The Sonnet Project’s Sonnet 42

I directed (adapted, shot, and edited too) another sonnet for Shakespeare Exchange‘s The Sonnet Project – a great project here in NYC that is aiming to film all of Shakespeare’s sonnets, each performed by a different actor in a carefully chosen New York City location.

This time I shot Sonnet 42 about a jilted lover. The location I was assigned provided some logistical challenges; but we came through with a pretty little short film that I hope you’ll enjoy.

See more sonnets here, here, here, and here!

I Directed Theatre And It Won An Award!

It had been seven years since I attempted directing theatre. The last time was a lovely experience at Pacific Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia via their emerging artist arm called Stone’s Throw Productions. I directed an abriged one-act adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. We called it Less Ado. It was three nights only and it was a blast. The show was sold out each night and the audiences were great.

But it had been a while and I was a little nervous, but looking for something to do, when Sharifa Williams emailed me about potentially directing the play she’d written, submitted, and got accepted into the Players Theatre’s Short Play & Music Festival. I loved the script (it was a topic that I’ve been working on a screenplay about). I loved the size of the project – a short play. I loved the opportunity. Ryan was on board as well.

Rehearsals were so rewarding. I love working with actors. I’ve directed two short films since directing theatre and the thing I think I’ve missed is the lovely luscious rehearsal process. And this one was no exception. I had five brilliant, kind, patient, hard-working, and reliable actors who were a joy to play with.

Of all the plays in Week 2 of the festival, Sharifa’s was the most production-heavy. We had costumes with blood, costumes with spikes, six full garbage bags, Tupperware with broccoli, and sound cues from the MTA. But as a theatre producer turned film producer, I was totally up for it. However, it meant a little less time at each rehearsal working on the acting. More time spent on tech. But it was worth it. It’s important to be able to find the balance of time necessary. This was good practice.

Tech rehearsal ran smoothly. Even though they’d requested five cues or less, they didn’t balk at my seven cue prompt book. And the actors were so on task I nearly drooled. They killed it. Sharifa had a few suggestions after the first show; but it only took a few adjustments for the actors to fix that.

And now, it’s just been announced that our play, the play Sharifa William’s wrote, has won the Audience Award for the Best of the Fest from Week 2!

Hooray!!

Netflix for Theaters: MoviePass

In this Gizmodo article we learn about a subscription program for movie theaters.

Part of me is excited; part of me is nervous. Having worked in professional theater, I know what a boon subscription offers can be for stabilizing earned income. And in general, it’s been proven over and over again in my experience that what’s good for one theater is good for other theaters.

So can this effect transfer into the film industry? I’m sure that someone somewhere in Burbank or Culver City has run the numbers: the number of movie-going public in America, the amount who own netflix already, and a projection of who would use and recommend the use of both… It’s either going to be a life-saver of the film industry or a catalyst for major change.

As an indie filmmaker, I’ve been watching the whole digital distribution revolution with interest and while I don’t think I’m in a place where I can yet effect change, I am wholeheartedly invested in the changes that do occur. Some would argue that I should be working to effect change if I have preferences about how the dice roll; but do I want to put the time and effort into changing distribution channels yet?

I lean towards waiting.

What do you think?

My First Night At The Theatre Since…

I am at the theatre. My birthday present!

It is my first night at the theatre since leaving my job as Associate General Manager at Pacific Theatre in Vancouver, Canada.

Ryan is sitting beside me reading the program and just commented on the prolific nature of the man who is about to entertain us.

I just witnessed a staff member flaunt her status by bringing her coffee into the theatre. The usher followed her and said that she wasn’t supposed to and she flashed her staff laniard saying, “I won’t spill it or leave it behind!” Oh, really. Way to make everyone else feel like second class citizens Ms. Staff Member.

I’m excited though. I love the theatre. And this is an exceptional little space filled with about 300 seats. Procenium. It is filling slowly and the anticipation is mounting.

Woot!

Here A Strike, There A Strike

…everywhere a strike-strike. As the time draws near for the WGA (Nov 1st), the local Broadway IATSE union in New York is set to follow suit. Or should I say, precede accordingly.

This news has a special place in my heart because I spent some time managing a professional theatre in Vancouver, Canada. I hit my head on those vom doors more times than I can count, and yet, I loath unions (except you Equity! Everybody loves Equity! Wink, wink.). However, I absolutely support supporting the technicians that make the magic of theatre possible.

I admit to ignorance of the Broadway ways; but still, I’m not sure that in NY striking will be the best solution for IATSE. There are ways to avoid the technicians’ necessity. However, back on the left coast, WGA is counting on their members’ products as being foundationally necessary. The American public cannot subsist on a solely reality television diet for too long! Yet, with the sneaky advent of non-guild production companies by many of the major studios and networks, many non-union writers are getting their chance! It’s hard for starving artists to show solidarity when a “chance” or a “big break” is carrot-ed in their faces.

What would I do? Take the chance to be abused by the big boys? Or eat ramen, while the storm passes? Thankfully, I’m not purporting to be a working writer yet. So I’ll cross that bridge once the canyon appears…

UPDATE: 90.3% of the 6000 WGA members that voted recently will support a strike.

Middle School Theatre

Say what you will, Elementary School Theatre is still theatre. Last night as hundreds of parents, grandparents, cousins and friends filed into the auditorium of a school in Pasadena, the tangible “excitement before the show” electricity was in the air. I know this feeling. It’s the energy that kept me going at Pacific Theatre when I was tired, busy, or overwhelmed. I would leave the office and walk up to the front of house just as they were opening the doors and I would stand at the back of the house while everyone found their seats. Tangible excitement.

Books, papers, and dissertations have been written about why this excitement exists – why we love theatre. I don’t want to attempt to address that here. I just know that there’s a thick energy in the air before a live theatre show; one that just isn’t as viscus in the cinema (although slightly present).

Last night, that energy was present for an Elementary School production of The Beauty & The Beast. Two of our friends were in the show! One played Beauty…

Gillian, Ingrid, & Ryan

…the other was in the chorus. They are talented sisters.

Ellen, Ingrid, & Gillian

Of course it wasn’t the best production of the Disney story ever, but it was theatre. And the audience enjoyed themselves. And they were rewarded for their investment – their excitement. 180 pre-teens told a story, with costumes and music, and lights; and an audience came, and an audience laughed, and an audience nearly cried. Theatre happened. And it was good.