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. 

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