Friday, October 30, 2009

More videos!

Frienemies Through Thick and Thin:

The Anniversary Special (end is cut off):

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Perfect Life

Uploaded the video of my play to YouTube! Gabriel's and Nora's still to come!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One week later....

Still mildly traumatized. Kidding of course. This was my 5th WWSS as a writer (I'm still emotionally scarred from acting in the first one and have closed that door... kidding....kind of... not really at all). I managed to scribble this one out between 11pm-3am with a few 8am touch ups. Afterwards went to Hooters. Came home and watched baseball and football. Sauntered over to the show. That's the life for me.

That being said, this was truly one of the stand outs in the WWSS world to date.

Irony of ironies - I got the subject of birth. Now, I could go one of a few ways. 1.) The kitchen sink adorable way. 2.) Offensive humor. Hooray for offensive humor!

I was blessed from the get go with a talented cast - I knew Aimee from past theater endeavors but this was my first time seeing her act. I had it on good reference that she was a strong comedic actor and ran with that. The accent/trailer trash was her add on which I thought was perfectly chosen. I'd seen Doua act once before and liking and knowing his talents - figured he'd be a strong choice for my frantic male double daddy (which he was). I wasn't acquainted yet with Melisa, but went on her resume and had her become my ready to pop, unknowing straight lady - to which she did with great fun and vision.

And Tom. Ah Tom. We have a bit of local history - he'd just acted in a one act with me (directed by Christine) and then acted in my play cycle 'Quiet Bed', and incidentally the morning after the shorts we were the last two men called back for a supporting role in an upcoming play (congratulations by the way - ass hat. Kidding. Sort of. Not really.) Regardless, I knew his comedic timing was excellent and he became my uber perverted doctor.

I couldn't have had a luckier pick of the hat then to get Gretchen Ferris. We've been working together since she AD'd Bludgeon the Lime and her vision, organization, and imagination are a-one. I knew we'd have something fun when, after her initial read, I asked if it was too bawdy. When she said 'no'. I knew we were on. With some fortunate ideas for staging and having it a face off between the two women, she brought to life the funnier actions through out it all - i.e. the ice fight and dual sedation. She also had the great idea of bringing 'Martha' (previously just a creepy fade out chant by the doctor) into a sock puppet and utilizing the mystery prop (pom pom) to great effect. That aside, the pacing, lines, and energy was exactly what I'd hoped for.

Major kudos to writers/directors new and old - this series of work was incredible across the board and really set a new benchmark for years to come (thanks for that guys....jerks....kidding... no I'm not.)

Congrats to all!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Duncan's Wrap up

So I had a lot of fun this time around- after doing the WWSS two times before, I was relatively relaxed. I got my subject "Reunion", which immediately brought to mind thoughts of Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, and got three female headshots (and one hot guy), so ditto.
Got home and wrote for three hours, discovering things about the characters as I went along- I'd write for about 4 pages, not knowing where I was going, and then get to that point and suddenly see where the next section was. Anne LaMott mentions, in Bird by Bird, that writing can sometimes be like driving at night with your headlights on- you can't see the whole way, but you can see a little bit in front of you, and you can make the whole journey that way- I've never felt that more than in writing this piece.

Finished a first draft at 3am, and went to bed for a few hours- woke up and pored over the draft, cutting unnecessary things and moving things around, adding some foreshadowing, etc...
Stopped off at Staples to print it (the one by my apartment in Queens this time, not the one on 9th avenue that fucked me over last time), then dropped it off. Met my director, Chris Simon (our mutual friend Nick had suggested that Christine not go random and just shove us together- she didn't, but we picked each other randomly anyway). He read the script, we chatted a bit about it. Jeffery, the guy from my play, showed up early so I met him, too- he and another actor were discussing what they might be wearing- not knowing what they'd be playing, they'd each brought some nice clothes and some slobby clothes. I didn't have the heart to tell Jeffery he'd be in his underwear (but glad I made that choice- even hotter in person).

I headed out to my sister-in-law's Noon UCB class show, where my friend Jason mentioned the classic improv book Something Wonderful Right Away, which of course made me think of the WWSS series- I think my improv training from years ago really helps with it.

Did get to sleep some, after all, then headed to the theater. Saw Erin and Jeffery in the hallway outside- Erin said the play was like Chekhov, a sad comedy- I took it as high praise. My show was second, which was exciting- the last two times I've been randomly first- nice to have a warm-up act.

When I wrote the play, I wrote with some of the performers in mind from what I knew from their headshots, and Chris had cast the women differently and perfectly.
The show was great, especially the second time when they got more of the lines I wrote out of their mouths. :)

I actually voted for Nora's piece as Best Script. Jeffery agreed with me, saying it had a It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia vibe. ...but sweeter.

I won Best Use of Event- Ironically, since Christine had intended that it be a family reunion, but I didn't realize that, and did a high school reunion instead.

Monday, October 19, 2009

After Show Comments

Needless to say I was nervous the moment after my teacher, Marc Palmieri, recommended me for the event. Christine contacted me and added me as a writer. Not only was this my first time participating in the WWSS event, but it was the first time any script of mine was performed. Ever.

After receiving my casts’ headshots and resumes (2F/2M), theme (Graduation), and the lines I’ll never forget, I hopped on the 1-train and the M86 back to my cave. I hadn’t eaten dinner, but was too anxious to eat.

I read the resumes and paid close attention to special skills section. Marian Brock’s “International Folk Dancing (16 years experience)” was the first thing I circled. Folk dancing? “Like Hobbit-shit and shit?” And there was the first line to end up in the script. After 5 minutes of research on what exactly folk dancing is, I decided to make her a vegan, hummus wrap eating, cat loving, aspiring poet, dancing in the park for money hipster whose biggest fear in life is getting worms and/or E-Coli from tainted meat. I wrote and wrote and wrote from 12 to 5:30. The script was too short, I knew it right away. But, I did not want to run over time. I woke up at 8:00, proofed the script, rewrote “the line” so that the folk dancer sings it—best decision I made through the entire process.

I decided to stick in a hooker. Why not? Laura Yost, thank you for dressing, very convincingly, as “The Coppertone Baby of street walkers.” She told me the cast rehearsed in Starbucks and were subject to glares from concerned patrons. Thank you all for offending Starbucks costumers. Much obliged.

Needed an Ewok reference, of course.

And since it would be far too crazy to incorporate actual turkey slapping, I made it the title and a character name. For all those who went home (or whipped out those iPhones and Blackberrys) and looked up the phrase, I hope you added it to your lexicon.

Through the day and until it was over, I was fidgety. Couldn’t eat. Couldn’t sleep.

And I thank everyone who voted for me as the “Best Use of The Line” and to Marian for going all Madonna on it and splitting her jeans in the process.

The night was a success, especially the second performance. Ashley did a great job with cuts and changes. I thank you, Ashley. Although you didn’t get to see the final product, I wish you had.

It’s incredibly rare; a person having an experience and knowing right away, without any retrospect or reflection, that it was important and life-changing. This was one for me.

I enjoyed all the shorts, and I look forward to doing the event again. Maybe next time I can incorporate actual turkey slapping! What do you think, Christine…?

What the What?!

Seriously, I'm still a bit surprised that my script and show won this time around. Not that I didn't think they were deserving, but because the last two times I've participated in the festival the results were not even remotely close to this! So I was mentally prepped to just chalk it up to another chance to write and then.... Well, to quote Hannibal from the A-Team - "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Much like Oliver wrote in his blog, when I reflected on my past scripts in prep for participating this time I looked at what I did as a writer that may have resulted in a jumbled final product. I also thought about what worked in other people's scripts.

I decided that my goal was to write with broad strokes, giving the actors/director room to play. I also wanted to be minimal with dialogue as I felt like maybe memorizing lines I wrote in the past may have been a tripping point for some of the actors...maybe?

So after getting my theme, "Anniversary", actors (2 men, 2 women), line and other instructions I headed off and just let the thoughts marinate as I started texting Christine with my first random thoughts (Anniversary in a Chain Restaurant?) and then read a book about a former Cornhusker turned drug addict on the ride home. When I got home and turned on my computer I realized I had started watching 30 Rock and thought well, I HAVE to finish it. So I watched that and then decided I needed to see Grey's Anatomy from 2 weeks ago - so while Papa Grey was in need of a liver I started googling random info about "Anniversaries" - like what gift went w/ how many years - and scribbling out script ideas feeling like I'd probably been putting off the actual "writing" part long enough! ;)

Cut to 4am when my plan to write minimal dialogue didn't seem to be working and I thought maybe I should take a nap. Oliver texted me to see if I was still awake. "Yes". The phone rang. He asked how it was going. I expressed frustration with my dialogue. He thought he had probably offended Christine with his updates. Just another night of writing for WWSS!

Of course, at 4am things probably look a lot bleaker than they really are and after taking a nap and attacking the script again, I felt a little better by the time I called it "done" at 6am. I set my alarm for 730am - enough time to look it over again, adjust if necessary, print, shower (I wasn't sure if I'd be staying in the city after I turned in my script so I thought I'd better make myself presentable!) and allow plenty of time for potentially crazy subway issues...

After a quick stop @ Cosi for breakfast. (I couldn't wait to go to Vnyl - I was hungry!) It was time to gather with the other writers and and discuss how much, if any, sleep everyone got!

The director draw came and I was matched up w/ first time director (but not a first time participant in WWSS), Graeme Humphrey. I had him read the script. I pointed out writing a handstand in based on an actor's resume but said that was negotiable, I also mentioned "Charles" needing a weird/distinctive voice. Graeme asked how I felt if my script was altered. I told him it was okay within reason. We both agreed that if any major changes were being discussed he'd give me a call.

I never got a call... I guess that's good?! I hoped for the best.

When I saw Graeme before the show I asked how it went- specifically with the weird voice. Graeme said - "He's deaf."

In my lack of sleep stupor I was confused for a beat. "The actor?"

"No - the character."


I still wasn't quite sure what to expect but was thankful that my show was third so I didn't wait long to find out!

The show was performed and I was extremely happy with the results! Although, members of the cast acknowledged they had a great script to work with they definitely contributed to fleshing the play out. (Example - "eyeing" was changed to "eye-banging/humping".) It further proved to me how important every single element of a play production is whether it is produced in 21 hrs or over the course of way more hours than that!

Although it seemed people enjoyed "The Anniversary Special" I wasn't totally sold that we were going to win it - even though others thought so. When we did - Wheeeee! :) It was definitely a collaborative effort and I applaud the cast (Chris Cusano, Ben Klier, Kristen Kay Miller and Jenny Zerke) and Graeme for making the most of my script!

That being said, I know I haven't been to all of the WWSS shows but out of the ones I have been to, I think this has been the most solid show yet!

Congrats to all and now it's time for a nap.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Festival...

This round of the shorts was an interesting one for me in a number of ways. Where as in the past the festival itself has been primarily a way to have fun hanging out with friends while doing something I love, this time around it became a strange and unintentional learning experience for me.

I'm re-reading my script as I write this and still find myself laughing at it on every page. Upon completing it and handing it off to my director, the very talented Chris Bell whose enthusiasm for the script mirrored my own, I went home eagerly anticipating seeing the story and characters come to life on stage that evening.

When it finally came time for "Mindy" to go up, second to last show of the night, the bar had already been raised so high by the preceding shows I couldn't help but become nervous (as I always do), fearing that somehow my own work wouldn't stand up to everyone else's and look amateurish in comparison. This is where things became interesting because, in short, it did. As it played out, jokes which I thought would work extremely well fell flat. Situations the characters found themselves in didn't carry with them the impact I originally envisioned, and lines which were written with good intent the night before came across as immature and vulgar.

The failure for that of course lies solely with myself and the writing. The comedy in the script, the style of humor and the subject matter, is such that if it's not delivered in the proper manner will fall apart and become detrimental for the show as a whole. The tone here becomes so important that if it's not presented exactly the way the writer (in this case myself) envisioned, it becomes blatantly offensive (this can be common in my writing, as anyone who has read my play "Adam of the Apes" will attest to. It's also easily apparent in an upcoming short I've written which is being produced this winter). This is a shortcoming and a failure of the script's and of myself as a writer, being unable to communicate the intent of the work properly and make the piece accessible not only to those viewing it, but also those interpreting it.

Now those who know me well know that I am not easily upset or offended by anything, especially my own writing, but watching my show that night there were lines and moments that even I found to be alarmingly crude. I am reminded of a recent quote by David Letterman regarding a joke he made which did not come across as intended:

“I told a bad joke. I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception... It doesn’t make any difference what my intent was, it’s the perception... and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception... It’s not your fault that it was misunderstood, it’s my fault that it was misunderstood.”

That to me seems to relate to my show quite succinctly and sums up my thoughts better than I would be able to express myself. I don't apologize for myself very often but it seems in this case to not do so would be a larger grievance than what I may have already caused, so I do need to at this time apologize to all those involved in the festival, and especially to my wonderful and talented director and actresses who threw themselves into the project with more determination and commitment than it perhaps deserved. The fact that they did so is a testament to their professionalism, ethic, character and talent.

The rest of the evening and the shows were a blast. There wasn't a single one that failed to keep me laughing throughout and it was a pleasure to see the wonderful work done by all the new writers, directors and actors on board this time around as well as the continued high level of quality I've come to expect from those I've worked with in the past. You all continually give me something to strive towards.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Alexia Terrell: i.c.b.i.h.a.t.a.t.m.f.t.s.
Chris Simon: Why do I talways have to ask my cast what kind of underwear they're wearing?
Chris Simon: Randomly ran into jade on the sidewalk. He as a playoff beard. This has nothing to do with the shorts.


From Christine Weems to Blake Bradford

We forgot to think of prizes!
Jamie Lewis: My penis envy may finally be satisfied...
Stevie Aycock: Just had to be "luggage" in the back seat of a cab - "i'm sorry only 4" flying fetus!
Mary Brown: Miscarriages with mindy. Now why in the name of obie wan kanobe would u want us to do that?


From Joe Benincase

In the words of Carly Simon, "Anticipation, anticipation/ Is makin' me late/ Is keepin' me waitin'.

Besides that, I'm anxious to see how they're going to pull of all that international folk dancing!
Tanya Fazal: I'm not wearing clothes AGAIN? Christine is there a reason you like to have me take my clothes off in front of audiences?

*Note, I had nothing to do with Tanya's scipt. That was all Duncan's doing!
Doua Moua: Tommy might need a diaper change...

*For the record, he did not. Doua is just being a punkass!
Nora Vetter: Script is in the director's hands and I'm going back home to sleep...
Nora Vetter: Talking to other writers about sleep as we wait to turn in script!
From Nora Vetter

Up, Showered and Scripts printed. Will be heading out soon...

From Duncan Pflaster

I'm up! I'm awake! About to check over the script to see if anything I wrote is intelligible, but first I need to pee. Too much coffee.

blog blog

From Michael Weems

I love you Orange Khaos. Youuuuuu ligghtttt up my lifffffffffe.
From Gabriel Garcia

It's 7:05am and I've just finished Frienemies Through Thick, and Thin.It's silly- thank god but not quite 12 pages I'm sure but it'll have to do. It's got everything from a handsy exotic male dancer to some T.M.I. dermatology references. Now I've got to find a Kinkos to print it. Get to the the Beckmann by 9:45 to drop it off and to S.M. rehearsal for Jelly Roll Shoes which opens at 2 PM this afternoon and hope I don't fall asleep at the wheel. Excited! but sleepy...
From Nora Vetter

Done? Think so. is it almost 6 already?! Breakfast at Vnyl sounds good a few hours from now...
From Nora Vetter

Oliver just texted. At least I know another writer is still up! Break is over...back to work.
From Joe Benincase

Finished. Speechless. There's going to be Folk Dancing! Oh, there will be folk dancing.
From Oliver Thrun

Done. My actresses are going to kill me.
From Nora Vetter

Time for a break.
From Oliver Thrun

Guess who forgot to use the line! And it's not going to be easy to squeeze it in there. :-/
From Joe Benincase

I charge double if I have to muff dive.

O captain, my captain

From Duncan Pflaser

First draft finished! Currently called "How to Suck Seed While Really Trying", but I think the play outran that title, and I'll probably be going with a Walt Whitman quote instead. Going to bed for a couple of hours to look at the draft with fresh eyes.

I think I preferred having two parameters- it made the ideas come quicker.

AS Adam, early in the morning,
Walking forth from the bower, refresh’d with sleep;
Behold me where I pass— hear my voice— approach,
Touch me— touch the palm of your hand to my Body as I pass;
Be not afraid of my Body.
From Oliver Thrun

Wow... this might be the alcohol talking, but my play is the most brilliant piece of literature to ever grace the Earth...

Or is it?
From Nora Vetter

almost but not quite
From Joe Benincase

Turkey Slapper. Gobble, gobble.
From Oliver Thrun

My play is so profound it's like a philosopher. Or a scientist. Or a scientist who does philo.....stuff. I'm tired and I think it doesn't make sense. But wow! What an ending! Take that Mr. Schweitzer!


From Duncan Pflaster

Aigh, I need an ending! This play could go on for pages! I have to tie it all up now, and I only have three pages left!
From Oliver Thrun

OMG! Writing about funerals has reminded me of the play I wrote for Blake about that funeral project he was putting together and then abandoned without ever telling me and I think I mentioned it in the last blog too but I just remembered it again right now because of all this funeral stuff I'm writing about and having a cast of all girls even though I hate writing parts for girls because their voices are too high and squeaky and now I want to play some Grand Theft Auto IV because I just got it and I'm super addicted to it and it's fun.

Throw a fetus at Blake for me!
From Gabriel Garcia

It's 1:28am and I'm on a roll! Figured out how to change font size on my TextEdit! Now back to writing...
From Oliver Thrun

DEAD fetus! Mua-ha-ha-ha-ha!
From Nora Vetter

Needs a husband...the back pillow thing w/ the arms...the other kind wouldn't be all that helpful at the moment...maybe later though...oh yeah, play writing...
From Oliver Thrun

Fetus is the new panda.

Ah, a keyboard. How quaint.

From Duncan Pflaster

Computer doing it's quotidian scheduled hard-drive backup at 1am. Time for a little break. Half-finished with coffee, half-finished with first draft of script.
This has gone in some very strange directions; not at all what I expected when I started writing.
From Nora Vetter

I can't help it-there's going to be singing again!

Gabriel Writes...

From Gabriel Garcia

It's 12:38am and I've only just thought of a concept! I've got to write a play by morning !? What was I thinking? Plus, I just realized that Mac's only have TextEdit which don't show font size in numbers (that I know of) so how am I suppose to know how to space out my pages?!(Why didn't I download a Word program beforehand?) Oh well I'll just start writing and think about that later...

Drama Fag

From Duncan Pflaster

Is the "yes, in high school I was a man" an overdone trope?
From Michael Weems

Hi Hell. It's me. Yeah, I know we ran into this predicament last time too. I'd like a first class ticket, a snuggie, bose headphones, and a bottle of gin. Might as well enjoy the ride.
From Nora Vetter

Scribbling out ideas while listening to shows on Hulu...just too quiet otherwise.

From Nora Vetter

The Happy Meal turned 30 this year

Friday, October 16, 2009

From Nora Vetter

Paper & Clocks
From Oliver Thrun

And just to give you an idea of where it's headed, the title of the piece is "Miscarriages with Mindy."
From Oliver Thrun

Ok, I've done it. This is already my most offensive show ever and I'm only one page and half a beer into it.


From Joe Benincase

Vegan Ravioli.

Here I am!

From Duncan Pflaster

Okay, I'm home, I have my coffee (Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut, with cream and extra sugar), my iTunes "writing" instrumental playlist is going (right now Handel's "March in D" from Hercules), I'm in my comfy pyjama pants (red plaid flannel), and the flux capacitor is fluxing.
Nora Vetter: Speaking of of my actors can walk on his hands! May have to test that skill...
Nora Vetter: Off train-correction W not N - thinking about celebrating an anniversary at a chain restaurant as I walk.
Nora Vetter: Please let that be an N Train... yes!!!
Nora Vetter: Wonder if Olver has seen "Heathers". All girl cast... funeral...


From Michael Weems

Would duct tape repair a broken coffee pot?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I just can't hide it; about to lose control, and I think I like it

I'm so excited for this weekend!

Naturally AGAIN, everyone has booked other exciting things during the Saturday of the 21-hour plays, so after I drop off my completed script Saturday morning, I shall be attending my fabulous Sister-in-Law's improv show at UCB and possibly attending a picnic.

Getting Organized

Believe it or not, Blake and I have been on the ball this time around. I think it's one of the benefits of living in the same apartment now. Usually we email or grab dinner the night before and try to figure out what we want to do for the shorts. Like what the theme is going to be, the line, etc. But this time, surprisingly enough, we've already got it all figured out. The whole kit and caboodle. In fact, we figured it out weeks ago.

So get ready. The fun's a-comin'!


Friday, October 2, 2009

If a furry has pics of puppies and kittens in their computer, is that pedophilia?

I've always thought I should have a sports blog. I don't. Mostly because I don't think this world needs another fan boy sports blog. But now I've got this space. I haven't done anything for the shorts other than sign up, write a bio, and remind Phare Play that they've got my headshot. I don't think I should blog about writing a bio. Boring!

So how 'bout my Yankees? Anyone wanna chime in on what you think they should do with Joba?

I haven't decided if I'm going to show up hungover as I did last time I did the short shorts. It seemed to work well, but forcing it seems unnatural. I'll make sure to post if I'm going out drinking that Friday. I can't promise that I'll do anything as miraculous as the hamster costume, but I plan on putting together just as silly a show. 

I'll leave you with song.

We're Back

As things start to roll on the sixth incarnation of our 21 Hour Play Festival, I've gotten a bunch of requests as to whether we were going to do another blog. Why not, right? I mean, the last one was really funny - especially in retrospect (although getting all those Panda texts really confused the hell out of me when I was initially getting them).

So for those of you who want to get caught up to speed on what we're doing - check out the blog for WWSS5 at

Obviously in the two weeks leading up to the big day, feel free to blog your thoughts, happy memories from the past and apprehensions. Or haikus. I think Cat Corbett last time was posting haikus.

Regardless, welcome to the blog!