So after I finished writing the script, I had a few friends read it and got positive feedback. I sent an e-mail to someone I met at a production company but jee never got back to me. That was about three days before the submission date for the BlueCat Screenplay Competition; I decided to wait because you can submit early and they will review your submission, then you can submit again for the contest and be reviewed again.
I thought the next logical step was to host my own screenplay reading. I sent an e-mail to a major local theater but never heard back. The MuCCC was supportive but alas booked solid for the year. I got started a bit with one person but jee dropped out for jeir own project so I got in touch with Phil Frey of ShakeCo: The Shakespeare Company who agreed to direct the reading.
Over the course of the last few months, I reformatted the script as a stage play (essentially adding a "Narrator" character who speaks the action.) Phil got hold of some actors, and we did a rehearsal on April 13. I was surprised to find so many errors — I thought I had edited pretty well. It was good to hear it out-loud for the first time (although I had to read quite a bit of it myself to fill in for missing actors.) In the end, I changed 45 of the 88 pages.
April 20 was the official reading at the Flying Squirrel. I didn't realize when I scheduled it (I actually didn't have much choice to fit everyone's schedule) but it overlapped the closing night of the High Falls Film Festival which may have prevented a few people from coming. Anyway, I had no idea how many people would show up so I made a lot of food. In the end it was only five people: just a few friends of mine. We were even short on actors and I had to read and my friend Ali read as well. Once again, it was good to hear it out loud and the feedback I got was very valuable even if it was kind of all over the board.
So now I need to go back and edit again. This time, more substantial changes to the structure of the story. One suggestion about gender roles led to a realization to let go of my love for the characters and to make sure their actions are for the interest of each one of them and not due to my love of the outcome. I also want to make some changes to get them on the road quicker (eliminating unnecessary exposition), and I'll move a local party to a destination along the way.
And here I thought it was pretty good already. Well, I still think it's pretty good. I just need to make it excellent.
I'd also like to thank Phil for directing and reading, Meredith Carroll for reading Ann, Jonathan Wetherbee for reading Ben, and Jacqueline Moe, Brad Craddock, and Ali Fernaays for reading the remaining smaller roles.
I have been working with Philip R. Frey of the ShakeCo: The Shakespeare Company on setting up a screenplay reading for Citizens Band. Phil designed the poster for the event:
We will get a group of actors to read the roles and do a script-in-hand reading with Phil directing. While he will bring his own expertise, my pattern is the script-in-hand readings at Geva Theatre for new plays wherein the group of actors sits at the rear of the stage and, for the scene being read, only the actors reading step forward and speak.
The audience is invited to stay for a discussion afterward and to be ready to offer comments such as whether they found the characters generally appealing, if their dialog is natural and accessible, if the relationship story arc is interesting and engaging, if the overall story is engaging, and if there are any weak or strong areas to focus on.
After the reading, the responses from the audience will guide the editing process. We will also be watching the audience to identify attentiveness, overall mood, laughter, etc.
The performance will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Flying Squirrel Community Space. The reading will take approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, and the discussion afterward should last 30 to 45 minutes. The reading is free and donations will be accepted for the Flying Squirrel.
We set up a Facebook event as well. Join it if you'd like.