Off Book is getting its Chicago premier on Tuesday! It’s playing on the Midwest Shorts night at the Midwest Indie Film Fest, alongside some other great shorts.
I submitted the script for the short that I’m working on to the IFP/Chicago Screenwriters Workshop, which takes place next Tuesday. The script was accepted and I get to attend an all-day workshop to develop the script:
The Screenwriter’s Workshop will take the winning writers through an intensive development process to enhance their original scripts, help writers define their voice in collaboration with actors and audiences, while preparing them for the next stage in their careers. The winning writers – local artists working in various mediums and development stages – will spend a day workshopping their scripts with the “Meet the Parents” creator Mary Ruth Clark and local actors including the 2015 graduated class of School at Steppenwolf.
I’m really grateful for this for a lot of reasons but especially because I’m planning to shoot this script in March 2016 and I haven’t done a reading of it yet. Which I almost always do, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. So it’ll be great to get it up on its feet with some professional actors and get notes/feedback from some professional eyes.
Bobby Richards, who just got a development/pilot deal with NBC, will be the lead actor in my script.
At 7:30, there will be a staged reading open at the Greenhouse Theater in Chicago (FB event), which is free and open to the public. Check it out if you’re in Chicago.
We’re not releasing any episodes on the web yet, but the cinematographer, Hannah, runs a monthly short film screening event called The Spectacle and she invited me to screen one of the episodes.
There will be a bunch of other great short films screened and it only costs… $2.
I’m going to show one of my favorite episodes, with Cole Millette and Matt Ciavarella. It’s about a desperate father trying to reason with an enamored babysitter (but not in the way you’d expect).
Here’s the details:
When: Sunday, 5/3 at 7pm
Where: The Annoyance Theatre (851 W Belmont)
Well the four month screenwriting class I took with Michael McCarthy has just wrapped up and as part of the class, we’re doing staged readings of our screenplays at The Annoyance. I finished the latest draft a few weeks ago and this is a chance to get some feedback and see how real people respond to it.
I put together a solid cast of actors to read the roles and it should be a fun event. Plus it’s free. When I finished this latest draft, I uploaded it to The Blcklst, which is a site that allows you to purchase evaluations of screenplays from readers that work in the actual film industry and I already got some great feedback:
The appropriately titled BEGIN is a rather fascinating dervish that excels at delivering great absurd humor to its reader. Tonally the screenplay is firing on all cylinders and it appears as though it will work well in the low-budget indie space. While a number of directors in this genre generally write their own fare, this script alleviates that burden and a filmmaker that enjoys working with comedic talent in the independent world will delight in this piece.
It has to be said that the writer really embraces absurd and hilarious comedy. He approaches the material with a brash and brave angle that assures the reader right from the get-go that Tim will be confronted by any number of astonishingly bizarre scenarios. The comedy set pieces in this script are especially well meted out in the third act. The showdown between Jay and Tim against Karl and Jerry is probably the best beat in the whole piece and the writer is encouraged to continue to build out these action moments as far as he is able.
The build among the strange occurrences works well and the reader can easily understand the fact that Tim first starts to question those around him, before confronting his own dwindling sanity. The writer is great at piling on the chaos and assuring that these strange beats bleed collectively into one another.
My short play, A Big Whore in a Small Town (the Western comedy I wrote last year) will be performed at The Annoyance Theatre (by far my favorite comedy theater in Chicago, seriously it’s an amazing place) this month as a Triple Feature.
Triple Features are their way of putting up 20-minute experimental works to give people a chance to showcase their work, develop it, and just have an outlet for writers/directors/actors to try new things. So my play will be one of three shown, each 20 minutes long.
I’m really excited about this because I’ve been developing it off and on for a year now. I originally wrote it as a full-length play and had to compress it to get it down to 20 minutes. My hope is that it goes well and I can develop it into a full-length play somewhere.
We had our first rehearsal today and it went well. The other actors are really great and so is the director. And someone asked me “did you just write this so you could play a Mexican bandido and a French bounty hunter?” Um, yes. Yes I did.
It’s funny and irreverent and has a real theme and all. You should see it if you’re into that sort of thing.
Here’s the details:
Triple Feature @ The Annoyance (851 W Belmont)
8pm on January 11, 18, and 25
Tickets: $7 (link)
Go to the website and sign up for the mailing list to get monthly updates on the show and new videos.
Our first show was last night and went great–we (and the audience) had a ton of fun.
The first episode of The Radio Television Theater Hour will be on Wednesday, April 9th at The Public House Theatre. Everything’s pretty much set (until we do tech tomorrow night) and we’re really excited about how the show is going to play out. If you like quirky comedy, then you’ll like this. Get your tickets here.
A few years ago I did a show with Cleanest Best Pleasure, a now-defunct sketch group, called The Clean Show at The Upstairs Gallery. It was framed as a public access TV show about local events in Chicago and was reasonably successful (notwithstanding the one show that was only attended by my then girlfriend, which if you’re doing comedy in Chicago you’ve experienced at least once or twice).
Anyway, my friend Katy and I have been talking ever since about reviving it in some form and over drinks in November we finally decided to make it happen, not as a revival but as a brand new show with some of the same themes. A few meetings later, pulling in our friend Spencer, and a really solid cast/writing staff with credits from ONN, Steppenwolf, McSweeney’s, NYTVF, and all the Chicago improv/comedy theaters that everyone in Chicago studies/performs at. (more…)
Tickets are now available for Cut to The Chase at the Artistic Home in Chicago. My one-act play, Date Night, will be featured along with four other plays. Having seen all the plays last year (and having acted in one myself), I can say that overall the quality of the acting, directing, and writing was quite good and I expect this year to be no different.
Here are the details:
What: Date Night is a dark comedy about a domestic dispute that leads to a hilarious and endearing encounter between a timid philosophy professor and his working-class neighbor. Directed by Kristin Collins and featuring Cole Millette, Tyler Collins, and Jae Renfrow.
When: Fridays and Saturdays, January 10 – 25, 2014 @ 8pm
Where: The Artistic Home, 1376 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
Tickets: Available online here ($15)