Friday, May 25, 2018

Poll: You Can Help Me Write My Latest Script!

Yes, you, my readers, are going to help me with an important aspect of my next script!

No, not Babes in Toyland, or the one set in northern California. I'm postponing those.

We're talking about a story I wrote as a novella before I even wrote a single script. A story I wrote at this time of year in 2014. This is A Place in the Puzzle. 

A semi-autobiographical take on R.J. Palacio's bestseller Wonder, this is the story of 10-year-old Ryan Fitch, who is growing up in Louisville in 2003 (at least in the previous version). After being diagnosed with high functioning autism and befriending two supportive young girls his age, Ryan still struggles to make his way through the fifth grade (and the world). Meanwhile, his perseverance and good heart inspire a celebrated rising music star, as well as his older sister, to create artistic wonders. After a heated confrontation with a deceitful adult troublemaker on the night of May 31, the former boaster, though now more worthy than bragging rights than ever before, displays newfound humility that his peers admire.

I am revisiting this story to turn it into a feature script, but I am making several changes. The first and foremost one, though...should the main character remain a boy or be gender-flipped in the new version to being a girl?

If the main character is a boy, it will break the stereotype that girls are more thoughtful and inward-looking than boys. If the main character is a girl, it will break the stereotype that autism is only a boy thing. So the question is really, which stereotype is more important to break?

Is this story about a boy or a girl? You analyze. You tell me.
Leave your verdict in the comments below.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

10 Things, In No Particular Order, That You Didn't Know About My Scripts

From tragedy to tourney, Seuss to Strongheart, I've created a world of colorful characters in just 1.5 years. I've explored many worlds, from New York to Los Angeles to Cape Cod to San Antonio to the Corporate Sector and everything in between. I've fulfilled my wishes by just writing them, brought a piece of public art to life, and freed an entire galaxy from misogyny. I've even told an entirely fictional story - but all the characters are factual figures! So here are 10 things you did not know about 8 scripts.

1. "The Wish Writer", "Fearless Girl", and "Someone to Bring Me Home", my three shortest scripts, were all written in a single day. "Wish Writer" was whipped up in two hours on December 1, 2016. "Fearless Girl" was written in one afternoon on July 26, 2017. "Someone to Bring Me Home" was finished just a few hours after Macy's released the original commercial, on November 20, 2017.

2. My early character-naming strategy. "Hannah" and "Luke" in Wish Writer were named for Hannah Zirke and Luke Roessler, who originated the roles of the then-unnamed brother and sister in the 2015 commercial. "Brooklyn" in The Sun Shines in Heaven was named for Brooklyn Silzer, a child actress I admired, as well as based the personality and mannerisms of the character on. "Dakota" in Fearless Girl was named for one of Lauren Greenfield's young test subjects during her "Like a Girl" social experiment that partially inspired the script. And although there is a young actress, aged 14, named Shea McHugh who resides in Burbank, CA, and she does have red hair, the Fearless Girl statue ("Shea") was NOT named for, modeled after, or based on Shea McHugh at all. McHugh does however "photographically enact" the statue's human form on my blog.

3. I rate my scripts' quality using the Harry Potter O.W.L. scale. This scale measures quality and has six grades, from highest to lowest: O (Outstanding), EE (Exceeds Expectations), A (Acceptable), P (Poor), D (Dreadful), and T (Troll). Here is how I rate the quality of each script I've written.
  • "The Wish Writer": P
  • "The Sun Shines in Heaven": D
  • "Fearless Girl": EE
  • "Surviving Middle School": D
  • "Someone to Bring Me Home": P
  • "Girl on Fire": A
  • "When You Think About Seuss": EE
  • "One Shining Moment": P
I think "Fearless Girl" and "When You Think About Seuss" are the ones I like the most because they are the two I can actually picture on a TV screen. As for the rest, I really can't.

4. I considered writing Fearless Girl as a children's book as well as a script, and now, the statue's sculptor is considering doing the same. On the statue's official website, FearlessGirl.us, in addition to selling mini Fearless Girl reproductions, sculptor Kristen Visbal has declared: "Next Release: Illustrated Children's Book!" I wonder what that will look like - and how much it will resemble my 2017 script. Hopefully, I'll be able to pay Kristen Visbal a visit the next time I visit my grandparents in Delaware. Visbal's studio is within driving distance of my grandparents' residence.

5. The song "Someone to Bring Me Home" is written to the tune of a jingle from a completely different commercial. A cover of "Everlasting Light" accompanied the Macy's commercial the script was based on. However, I wanted to utilize a song, so I took the instrumental from another holiday commercial, this one for Hewlett-Packard, and turned it into my song. Click here to see the HP commercial. It may help you learn the tune of the song.

6. It says in the actual script PDF that "When You Think About Seuss" was based on the Broadway musical Seussical. However, there is no character in Seussical, or any of Dr. Seuss's works, named Lord Zashel von Mashel. In the musical, the Kangaroo is the biggest villain there is. Thinking it unfit that the musical's two main protagonists were male and the main antagonist was female, I created my own male antagonist, who truly was evil, to counteract the male protagonist of Horton.

7. Also, the young Seuss (Ted Geisel) himself does not figure as a character in the musical. He essentially replaces Jo Jo, a young Who boy (or girl) who also has a repressed imagination that people learn to see the value of.

8. I considered rewriting two scripts majorly after attending the March For Our Lives. "The Sun Shines in Heaven" seemed to imply that thoughts and prayers were enough in response to a mass shooting and that a charity single was the best that could be done. If it had been written today, Brooklyn would rally against gun violence and fight for gun eradication. Also, "One Shining Moment" very nearly had a mass rewrite because I worried that it did not talk enough about the gun control movement - far and away the biggest news story of March 2018. I went back on this, not being one for retcons, a word which here means "rewriting past work to be in line with current work."

9. There are some ideas I never really got around to writing, such as:
  • Father-daughter story inspired by 2017 Audi "Daughter" commercial: Abandoned because experimental test versions of the story's father-daughter scenes too closely resembled the father-daughter scenes in previous script Girl on Fire. 
  • Miracle on Tryon Street (bogus/working title Just Checking): Abandoned because attempts to write down a treatment were not going anywhere.
  • Target Presents The Holiday Odyssey: Abandoned first because I worried that I could not balance pro-commercialism and anti-commercialism messages, then work on this script resumed, then abandoned again because the story utilized too many common tropes.
  • Fearless Girl 2: In which a sexual misconduct case at the NYSE brings the bull statue to life. Longing to finally wreak vengeance on Shea, the bull scours the city for her. Abandoned because I realized I just wanted to write a good Shea-versus-bull fight scene (ending with Shea drowning the bull in the Hudson River), so you can see why I didn't want to write it. 
10. In my more recent scripts, even if characters weren't named for these actors, I still had certain actors in mind to play them. The main roles in Girl on Fire were written for the young stars of Sean Baker's 2017 film "The Florida Project", though I knew these actors would likely not actually play the roles - Brooklynn Prince (not Silzer) as Sheryl Strongheart, Valeria Cotto as Arianna Aspire, and Christopher Rivera as Riley Resister. I also wrote the role of space pirate Erin Energizer for #MeToo initiator Alyssa Milano. 

Christopher, Brooklynn, and Valeria...or, in an ideal world, Riley, Sheryl, and Arianna. Aren't they adorable?





















And in closing, one final note...I'm working on two FULL BLOWN musicals, with all original songs, a written-for-TV adaptation of the 1903 operetta Babes in Toyland, an adaptation which will be more pleasantly sentimental (in the mold of the 1961 Disney film and 1987 Drew Barrymore made for TV movie) than the original and infamously dark operetta, as well as a written-for-TV and yet-to-be-titled fantasy set in and around the redwood and sequoia forests of upper California. These scripts will likely be in the 115-125 page/minute range, making them my lengthiest endeavors yet.

But I'm ready. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Some Family Feud Answers That Worked Too Well, Not Well Enough, or Were Just Off the Wall...(Clean Answers Only)

Yet again, I am doing a post on game shows - this time Family Feud, which has been airing since 1976 and I've accounted for some of the most bizarre answers in show history. So let's cut to the chase, here they are (share these with your friends):

Name a yellow fruit. "Orange."

Name a part of the telephone. "The bottom part."

Name something Russia is famous for. "Russians."

Name an animal with three letters in its name. "Alligator."

In what month of a woman's pregnancy does she begin to look pregnant? "September."

Name a type of bear. "Papa."

Real or fictional, name a famous Willy. "Willy the Pooh."

Name a part of your body that begins with the letter N. "Name."

Name something a doctor might pull out of a person during a surgical procedure. "A gerbil."

Name a word that rhymes with "dinky". "Dwinky."

Fill in the blank: Purple ______. "Nurple."

Fill in the blank: Pie in the ______. "Horse."

Name another way people say "mother". "Grandpa."

Name a man's name that begins with the letter H. "Jose."

Fill in the blank: Pork _______. "Cupine."

Name a man's name that begins with the letter K. "Kentucky Fried Chicken."

Name something you would find in a birdcage other than a bird. "Hamster."

Name something that comes with a summer storm. "Snow."

Aside from your house or your car, what's the most expensive thing you own? "Car."

Name a reason you might stay indoors on a sunny day. "Because it's raining."

Name something that comes in sevens. ''Fingers''.

Name a fruit that comes in more than one color. "Jell-O."

Name a popular Halloween costume. "Santa Claus."

Name a noisy bird. "Chipmunk."

Name a state that begins with the letter M. "Mexico."

Name a country in South America. "Africa."

Name a state with the word "New" in it. "New Braska."

Name an occupation in which helicopters are used. "Tuna fishing."

Give me another word for "zero". "Infinity."

Name a landmark in New York City. "The Eiffel Tower."

Name an occupation that begins with the letter J. "Jackhammerer."

Name a sport that isn't played with a ball. "Bowling."

Tell me one thing you know about Barack Obama. "He's a Republican."

Tell me a bird that begins with the letter P. "Flamingo."

Name a famous rabbit. "Barney."

Name something that inevitably has to happen but you don't want it to. "The end of this post."





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