Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Make Your Own Animation Movie

Here's a website where you input a script, choose your characters, add camera angles and end up with a rendered animation.  Oh, sure, they talk like robots.  But no actor is perfect. Here's a little snippet I just made. You can make you own here.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Play Reading Wrap-Up

The play readings yesterday were a lot of fun. The three pieces were very different, and had varying degrees of success. Menstruating Waitress from Hell was a great piece to start with, with a very accessible story and magnificent rule #13. Vote Her!! Vote Now!! was pure clownery and the audience roared at the relentless play on words and bawdy innuendo possible at a polling place full of ballot boxes. Freud had much to say about poles and boxes...but I digress. Baring Rapture had some laugh-out-loud scenes, but as one member of the audience remarked in the talkback, the humor is so dependent on the visuals that imagining them after the lines or before the lines when they were supposed to happen on the line... well, they do say comedy is timing. This is not a piece that lends itself to a simple staged reading.  Still, the audience was intrigued enough to want to see more of it, and so we are discussing the possibility of a full out production.

Yes, Broad Humor for stage. You heard it first here. 

Thursday, August 05, 2010

3 Farces by 3 Women - Staged Reading Sunday

We're having a play reading - yes, stage plays, not screenplays - on Sunday at the Electric Lodge in Venice @ 12:30. It's a trial balloon to see if we want Broad Humor to expand to theater.

There's a great bunch of actors reading 3 one-act farces. Actually, we start with a straight farce, Mara Lathrop's Menstruating Waitress from Hell.  The title speaks for itself.  From there we leave representational theater and head right over the cliff of reason. There's Baring Rapture about a Holy Roller movement in 1900's Oregon full of sex and sado-masochism all in the name of giving birth to the next baby Jesus. And then Jenny Hodges' Vote Her!! Vote Now!! which leaves the land of Reason altogether and takes up residence with Ubu and the Marx Brothers.

It's free, there'll be food and lots of fun.  Details below.  You can also email questions or reservations to info at broadhumor dot com.  Join us if you can.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

"Taking Care" of your Characters

I've been wondering lately if maybe there wasn't a problem in women's writing that was different from men's,  namely too much empathy.  Whether Nature or Nurture, women tend to be caretakers.  I wonder if this doesn't get in the way putting our characters through hell in order to reach transformation.

I mean, we all love our main characters, even when they're terrible human beings.  And we have a lifetime of practice helping our beloveds feel less pain.  So would it be any surprise if we didn't want to hurt them too much?  That we'd give them just enough pain to set up their growth, and no more.  Maybe that's why so many of the screenplays I read have loooonnngg set ups.  Pain avoidance.  Maybe, instead of saying "cut to the chase" we should say "cut to the pain."  And then stay there.  Make it worse.  Your whole plot should push your characters to the cliff and they should fight it kicking and screaming.  Over the cliff is not death, but rebirth. Even if the character physically dies, the whole point is this catharsis. For the audience. 

After all, the suffering you must create isn't really for the character or for you. It's for the viewer, to give them a ride that's worth taking. Most people who pay for a roller-coaster ride want to go wayyy up and wayyy down, and they want to feel their heart race along the way.  If you make it easy on your characters, you give your readers and viewers a hobby-horse ride instead.  That's fine for the little kids who get scared.  But big time rides for grown-ups, that is what most writers are aiming for.

Even if women's stories are structured differently than the Aristotelian rise to a single climax and a cigarette that may be more male, I would argue that transformation through suffering is neither male nor female but human.  And if you're the writer, you have to be the "sadist" in that you have to devise a plot that really cuts to the bone of their flaw and enjoy it. What are your thoughts about this?