarding the nature of bullying.

I still want to use the 3D projection for the show, I still want to have it be about young women and the way that technology has changed the nature of bullying. But I need my character to live, at the moment she dies. It's a big change. So I have stalled on the play. I wish that I hadn't, for lots of reasons. I know that I will go back to it.

Probably I need to go away again. This time I think that I'll head to the high country. So that I can horseride. NO, I mean, so that I can write.

That is a good looking horse.
That's what I've been doing. Writing. And I went to San Diego too. Didn't write a word whilst I was there.