WOW. That about sums up how I've felt watching this campaign take off over the last 5 days. That and so much gratitude, appreciation, thankfulness, bewilderment, amazement, love, excitement and more. There's been a lot of jumping-up-and-down-with-fists-pumping in my apartment.
I am not going to lie: the last five days have been EXHAUSTING. I am learning very quickly that running a Kickstarter Campaign is basically my other part-time job. But by asking myself every day "What can I give?" instead of "Please give us money," I make working on the campaign another artistic outlet.
An ensemble is forming across the nation and even internationally in support of this idea: the idea that storytelling can change lives and make us better people.
Last Sunday we had a lovely group of people over to celebrate the Kick-off of our Kickstarter. Jordan and I being huge board-game people, we brought down our games, broke out the spinach dip and had a great time! Plus, throughout the day, those sneaky characters of P&P started taking over Twitter, which was all kinds of mayhem fun! If you missed it, you can see the whole thing here: #PandPcharactersTAKEOVER. And who knows? They may make a reappearance...
Here's what's been happening on my end:
~Logan Anderson (our composer) and I continue to meet to talk about the music he's creating for our show.
~The cast of the Staged Reading of "Pride & Prejudice, an adaptation" is preparing and promoting.
~Why should we have to wait for the Staged Reading (April 3rd and 4th) to create art related to this show? We're artists, right? So that's what we do! This Friday, fellow co-artistic director Jordan Mackey and I are Viewpointing to Logan's music at Ashland's First Friday event. Next week I'll be taking anyone out to tea who wants to meet me at the Limestone Coffee house and learn how to create a Regency-style letter. Later I'll be teaching people how to paint the "enso" symbol. And we're hoping our cast will perform some scenes from the show outside, for everyone to enjoy.
~Every day of this campaign, I am sending you, the world, our audience, a gift. The gift is sometimes a photograph, sometimes a quote, sometimes a video or sometimes a scene from the play. Whatever it is, the intention is always the same as our campaign: Spread the love.
Here are the gifts that have been sent out thus far:
We have auditioned and cast an absolutely wonderful ensemble to be a part of our staged reading of "Pride & Prejudice, an adaptation." I was thrilled, honored and humbled by the turn out to our auditions, and was even more pleased to find that the group of people we've assembled aren't just individually talented: they work together beautifully as a whole. An ensemble.
As a director, when I'm casting a show, much of what I look for is how well the group works together. This is why I tend to run my auditions a bit differently than most. Instead of spending two hours calling in individuals to read or perform a monologue, I like to involve everyone at the audition in a group exercise of some sort. At this audition, I asked the auditionees to take a scene from the script and create a "sound-scape." A sound-scape is the atmosphere, background or feel of a scene, created using just sound. The actors could use the words on the page, but they could also use vocal gestures (any sound created by the voice that isn't a word), their hands, objects, anything that was available to them in the room. The only objective was to "create the atmosphere of the Netherfield Ball."
This ensemble created an absolutely stunning sound-scape. They filled the room with the swish-swish of dresses, the anticipation for the evening, the laughter filling the room and that feeling of getting lost in a dream world. It was an amazing thing to have a group of people who had never seen this text before, who had never done this type of work before, come in and create a world out of a piece of text I wrote at a Starbucks over a year ago. And all this in just half an hour.
We start rehearsals March 21st, but I can hardly wait! Already the cast has been brainstorming and creating wonderful pieces about their characters and the show.
If you are in the Southern Oregon area April 3rd and 4th, I can promise you, you are not going to want to miss this.
RSVP to our Facebook Event for the Staged Reading here.
Just two days ago we filmed our promotional video, scheduled to air when our Kickstarter Campaign kicks off, March 1st, 2015. Filming always takes longer than you think it will, but we only had three hours and it all had to get done. For me, it was a wonderful reunion with students of mine that had worked on the Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts' production--I hadn't seen most of them for several months. I had forgotten how magical and incredible Viewpoint work can be with an already-bonded ensemble.
Viewpoints is a movement-oriented method for training actors developed by a phenomenal woman named Anne Bogart. I studied her work in both high school and college and have been fascinated by it ever since. I used Viewpoints to work on scenes from "Pride & Prejudice" with my students at OCPA, and they took to it like fish to water.
I was happily surprised to find that within five minutes of starting our first Viewpoint session, the entire group was completely dropped in, ready to go. Considering that none of them had done any kind of Viewpoints since last summer, the connection that they were able to find was pretty impressive. Once everyone was ready, we prepared for the first shot, filmed by fantastic student film artist, Bryn Lanning. Keep an eye out for that name--I suspect you'll be hearing it more regularly over the next couple of years.
I could not have asked for a better, more focused, generous, open-hearted ensemble. Working entirely off of oreo cookies, we managed to film everything we needed and then some in that three hours. I've posted some photos that were taken during filming for your enjoyment. Look for the full promo video March 1st, 2015, when our Kickstarter Campaign officially kicks off, and we'll be sending out some additional teaser trailers as we get closer. Thanks for reading!
My Dad is a playwright--he's been writing shows for his non-profit, the Castro Valley Dramatic Arts Academy, for about 15 years now. When I talked to him about my writer's block, he suggested thinking outside the box. So I did.
I called up my best friend and we grabbed every hat we could find, my camera, a tripod, and what I had of the script thus far. We set up the camera in the garage and filmed everything that I had in the script, using nothing but hats and angles to distinguish between all 13 characters. We had a blast! Not only was I getting valuable feedback on my script, my passion for the project was renewed. I edited the video together and played it for my family, asking for feedback on the clarity of the story and characters.
Later that summer I moved to Ashland, Oregon with my partner in crime, Jordan Mackey. Filming became more difficult to do as most of our time was spent looking for work, so I went back to writing whenever I could. I got a job at a retail store in town which was right next door to a Starbucks. I made writing my treat to myself at the end of my work day--I'd leave work, head to Starbucks, get a chamomile tea and muffin, and sit down with my laptop. It became such a regular event that I started to know the baristas, and they knew me as the girl-who-is-writing-a-play-and-can-never-decide-what-drink-to-get. I will never be able to thank those girls enough for their patience with me while I tried to decide between saving money and getting the actual drink that I wanted.
By December my schedule was becoming increasingly busy and I was finding it more difficult to make time to write. My best friend had been encouraging and supporting me every step of the way, but as time stretched on and on and the script wasn't getting any closer to a complete first draft, she put her foot down. "By the end of February, you need to have a first draft," she told me. "Okay" I laughed, but something in me resolved that by February 28th, 2014, I would click send on an email to her that contained the first version of that script.
And so followed more Starbucks-sessions, mornings with my tea, my laptop, and my grandmother's well-loved copy of "Pride and Prejudice." Held together with duct tape and a rubber band, I had to be extremely careful as I searched through those faded pages for the dialogue I needed. December finished with a trip back home for Christmas. January and February flew by until I found myself, on February 28th, at Starbucks, with the store about to close, pressing send on an email addressed to my best friend, with an attachment that read "Pride&Prejudice_adaptation_FirstDraft."
As I walked home that night, my feet buoyant against the pavement, I realized that this was not my first attempt at an adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice." I had completely forgotten that about 8 years ago I had attempted to write an adaptation of it for film. When I got home and looked through my journals, there it was, my military adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, with Darcy a General and Elizabeth a Sergeant, divided by their rank. I had stopped writing when I realized I knew nothing about the military, let alone screenwriting. I had started it just months after having fallen in love with Jane Austen for the first time at that New Years Eve party, age 14.
It seemed Austen was going to be in my life, whether I knew what I was doing or not.
This is Elizabeth Bennet's first line in "Pride & Prejudice, an adaptation", and it was written in a moment of total frustration with the writing process. I had been working on the adaptation for a couple of months and was about 20 pages in when I realized I had no idea what I was doing, or where the piece was going. Sure, the story was pretty much laid out for me, but I wasn't a writer. What did I know about adapting novels for the stage, or any sort of playwriting, for that matter? The thrill of starting a new project was gone, and now all that was left was the work: sitting down at my desk day after day and clunking out pages. It seemed a bleak and tortuous future.
"Beginnings are always easy for me. I see an image and BAM, it starts. But middles...How we get there....Not so much" I typed ferociously into my laptop. I stared at the blinking cursor, my fingers hovering over the keyboard, all those stupid, blank pages taunting me. I closed my laptop and was done for the day...