Happy Halloween. Trick or Friday Questions?
Matt gets us started:
It seems to me that successful plays used to be made into movies. Maybe I am missing them, but that doesn't appear to me to be happening anymore. But I don't understand why. Seems like you would have a built in audience, good press already and in general plays would be more plot driven and cheaper to produce as movies. They wouldn't have to be blockbusters to be a financial success. Can you explain this to me or at least tell me I am wrong?
Plays are still adapted to movies but less frequently. DINNER WITH FRIENDS springs to mind. First of all, there are fewer original plays getting to Broadway. Revivals and adaptations of Disney movies are clogging up the theatres these days -- an alarming trend to be sure.
Another problem is that plays often are set in one location – like an apartment. (Again -- DINNER WITH FRIENDS). It’s sometimes difficult to open up a play and make it more visual without losing the essence of the piece. Plays are more dialogue driven. Movies are controlled by images.
Also, plays are sometimes very stylistic, taking advantage of the theatrical experience. When converted to the real world of film they often lose their magic.
That said, my play A OR B? (now playing at the Falcon Theatre) would make a great motion picture. Please contact my agent.
I'm just a bit curious to know what your writing process is when its just you. No partner, no assistant, and I guess no budget for anything like that, just you. Do you sit at your PC quietly typing stuff out, the benefit of years in the business. Or do you try and re-enact everything yourself, complete with impressions of your actors, using whatever you've got to hand as props.
I work on my desktop Apple or laptop Apple, just quietly typing (and mostly deleting). Often I’ll have ‘60s music playing. I like the energy and variety. And what’s better inspiration for writing comedy than “Eve of Destruction?”
When I’m finished with several scenes I print them out and revise off of that. Often I will read it aloud to hear the rhythm. I’m very big on flow and having the dialogue sound conversational and natural.
I never act anything out. I’m way too klutzy.
Steve B. has a question regarding my review of SELFIE:
I saw the pilot, and felt exactly the same way as you did. But you seem to completely dismiss the chances for the show after one episode. We've all seen shows that eventually find their legs and grow greatly over the first season. What is there about a show that will make you give up at the very beginning, and what might give you a little hope to hang in there?
Look, there are shows you watch and see something of value even if it’s undercooked and are willing to give it another chance or two. And then there are shows you see and go “Ugh!!” That’s just human nature. You hate the premise, hate the actors, don’t think it’s amusing or compelling, and time’s too short. For me it’s often the writing. For most people it’s the casting.
But now there’s a third viewing option: shows you hate-watch. There’s something about the train wreck aspect of them that just fascinates you. Watching how inept, how stupid, how unfunny they are is oddly entertaining. We’re a sick society… well, some of us are.
What shows do you hate-watch?
Brian Phillips wonders:
Who did you work with that had a bad reputation, or you heard bad things about, that turned out to be a positive working experience?
And I’ve mentioned this before, Kristin Chenowith. I directed three episodes of her sitcom KRISTIN and she could not have been nicer, more professional, and gracious – not just to me but everyone on the crew. That’s the real tell with actors – how do they treat crew members? Kristin was absolutely lovely. I would work with her again in a second.
Have a safe and sane Halloween tonight. Leave your questions in the comment section and come see my play. Only a couple of weeks left.