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.
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
The final (live) episode of The Radio Television Theater Hour will be next Wednesday. It’s sad to be ending it after eight months and six shows, but it got to a point where all of us were stretched too thin to write, memorize, and rehearse a new show every month. At the same time, it feels good to have mental space and time freed up for new projects, including a web series I’m shooting this Fall and a screenplay I’m writing.
I’m proud of the work we did and I think it was something unusual and original and not just yet-another-Chicago-sketch-show. The last show will be a ‘best of’ show and features some of our favorite segments from past shows, as well as some new material.
We took July off for scheduling reasons, but The Radio Television Theater Hour will be back in August. We write and perform a brand new fictional local talk show every month at The Public House Theatre. This show, as always, will be a lot of fun, so if you’re in Chicago you should check it out.
Wednesday, August 13 at 8pm
The Public House Theatre, 3914 N. Clark St
Tickets are $10 + free drink
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.