Archive for the 'Writing' Category

5 Reasons To Do a Solo Show

March 24, 2009

Here’s the scenario:  4 weeks to workshop and write a solo show.  2 weeks to rehearse and be offbook and perform at a KICK BUTT off-Broadway venue.  Impossible, you say?  We did it!

I teamed up with another kick butt actress and we did two of our pieces to a super enthusiastic audience.  Many of my friends (actors and not) came up to me and said: “I want to do that too!”.  And they should!  Here’s why:

1.  Everyone has a story to tell. And I mean everyone.  Your Aunt Biddy, the mailman, your next door neighbor.  Sharing a story doesn’t have to be done solely by actors.  By sharing where you come from, expressing what you have on your mind, you make the world a better place.  It’s important to follow a story structure, having a consistent persona, overcoming obstacles AND having the lesson learned.  For more info on that, check out Matt Hoverman. He is one of the most underrated, talented teachers in New York City.  If you are thinking of doing a solo show, he’s the go to guy.

2.  It’s fun! When people are laughing with you and captivated by your story, it’s exhilerating.

3.  It’s Challenging It is not easy to write a show.  If you write a historical piece or an autobiographical piece, it can be challenging.  You hit road blocks.  If you set out to perform your piece, it’s REALLY challenging.  Your mind tells you that you’re crazy, that you shouldn’t be doing it.  It threatens to go out on you while you’re on stage.  When you successfully read your stuff or perform on stage, you trancend your negative thoughts.  It’s very empowering.

4.  It can be good for your career If you are an actor or thinking of pursuing an acting career, it CAN be good for your career.  The actors that I’ve admired have been writers themselves (John Leguizamo, Hugh Laurie, Liz Lemon…uh Tina Fey).  Most recently I learned that Aasif Mandvi, corespondent on The Daily Show had his big break after he performed  his solo show.  And why not?  It seperates him from all others in his “type” and puts him in the spotlight.  There are many actors who complain that their agents suck, that they are not getting the opportunities to be seen.  As an actor, you must make your own opportunities and “products”.  This is how you get seen, by putting yourself out there.

5.  Your show can make people happy After my show, I had one friend call me and tell me saw me face my fears about a certain topic and she had the courage to overcome an issue she was facing.  Another friend said that the show made him think about life and his son.   People’s eyes and faces were shining with smiles.  Yea, they had been touched by the story, but most of all (and most important to me) they had been ENTERTAINED.  With all the doom and gloom in the news, it feels fantastic to make other people feel good.  Yea, we’re all in this together 😀

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Thanksgiving 2008

November 27, 2008

I had an audition on Monday, the first since I’ve had the baby.  I was really on the fence about going because I was exhausted and Baby M had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon and I didn’t think I’d have time to prep.  My friend encouraged me to go.

The verdict was that I didn’t suck, but I was definitely not prepared.  I was not in the right state of mind mentally and physically.  However, I do not regret going on the audition.  It gave me a barometer of where I was and what I need to do to get back into my audition mode.  I’m looking to take an audition technique class next month.

In writing news, the screenplay group is on hold this week and meeting up first week in December.  I’m still writing though.  How the hell did Sylvestor Stallone write Rocky in a week?  Or was it 3 days?

I’m also taking the solo show class which has been quite challenging.  I’ve wanted to write a solo show for some time and is precisely what I’ve been looking for.  The people are extremely talented, the teacher is experienced and has an excellent track record of getting shows off the ground.  Facing myself and my life has been interestingly tough.  I knew one really respected actress who took this class and she said: “After a while I realized I just need therapy!”  and I laughed because I knew what she meant.

Why am I doing this with a newborn infant?  Am I insane?  Actually, if I didn’t have a creative outlet with other creative people I believe I would be really insane.  Keeping myself tapped in and creating help me be a better person and therefore a better mother.  I never want to feel resentful towards my daughter because she is one of the greatest gifts ever bestowed upon me.   I want her to see her mother happy and fulfilled while hopefully being a caring and loving mom.

Must sleep…

July 14, 2008

I’m in the third trimester and officially 29 weeks.  It’s very exciting and also a bit nervewracking to realize I’m going to be a mom in less than a month in a half.  The baby likes to make her presence known and she is often moving around and wiggling when I’m sleeping making me a zombie in the morning.

Editing session for today may be pushed back 2 hours due to lack of sleep last night…:-p  Must go back to bed and catch some Z’s.

The screenplay is finished…

July 14, 2008


Above:  My messy process….

Last Thursday I finished the script.  I didn’t plan to and it happened in sort of a strange way.  I had been transposing some things I had written last month into the script and found myself hitting various benchmarks within the script (midpoint, plot points, etc.) and then ultimately writing: THE END.  And that was that.  No confetti fell, no clap of thunder and no birds started singing outside of my window.  

That said, I also know that there will be countless revisions.  There are already things that I know won’t work or that need to be worked on, but I’m cool with that.  

I scheduled a reading of it in August with a few actors, I’m excited to hear it out.  I’ve also FINALLY registered with the screenplay writing class which starts next week.  So I might be able to hear some things before I have the reading which is good.

Had dinner with my family last night and my brother inadvertently gave me a compliment.  He looked at me and stated flatly:  “I thought you were supposed to get fat when you get pregnant.  You look the same except you have a belly”.  Thank you, dear little brother 😀

June 4, 2008 – New Writing Technique

June 5, 2008

Today I took the train in to Manhattan and during the commute decided to put the order of my script on index cards. Every transition I would be able to physically see rather than try to recall what happened by thumbing through my script. I got this tip from Ben Affleck talking about writing Gone Baby Gone. What often puts me in a muddle is trying to figure out what happens where and figuring out how it all fits together. It’s enough to make me want to clip my nails, pluck my eyebrows, wash dishes or do anything to avoid having to deal with it.

I met with my dearest friend R for lunch and then headed to my brother’s graduation at Radio City Music Hall. It was almost three hours and by the end of it, I had to get out before everyone left. Sitting in the chair while pregnant was quite painful. The highlight were the CEO of the A&E channel and Chris Matthews of Hardball. The both stressed the importance of sticking with things and being absolutely tenacious with whatever your passion was. They offered personal and stories of their humble beginnings and how they “made it”. The female CEO of A&E described herself as a girl from Queens and Chris Matthews said his first job was as a Capitol cop so he might infiltrate Washington’s “in” group.

Apparently some people think Chris Matthews is a jerk, I’m not sure because I haven’t seen him in action. But what I do know is that I liked what he had to say today. I hope I can find that speech on YouTube.

Celebrity Quote

June 3, 2008

Funny quote from Triggerstreet.com

“A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to be known then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.” – Fred Allen

Learning tips from successful writers…

June 3, 2008

I’ve been listening to Creative Screenwriting podcasts and they are terrific. So far I’ve listened to the writers of Little Miss Sunshine, Shaun of The Dead and Juno.

The writer I seemed to relate to most to was Michael Arndt because he was from Brooklyn and discussed how difficult it was to find people to give back good criticism. Constructive and succinct without crushing and without coddling you. He also quit his job because he felt that writing after work and on the weekends was for the birds.

Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg talked about their cartoon flip book style of writing which blew my mind. They would do their entire movie with drawings on sheets of paper before they went to the computer. It pushed my creative button big time because I’ve always enjoyed acting AND drawing and felt that I must either ACT or DRAW and I felt those two worlds could not meet.

Diablo Cody talked about how she was working her ass off at two jobs while writing her script. She also commented on how critics ALWAYS tried to discredit her and put her down by saying that she was a sophomore success. It’s very interesting how naysayers work. I wonder if those naysayers had any screenplays that they had written, or any projects they, themselves were working on.

Anyway a little juice to keep me (and you, dear reader, going ^_^)

In more mundane, short film news, we’re getting the computer this week or next and I’ll be able to edit!! Also found a GREAT film student to help out with the titles. Things are humming. 🙂

August 30, 2008

April 30, 2008

Today I went to New Jersey for a theater audition. It went well though I realized I could use a new monologue. I’ve used it for a very very long time. It’s like Marge Simpson when she buys the expensive Chanel suit and keeps re-purposing it over and over until she has nothing left but a Chanel bikini. I’ll work on one that my acting coach had suggested.

On the way back to New York I rode back with two other actors who also took NJ Transit. What could have been long, awkward ride turned into a really delightful time. We chatted about television shows, movies, plays and musicals (Note to self: must see Passing Strange) and acting. These guys work pretty consistently, have good heads on their shoulders and just nice good folks. If I have the opportunity to give people work, I’d definitely call them in.

Tomorrow I set up an appointment to do my first edit of my short comedy, SUPER psyched about that. Can’t believe it’s happening because the editing was the thing that was an obstacle.

On a personal note, I hadn’t realized that my friend lives so close to my neighborhood. We had dinner this past weekend and tonight we are going to walk her ultra smart and adorable dog. I don’t live near many of my friends (in Manhattan) so I tend to feel a bit isolated.

Next week, I’ll start working part-time at a music store which sells high end guitars and gives music lessons. I’m excited about that because it will introduce some sort of regularity and I have a feeling the people will be nice.

Happy Monday

April 21, 2008

I took the blog down temporarily due to a blog snafu but it’s back up now!

I met with MG today and he showed me photos he had taken of his travels in Morocco, Spain, Tusnia, The Netherlands (where we got to meet up last year), Sweden etc. They were beautiful and also laid out by this really cool Flash application he created.

I went to lunch at Cafe Gitane with AS and we ate the yummiest food. She talked about how she has begun interviewing famous Hollywood types and gave really hilarious accounts of doing it We share the same philosophy in life, of creating your own opportunities, of being persistent and going after what you want. Having a conversation with her was invigorating and a lot of fun. I encouraged her to work on this show she wanted to do and she encouraged me to do an online video of finishing a script.

I dropped by SMC’s house and worked on my screenplay, some of the edits that needed work. Psyched! SMC also yelled at me to get the short he acted in done. I needed that.

Then I dropped by BY’s apartment to tape his audition for a casting in LA.

Then I went to SK’s birthday party at The Rusty Knot. It was a lot of fun, I saw a few old friends from my old day job. Headed home, ate and fell asleep.

April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008

Today I woke up very early and went straight to my computer to write seven pages. I’ll admit the 7th page I pulled out of my ass but I wanted to get it done. Folks in class are up to page 27 and I didn’t want to be behind. Also, according to Israel, around page 45 things start to get easier so it encouraged me to write.

I also registered for an editing class and I’m VERY psyched about that. Finally I’ll be able to finish up my films.

I headed to class on the Upper West Side. The classroom temperature-wise was extremely warm and made everyone very sleepy. I had a difficult time paying attention due to the sleep inducing heat.

I totally forgot that I had to do a 16 week prenatal checkup so I scheduled that this Friday. After that J and I are off to Hotlanta! Yay! Change of scenery.

I realize that I need to plan my days with activities instead of chilling out by myself all the time. Being in class I definitely feel productive instead of depressed in our little apartment.