Three Short Plays

I’ve compiled three of my short plays into one document in PDF. You can read it/them here. These are all unproduced plays, probably with good reason, but I’d rather share them than have them lying around in an old Word file.

The plays are: “The Apple or the Cigarette,” “Souls, Mated,” and “The Strange Art of Longing.”

As I note in the short introduction, I don’t mind if anyone wants to use these, I only ask that they contact me to let me know. I like to keep track of these things.

Adverse Possession

So in 2011, as I was getting back into writing, one of my friends suggested I try a short stage play. The result was “Warm Bodies,” which premiered in February 2012 as part Valley Rep’s (now Exit 7) play contest. “Warm Bodies” then went on to be featured in Source Festival’s theatre program that June. And was then picked up by a production company in San Diego and made into a short film they retitled Adverse Possession (because Warm Bodies was already taken).

I say “a production company” because it seems their name is in flux at the moment.

But in any case, they’ve given me permission to share the final result, which you can see here.

The film has been submitted to a couple festivals; we’re waiting to hear if it gets in anywhere. I wasn’t involved at all in the production itself (most screenwriters aren’t, I don’t believe). I did get periodic updates, which I very much appreciated.

The big difference, I think, between having your play staged and having it made into a movie—and if you read this site with any regularity, you may have heard me say this before—is that plays are fluid. They change from production to production, and sometimes from one night to the next in the same production. But once it’s committed to film, it’s static. I don’t have a preference, mind. I just find it an interesting distinction.

In any case, I’m very grateful for the beginner’s luck that landed me all these marvelous opportunities. I hope to continue to be lucky! I do have another script optioned, and two more in the oven. Plus that book of mine coming out in January. So I guess I can’t complain. (Well, okay, but I’ve yet to get another play staged. Humph. Still, I prefer to count my blessings.)

The Waiting . . . + Friday Music

Ah, Tom Petty. He was right about the waiting being the hardest part. (Sadly, he did not show up on my iPod this morning after having a couple entries yesterday.)

I’m currently waiting on two publishers and ten literary agents. Also ten other places to which I’ve submitted plays. And about ten places to which I’ve sent letters on behalf of our elementary school library, but that’s something else again.

Sigh. I know, of course, that publishers and agents and theatre companies get swamped and must wade through many queries and submissions. Knowing this does not make the waiting any easier, however. After putting in so much time and effort to complete my work, I’m champing at the bit to get on with things.

I should get on with other writing, and I am doing a bit (now that vacation is over). But I find it difficult to concentrate at the moment.

At least I’m working off some of my restlessness via my daily walks. Today’s playlist:

1. “Back to Work” by David Arnold & Michael Price
2. “Authority Song” by John Cougar Mellencamp
3. “Sunday Morning New York Blue” by Rob Thomas
4. “Falling for the First Time” by Barenaked Ladies
5. “Crawling in the Dark” by Hoobastank
6. “Jet Airliner” by Steve Miller Band
7. “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray
8. “Radio” by Matchbox Twenty
9. “Think About It” by American Authors

Back to work indeed . . .

When It Rains . . .

As August draws to a close, and with so much going on with my writing, it seems like as good a time as any to check in with those goals I set at the start of the year.

1. Finish the rom-com script I’m co-writing. Well, after many drafts, we’ve received some very strong feedback and are now in the process drafting an agreement with a lawyer so we can get the script into the hands of people who can do something with it. Yay!

2. Finish the thriller script I’ve been asked to pen. Long since finished, and by all accounts the director likes it and has given it to some actors and actresses to look at. But that’s all I’ve heard.

3. Finish St. Peter Ascends. Done.

4. Publish The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller. (Of which St. Peter Ascends is the third part.) Actually, I’ve had a publisher request to read the manuscript, so I’m giving them first chance at it. But I’m still prepared to self-publish if I find no takers.

5. Write the television pilot I’ve been backburnering. In the works! Can probably have a draft done in the next week or so, except . . .

♦ I have three books I’ve been asked to read and review.
♦ I’ve also been asked to look over some materials for a TV/web series startup to which I may contribute.
♦ And I’ve been invited to submit a full-length play to a theatre festival that takes submissions by invitation only.
   Which is flattering, but I’d need to pull something together fast!

And then I have a bunch of other projects that I’d like to get started on (or go back to) . . . Oh! And it looks like Adverse Possession may be nearly ready to submit to film festivals! I’ve also joined a local writing critique group. So I’m staying really busy. In a good way! The year may have gotten off to a slow start, but it certainly seems to be picking up speed!

Santa Cruz! And Scripts!

Sad to say, but I’ve never been to a boardwalk. I’ve been to beaches plenty of times, but never to a boardwalk. But this weekend I intend to rectify that.

First, though, sustenance. We drive down tomorrow and will eat, drink, and be merry tomorrow night in order to be ready for a Grand Day Out on Saturday.

And Sunday, before returning home: Mystery Spot. Gravitational anomalies, anyone? Hooray!

(We were going to zip line through the Redwoods, but (a) I wasn’t convinced I could stomach the height, and (b) once I decided to give it a go, it turned out there were no available times anyway. Maybe next visit!)

In other, writing-related news: I’ve begun getting requests for the 20 August script. Fingers crossed it finds the right home! And Adverse Possession has about four more sound editing tweaks, and then it should be ready to send to festivals. It’s hard for me—someone always eager to be moving and making progress—to settle to the slower pace of “the biz,” where deals and the movie-making process take forever and then, all at once, are suddenly finished. In the meantime, I’ve written a couple more short plays, and each of them could potentially be turned into longer plays. That’s the key: stay busy. ‘Cuz if you’re just sitting around and waiting to hear back about something, well . . . Watched pot and all that.

Rough Cut

An interruption in my conference coverage to squee over the fact that I just got to see the rough cut of the short film made from my play “Warm Bodies.” It’s a for real thing now! They’ve got some sound fixes to make and a couple other things to touch up, but then they’ll be ready to submit the short to film festivals. Waaaa!

Sorry I can’t share it with you, but the film has to be kept private else festivals won’t accept the submission. But I hope you will all get a chance to see it at some point in the future!

Playwriting Opportunity: Two-Handers for Suitcase Theatre

This is a call for new theatre scripts with two characters.

1. Scripts should be for two characters only.
2. Only new and previously unperformed scripts should be submitted.
3. The play needs to have about 15 minutes playing time, as up to three scripts will be selected to provide an hour’s performance.
4. There is no theme as such, although the performance will take place on Valentine’s Day, 2014 and writers might like to bear this in mind.
5. The location of the performance should also be taken into account. The plays will be performed at Connah’s Quay [Flintshire] Labour Club in a convivial atmosphere, where the audience may well be sitting at tables. Although there is a rudimentary stage, it is likely that directors of the plays may well prefer to use the floor area. More details about the staging of the pieces are available on request. In any case writers should avoid complicated stage settings such as integral doors, sash windows and so on.
6. Closing date for the receipt of scripts is 6.30pm, Monday 9th December.
7. Scripts can be submitted as hard copy to Suitcase Theatre, Garden Cottage Leeswood Hall Mold or by e-mail to mike.suitcasetheatre@hotmail.co.uk.
8. In order to cover the cost of copying and printing, all scripts should be accompanied by a contribution of £1, which can come in the form of 2 x second class stamps or as a cheque made payable to Suitcase Theatre. All scripts will be acknowledged, and those received on or before Saturday 23rd November will receive feedback, which can be used if the writer wishes to make any alterations and re-submit.
9. Suitcase Theatre will also provide three workshops, with practical advice and tutoring for writers, the first [free] drop-in workshop being on Monday September 23rd between 4.30pm and 6.30pm in Buckley [Flintshire] Library.
10. Suitcase Theatre may call for the writers of successful scripts to re-draft and re-write where appropriate. All writers will be notified by email of the outcome of the selection of scripts.
11. Scripts need to be accompanied by clear details of the writer’s e-mail and/or postal addresses and telephone numbers. Writers should also include disclaimers, acknowledging that the script is his or her own work and previously unperformed and an agreement for Suitcase Theatre to perform any submitted script. Suitcase will pay royalties to the writer of any performed script.
12. Successful scripts will be directed and performed by members of Suitcase Theatre, a community theatre company based in North East Wales.
13. mike.suitcasetheatre@hotmail.co.uk

Playwriting Opportunity: 15-minute Horror Scripts

Planning ahead for 2014, the Shudders theatre company are holding a new script competition for 15 minute stage scripts. Now in it’s third year and in receipt of Arts Council Wales Research & Development funding, Shudders are calling out for 15 minute stage horror scripts.

Four £100 prizes are up for grabs to the four best scripts. Competition opens September 1st 2013 and closes November 30th. Visit the company website www.shudderstheatre.weebly.com for the full details and read the Terms & Conditions before entering.

From Short Play to Short Film

So it looks like, barring any last-minute upsets (and this is me knocking on wood because with this business you just never know), my 15-minute play “Warm Bodies” will soon be moving into pre-production as a short film. I’ve spoken with the producer and director, and they are supposedly e-mailing a licensing agreement for the work. Hasn’t popped into my inbox yet, but these things always take longer than anyone plans for. Someone in an office somewhere has a stack of stuff to type and send, etc. And so it goes.

Of course they’ll probably have to change the title, since there was a feature film not too long ago called Warm Bodies . . . After talking to the producer and director, answering their questions about the script, I feel I can trust them to manage it properly. As it stands, they’re hoping to get on with casting sometime this weekend. I’m curious to see what the finished product might look like. And I wish them the best in submitting to festivals once it’s done.

ETA: Licensing agreement now in hand. And so the production machine trundles forward . . .