Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back

So I thought this would be a cool idea. For New Years Eve I thought it would be cool to take my New Years Resolutions and see how far I got in 2013. So let's see how I did...
  1. 5 production credits: So I didn't get the five that I was hoping for but I did get a great reading and a great production of 27 Days. 
  2. Start Raising Capital: Didn't really do this one. It seemed like this year it was better for me to plan and work on making the blog better. Well you know, maybe next year!
  3. Step forward as Producer/Consultant: I got to work on the Redeye 10's Coast to Coast as the Producer for the Central Time Zone. It was fun to know I was part of a National Movement!
  4. Step out of the Musician/Performer Closet: Well I got to perform a bit over the summer with one of my cigar box guitars and I just made a new one. 
So I think three out of four ain't bad. I also got to see NewYork and the North for the first time, donated my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and did a lot of work for the End It Movement. So when you put all of that together it's been a very eventful year. I hope y'alls year has been amazing and wish you lots of luck in the next. See you later!

Monday, December 30, 2013

11 Hours to Go...

Twas the morning before Dr. Fronkensteen came and all through the Lair the Dragyn was stirring and trying to get prepared. The stockings were hung by the computer with care cause this was a bedroom, no fireplace there. And Dragyn in her Santa hat and cover in glitter tried to distract herself with facebook and twitter. Dr. Fronkensteen sat on a bus speeding fast. It honked at the cars and tried to get past. While Dragyn did text him "only 11 hours to go" Dr. Fronkensteen wrote back "Very soon, yes, I know." At 10pm Eastern they would be reunited. "Please get here quick!" Dragyn was terribly excited.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Does an Artist Need a Website

The post needed a pic... Viola!
Does an artist need to have a blog/website?

Is that a trick question? Of course an artist needs a website. For the same reason ANY business should have a website. To get a wider audience. Having a website or blog helps you create an online presence and start working on your living resume. What is great about a blog is you can talk about your accomplishments as they happen!

A blog is an especially good idea for an artist because you can share your art and who you are as an artist. It allows for people to step inside your world and learn more about you. You can post pictures and samples of your art. Dr. Fronkensteen actually has samples of his scripts on this page. It allows for people to see your work and decide if they like it.

Again with the resume, your blog helps highlight your style of work and how much you have accomplished in your career to date. People ask you "what do you do?" You reply "check out my site. It'll tell you all about me." And if you do it right it will.Your site or blog should also be set up so people (see future employers) can contact you.

A blog is also a way for you to connect with people. As you gain a following you will find other artists or people who want to work with you. Yes it's great to create for yourself but if you want to turn art into a career you need to get eyes on your work. A blog is a self-controlled way of doing just that.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Any Day!

Merry Christmas guys and dolls! It's your favorite neighborhood DragynAlly here taking over Dr. Fronkensteen's Lounge so he can get a much needed hiatus. He wrote 3 blog posts for me it's the least I can do. I know many of you will be opening gifts today and spending time with family. A few of you might not celebrate Christmas and some of you have to work today.

That's why I want to think of Christmas as not just a day. Sure that's what the calendar says but I disagree. Christmas is every day you cherish your loved ones and respect you fellow man (woman... person). Christmas is the feeling you get when you help others and you do good deeds. Christmas is the spirit of charity and goodwill.

Yes I am kind of celebrating Christmas today. My family doesn't really have plans. However my Christmas won't truly be here until Dr. Fronkensteen is on my doorstep in 5ish days! This will be our first Holiday together. So for us Christmas starts December 29/30. We will bake cookies, watch Christmas movies and exchange gifts just like it is December 25th. Because Christmas is what you make it.

Happiest of Holidays!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The True Meaning of Christmas

So if you asked me anything about Christmas I would have said anything but being in the Christmas mood. The week before I was sick with the flu and it took me forever to get back to any semblance of normal. I missed the church's Christmas musical and missed all of the Christmas cheer. I had to buy presents for everyone very late and it seems that with the family coming in very late we won't even be opening presents until Boxing Day (that's the day after Christmas for the uninitiated)

I spent forever trying regain the will to live, much less get into the Christmas spirit. I saw a lot of people out there getting their presents ready and making cookies and feeling the joy but you don't really feel it myself. All I saw was that I didn't have the money to buy any cool gifts, we weren't doing anything special, and my holiday didn't really start until afterwards.

Merry Christmas from the Fronkensteen Lounge!

But then I had to make myself realize that when you strip away all of the wrapping of Christmas, all of the consumerism, all of the Christian and Pagan tradition, and all of the other stuff you get the universal truth of Christmas. Christmas is about people spending a day with the people you love and spreading peace and joy. It's about taking a day off to be with your family. Christmas is people in a world in the darkest of winter lifting themselves up and turning towards light and happy things. The best gift that you give is when you give of yourself and share the joy with others.

I had to count my blessings and realize all of the good things around me. My family will be together. We're going to have a lot of fun and have lot's of good food. I'm working and doing well in school. I'll actually be celebrating two Christmases, one at home and one with DragynAlly in NJ. We are so excited about seeing each other and we know we're going to have a great time.

So my Christmas cheer is coming a little late but it will be there. And I'm really excited to be celebrating with my family and with my babycakes. So I hope that you guys have found the same joy that I have. Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Living Christ at Christmas @AdvntConspiracy

So have you ever noticed that the only way to seemingly do Christmas well is to either get horribly stressed and caught up in the commercialism or to just "sit on the sidelines" and not really participate. And as a Christian you're already in the tug of war in the whole "war on Christmas" debate which I personally think is a whole bunch of baloney. If you're like me and you personally believe that it's more important to keep Christ in your life instead of worrying about whether He gets lip-service this time of year you may wonder if there is anyone out there who has a movement designed just for you.

And that's where you find Advent Conspiracy.

Advent Conspiracy was a Christian Movement wanting to make sure that we focus on the true spirit of giving this Christmas. The philosophy is wrapped around four concepts to help you get free of Christmas stress.
  • Worship more: Realize that if you truly believe that Christmas is all about the birth of Christ then growing closer to Him and His teachings is a good step.
  • Spend Less: This doesn't mean that you have to never give presents to your friends and family. It just means that instead of a bunch of gifts that max out your credit cards and your family won't remember next year you focus on getting them that one gift that they'll remember forever!
  • Give More: They mean giving more of yourself and money to do good in this world. Instead of wasting ten bucks on those silly Secret Santa gifts why not get the whole office to donate that money to International Justice Mission or Living Water International, two of AC's partner ministries. Or volunteer your time at a local charity. They key idea is about doing something for good this Christmas.
  • Love All: Realize that one of the key points of Christmas is "peace on Earth and goodwill towards men". That means showing the love that you claim Christ had towards all people in your life.  Instead of getting into other people's "holiday drama" be the love that you want to see in the world.
And that's it. It reduces your holiday stress and makes you spend more time doing the things that count. It's not about making sure you force people to say "Christmas" instead of "Holidays" or trying to fight a  "War on Christmas". It's living that victory that you're celebrating the birth of the person that you believe is the Master of the Universe. So live like it. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Why I stink at playing "guitar"

So I play a lot of cigar box guitars and have one store-bought guitar that I play regularly. People often seem to marvel at how well I can play, especially when they note that I "only" have five strings. And they always find it funny when I say that I'm a horrible guitarist.

Me and my Axe. I call her Katie.
The truth is that I am a terrible "guitarist". But I'm a mediocre banjo player that discovered a great tuning for guitar for the lazy musician who doesn't want to learn new things. All because I like a little guy called Keith Richards maybe you've heard of him.

Because of my Tourettes I always found it hard to play instruments in anything resembling the proper way and add to that some ADHD that made it hard for me to sit through a lesson. So that means I learned most of my music chops the unconventional method of buying whatever instruments seemed easy and playing horribly on them until something worked. I tried bass and guitar, piano, mandolin, but something finally clicked with me playing the banjo.

Well after years of playing the banjo socially, mainly at talent shows and stuff, I wanted something that sounded better playing the rock and blues songs that I liked to play on it. People liked the "novelty" of hearing twangy hard rock but I found I was looking for something more like the sound of the guitar.  So I went out and bought one.

After struggling with trying to learn even basic chords on standard guitar tuning. I immediately started looking around the internet looking for simpler tunings. And then I saw a video of Keith Richards playing for the Rolling Stones on a guitar that only had five strings. FIVE!!! Just as many strings as a guitar. And when I looked up the tuning I was shocked to find it was exactly the same tuning as my banjo. So when I changed the tuning immediately and found that (having no traditional guitar training) I was actually playing a lot of the songs I knew within minutes!

So there you have it. I still really don't know how to play guitar and have no intention of really learning. I believe playing music should be fun and easy and I'm lazy and stuck in my ways. I love playing and wish more people picked up the tuning and played it. But will I ever call myself a "guitarist"? Nope. I'm just a banjo player that learned how to cheat.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Why I make Cigarbox Guitars

So I've talked a lot about making my instruments and even posted video of me playing my own homemade instruments here but maybe you've never even heard about these remarkably primal instruments or wonder why someone would ever choose to make their own instruments from scratch and play them.  So here are some of the reasons why I choose to make and play diddley bows, cigarbox  guitars, and other homemade instruments.

I may not have smoked them but I'm sure as heck gonna smoke on them.

  • They're cheap: The cigarbox guitar is at it's heart a poverty instrument. You make your own guitar because you can't afford to buy one in the first place. With the tools I have in my shed (tools anyone can get at a hardware store) I can make a workable cigar box guitar out of scrap for  less than $50. A used student level guitar (that means the cheap ones) is at least $200.
  • They're easy: Shane Speal posts a wonderful series of videos on youtube to teach people how to play diddey bows and cigarbox guitars. But if you've played a guitar at all and even if you haven't you can be playing a recognizable song within 30 minutes of getting your hands on one. There's little instruction needed to get playing. In fact most of rock and blues' greatest musicians started on one.
  • They help you play better: There's no better teacher for learning how to play the guitar than making it yourself. You learn that by using this box over that one and these strings over those what sounds come out of it. It's like the strings are telling you, "you need a slide to play us" or "this is how we want to sound." By making the instrument it teaches you how to play it.
  • They sound wretched: When you want a sound that sounds like blues coming from the deepest inner screeches of the abyss you want a cigar box guitar. These instruments aren't supposed to sound like the high quality instruments that cost thousands of dollars. These guitars are meant to sound nasty and the sound is so nasty it's good. 
  • They can be personalized: I take sharpies, stickers, and paint to my guitars. They can be a full expression of my style. You wouldn't dream of doing this to a Gibson Les Paul because it would ruin the value. Cigar box guitars are basically folk art you can play. 
  • They're durable: You can beat on these things as you play them and they take the abuse. After all all what are you going to do, wreck the value of an instrument that cost nothing to make and can be fixed in your own house in little time? I think I'll take the risk. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Fronkensteen Manifesto

So ever since I started the Lounge I wanted to create my own manifesto. Essentially a manifesto is your statement of what you think your chosen craft is and how you and the rest of the world should interface with it. A manifesto is your love letter to your art. Here is mine. It's subject to being edited as I go along. Tell me what you think.

Me and my friends eating before making Theatre with the Lubberland Dance Company
-Theatre is experimentation. Theatre should be homeless an nomadic. Not focused on making events but becoming events. Not about keeping out but allowing everyone in. Theatre should be as readily accessible and deceptively easy as blogging. Everyone should be able to try and through hard work be allowed to support themselves with it. 

-Theatre should not be tied into a building but break into the places where people are. Theatre can happen on a truck, theatre can happen in a house, the stage is this world. Theatre is allowed online and in impossible spaces. The theater is you!

-Theatre should not be ashamed of making money. Theatre is not a charity case. Artists should be allowed to do what they need to support themselves and know that they still have the dignity of being an artist. 

-Theatre should be not about being "discovered" but you discovering the potential in yourself. In your everyday surroundings, and in what you do now. You don't have to be discovered to make art as long as you discover that you can make art now! 

-Theatre is blending and melding. Theatre can be a mix of all of the artforms put together. Theater should never be afraid to mingle and make friends. To collaborate and make new forms and should never be afraid to help other people get started. Theatre is always starting and continually changing.

-Theatre should not be a prerequisite to do theatre. Anyone no matter of skill level, infrastructure, or economic status should be barred from pursuing a life of good art.  

-Theatre is about citizenship and being a responsible citizen in the theatre community. Pursuing justice and charity and equality for all. 

Fronkensteen Theatre is an expansion of the Little Theatre Movement. It's a Brother of Cheap Art and a cousin to Neo-Futurism. It evolves as it is grown and changes as new philosophies are added to the family. Remember that you the artist are the new Little Theater. The World is your Stage. The Means are whatever is around you. The Artistic Life is yours to live. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pay money for a cigar box guitar?

So I've gotten a little ticked by websites, Etsy stores, and other places where people sell cigar boxes they've made online. Now I'm not talking about custom shops like Smokehouse or Daddy Mojo Guitars that give you a custom professional axe that rivals the performance of a top shelf guitar you can buy at a music shop.   And I'm not talking about people who try to sell a great product that they made. What I have big problems with are these sites that sell these mass produced cigar box guitars and for a lot of money (like $90 or more)

I made this one this spring and I'm still constantly perfecting it!
Here's the thing, cigar box guitars are supposed to be instruments steeped in a tradition of poverty. When you didn't have enough money to even buy a very cheap guitar you went into your garage or
woodshed and you made one. These were custom things that had a sense of personality and uniqueness. These were not things you that had a million that looked just like them. These were not things that cost so much that people had to "save up" for. So why is it when I go onto the web and look at these people that I'm seeing one-strings that I can make in my own shed (That ANYONE can make) and being asked to fork over 90 bucks for it.

There's something about the core philosophy of these instruments that I feel is wronged when you do this with these instruments. These are peasant instruments, not professional guitars. They are supposed to be a celebration of personal artistry and uniqueness. At a certain point you just totally insult that entire philosophy. Please go out and buy a good cigar box guitar from somebody who is making them personally with love. When you start getting better at your skills and start getting serious about music then you really should invest in the more costly professional sounding instruments out there made by very talented craftsmen. I know I'm planning on getting a good four string sometime soon. But when you're talking about the backyard, gut-busting guitars that sound so primal when you make them yourself...at their foundation they're a folk art. Cheap art you can play. And that's how they should stay.

Win $500! #Giveaway

So DragynAlly made me do this. She says that I have the greatest readers in the world and I agree. She also said that you deserve to win a huge prize to help you with the Christmas season. So here it is! You can win $500 in cash. That should help pay a bill or two. 

Welcome to the $500 Cash Giveaway!

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Authors Michael Phillip Cash and Carole P. Roman have teamed up to offer readers everywhere the chance to win a great Christmas gift. One lucky reader will win $500 USD PayPal cash!

Carole P. Roman

Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012 for her first book, award winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Using an imaginary game she played with her grandson as a base, Captain No Beard was born.
"Captain No Beard - An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life" has not only been named to Kirkus Best of 2012, it received the Star of Remarkable Merit, and won the Pinnacle Award for 2012. "Pepper Parrot's Problem with Patience" Book 2 in the series, received 5 Stars from The ForeWord Review The Clarion Review. It has followed with six more books to the series. Motivated by her love of yoga, Roman has written a book that not only teaches four poses, but shows how easy and accessible yoga can be.
Her new non fiction series, "If You Were Me and Lived in..." combines her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us. The debut book in the series, "If You Were Me and Lived in...Mexico" has won the Pinnacle Award for Best in Children's Non Fiction 2012. France, South Korea, Norway, Kenya and Turkey. They will be followed with India and Australia.
She plans to do Portugal, Greece, and Argentina next year. Writing for children has opened up a whole second act for her. While she is still working in her family business, this has enabled her to share her sense of humor as well as love for history and culture with the audience she adores. Roman lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children.

Michael Phillip Cash

Michael Phillip Cash's first book "Brood X - A Firsthand Account of the Great Cicada Invasion" is presently under consideration for a film adaptation. His well received second novel, "Stillwell - A Haunting on Long Island", has stayed on the top of Amazon's "100 Best Seller" in it's genre since its release earlier this year.
He recently released "The Hanging Tree", his first novella. Michael is currently working on a new book, Schism, which will be available soon on Amazon. Michael lives on Long Island with his wife and children.

We wish our readers Happy Holidays and warm wishes.
Good luck to all and to all a good night!

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

How to keep a Millenial interested.

Hello guys and dolls. Dr. Fronkensteen here. I just got done listening to this podcast right here from Cracked.com. I found it intriguing and enlightening but I did something right after listening that I wish I didn't. I read the comments. It was full of these people (all most likely a lot older) going on and on about how they don't like to hire "Millenials" (people born 1985 and sooner) because they're lazy, the get bored easily, they don't like the entry level work of most jobs, and they don't have any ambition. Something that I know is just plain wrong.

I'll readily admit I was a 90's kid and kinda grew up thinking that I was a Gen X-er only to have some guy in an office take that title away from me and lump me with the kids that were born after the century changed. At first I resented it. 90's kids are a weird breed. My gf says that we are the generation that was born in the 80's, grew up in the 90's, and embittered by the 00's. We were born at a time when the techno age was still dial up and AOL but inherited a 20's with Iphones and Google.  But more and more I do have to admit that I'm a Millenial at heart. So it bothers me when I keep hearing people bad mouth this generation because we don't happen to play by your rules. So maybe I can leave you some insight about how we are hardwired differently and some tips to make sure you can keep a Millenial Happy at their job.
We raised awareness about a huge social issue with a single X and all from our homes. Are we really all that lazy?

  1. We were told we can change the world sitting down: I've often talked about the End It Movement before on this blog. The Movement originated at concert and conference called the Passion Conference. At this weekend conference and concert my first year there (basically a vacation for most of us) 40 k broke college students raised a couple million dollars to fund organizations, even a task force for Atlanta Police, to help end human trafficking. And then we sang afterwards. On our vacation we helped change the world and fund major missions to end a world problem and then went home to go back to classes the next week. What is your job doing that's more interesting than our vacations?
  2. We're more fulfilled in our hobbies: I currently work part time (10 hours a week). In my "free time" work on this blog, tinker with social media, and write/market my plays. I work about thirty hours a week on it for free. On this "hobby" in my free time I reach about thousand people or more in my social media, get about 500-1,000 unique readers on my site a month, and by putting my playwriting portfolio online I get instant feedback from people who've read my work. My gf, DragynAlly does so much better than that (because she is so awesome)! Frequently a lot of Millenials get this much attention on their blogs. I reach all those people in my (unpaid) free time. What's your job doing that's more fulfilling than my free time?
  3. We're told we have to go to college to get a job we "deserve": Anyone can find in a google search how much debt students take on to get a Bachelor's degree and even an Advanced degree.   We were told that "flipping burgers" or working a "menial" job is beneath us. So we spend a lot of money to get an advanced degree to get the job we're told we'll deserve and then we get out into the real world and we're told that we're "unqualified" for the jobs left available to us. And then we find out that there aren't as many jobs left for us in our degree field as we were told when we read the brochure. Is your job something that we "deserve"?
  4. We were told to value our creativity and independent thinking: I remember being told as a kid that I can think my way out of any problem and that I could do it alone or working in a small team. And we were also taught to multi task. I have several friends who I work with from time to time. If I make them work the same menial and tedious job in your office they're often going to get bored. But if I give them a mission and the responsibility to do it all by themselves they'll often rise to the challenge and exceed your expectations. It's the difference between "file these papers and sort these documents" and "how are you going to make us more organized?" It's the same end product but our version of it. Is your job making us cogs in your machine or do we have responsibility?
  5. We can access the information better than you can: If you start circulating a rumor you heard on the radio we can do a quick Google search and tell you that Snopes.com already declared it an urban legend. If you start badmouthing a certain public figure or a piece of legislation based on a news report we can dig up about six reports with the facts. This is how we base our worldview, by finding the facts ourselves. Give me a topic and in about a week I can get enough info free online to fill a textbook on it. Give us enough time and we can be experts on any topic. Is your job asking us to take your facts at face value or is it allowing us to make up our own minds and add to the situation?
I hope that you found this informative. There was a name that they first created for my generation that I always thought was going to stick. They first started calling us the "Mosaic Generation" because we were the generation that got to piece ourselves together from whatever remnants we could find. We were the first generation that could choose to make ourselves instead of being made by who was before us. I hope it does stick. And I hope that all the Millenials out there will smile when the read this and keep piecing themselves together. Have fun!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Shuffle #WritingPrompt

Here is a cool writing prompt from my the genius of DragynAlly. So do you like listen to music while you write. Don't let an opportunity pass you buy to use those tasty tunes to help you write your play!

Start writing and put your Ipod on shuffle. Start playing and write a scene for each song. You only have a limited amount of time to write the scene though because when the song ends you have to immediately stop that scene and start writing a new one. By the end of the session you'll at least have a cool working outline for a play with no thought required.

Bust a move and write a play at the same time? I'm in!

What are some variations for this? Well what if you're trying to create a character and you have no clue for what to make of them? Well why don't you make a playlist for that character and use each song as inspiration for an interesting quirk or character trait. I did this once for for a character of mine who was a former pastor turned heavy rocker. I started looking for songs from both the Christian perspective and classic rock songs that told me who he was and who he is now.

Songs and other media are like goldmines. They are worth their weight in story ideas and character ideas. They start these narratives in our heads that we must get out. It's our job to dig for them and use them for our purposes. So grab your Ipods, Iphones, (or in my case my Walkman) and start looking for your next ideas.

And as always have fun!

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Favorite thing about Being in the Theatre

I think my favorite thing about being in the theatre is getting all of the people together. Also seeing an empty space and knowing that in four weeks there's going to be theatre there.  I love seeing the whole process. I love seeing the day by day process of the set being built and I love seeing the journey of actors with their scripts in hand the first week and making discoveries and then making characters their own.

I have what I would call the producer sickness. That means when I walk into a room the first thing that I do is think to myself, "I could do turn this into a theatre space." And when I get a good idea I just have to get my friends together and do it. I have to get my theatre family together and do it.

It's that aspect that makes me a junkie about the theatre. It's that feeling where you would do anything to just be in the building, to volunteer to sweep the floor if that's what it takes to see this process unfold. It's seeing how this show went from words on a page to the end product that we see on opening night that makes it all worth while to me.

So everyone needs their "X" Factor that makes them want to follow their dreams. I love hearing people tell me what keeps them going in this industry. For me it's sitting on the bare stage before the first read through and knowing that in four weeks we'll soon see the space get transformed into a new space and on opening night we'll be able to share with the audience the journey we took to get there.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from the Fronkensteen Lounge

So this officially the Fronkensteen Lounge's 200th Blog Post. Yay! I've been so thankful for this blog and all of my readers. I've loved doing this so much. And so I'm glad that I've had this occasion to celebrate my 200th and tell everyone what I'm thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Fronkensteen Lounge!
Happy Thanksgiving from Dr. Fronkensteen and DragynAlly!
  • My smoking hot girlfriend!
  • Family and Friends
  • My wonderful theatre family. (Hollins Woot!)
  • The ability to make great music
  • Good stories that keep coming!
  • And my wonderful fans!
  • That I got past another year at graduate school.
  • My health.
  • My blog going past a year (and still chugging!)
  • My great job that lets me play with beautiful babies. 
So that's it! Please enjoy your turkey and all of the fun with family and friends! Cherish what you're thankful for and let people know how thankful you are for them. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How many Characters does it Take?

So a lot of people ask me..."how many characters to make a good play?" I always have two answers to this and no one believes me.  My first answer is "enough" and the second answer is "where do you want it produced?"

Let's start with the first question.... 

The easiest answer is that you should write as many characters as it can take to write your story. Everyone knows that story that has way too many characters to the point where you can't follow the action. But everyone has seen that other side of the coin where there are only three characters and the play is just dragging! (yuck)

And now for the second...

The problem with putting as many characters in your play as possible is that someone will eventually have to cast all of them from their (probably small talent pool). And, unfortunately, there are some realities that theaters face in the casting pool. And there are a couple of play markets that have different cast sizes. Here is just a small (but not exhaustive) list of play markets and their casting requirements.

  • High School (10-20): In a highschool you normally have to find a play that can get your whole class on stage. You normally need one or two leads and a lot of character actors with little stage time. And highschools are always banking on having parents and grandparents show up so the more is the merrier.
  • Community/College (10): If you're commissioned to write a play at a certain venue you normally have to work with the talent pool available. But usually in the community market you'll find that they just don't know who's going to walk in the door to audition. So ten is usually pushing the limit. Unless kids or a musical is involved and then highschool rules apply.
  • Regional/College (6-15): A regional and college venue normally has a regular pool of resident actors that they have to use for the whole season. But however many that they have it is a finite talent pool. So having a smaller number of characters where they can try multiple combinations in auditions and plan for understudies is great. 
  • Fringe/BlackBox (no more than six): The reason behind having a small cast in this market is for the very idea that you most likely have to travel and a small stage space for them to perform on. And also because of the money. Usually you have less seats which means less money. That means that if you can write a play with only two or three characters that's only two or three actors that they have to pay from a limited amount of money. 
  • One Man Show (1): Enough said. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Find your own Tribe

So if I've learned one thing about theatre it's one thing. The best roles and opps I've ever gotten I never really "auditioned/interviewed" for. That's not to say that I never sat in the auditions for them or talked with an interview board and it didn't mean that I didn't have to mind my manners and have my stuff together. It's just that when I walked into the interview I knew that I had a small little "in" already. It's because I've always followed this rule given by Jose Rivera.

His biggest rule was "find your tribe". In theatre we tend to create our own families. I started to realize this when I was getting some of my more important resume credits they all came through my connections with the same people. These people became my theatre family for a little while, people I could almost count on to get some work going.  I found that I had this group of people that as long as I was good to them they were very good to me.

Remember over the summer when I told you to generate a lead list? That's a great tool in your box to keep yourself working but also as you feel that you've been working with people more than at least three times it might be time that you start to deepen the relationship. Also think about the people that you always seem to be working with all of the time. Those are your theatre family. As much as you work to maintain your leads you should probably spend some more time making sure that these people feel special.

Here are some things I'm going to try to do to make my theatre family feel special n the next year. Maybe you can find inspiration in these!

  • Greeting Cards: Stamps are cheap. I want to make sure that I'm sending cards at least four times a year in 2014.
  • Swapping Scripts: I want to make sure that I can get my theatre family to know that I'm aware of what they do. So I want to make sure I'm swapping scripts with them and reading their scripts. And also continuing the convo with them later.
  • Sharing Opps: I want my theatre family to know that I'm looking to work on their stuff. So whenever I have something I need to get done I want them to know I'm ready to trade with them. If they do something for me I'm more than willing to do something for them. 
Try these out! I know that I definitely am. In 2014 I not only want to build my theatre network but I want to make sure that my theatre family knows how much I appreciate them!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Journaling for a new play! #10InchesProject

So recently I started a new play project that I've loosely titled The Ten Inches Project. It's started out as me decompressing about my year long journey to grow my hair out to donate and then it evolved into me remembering all of the people I know who lost their struggle with cancer. But then it snowballed into me remembering everyone who was important to me who passed away. Now I'm almost halfway finished and while like every rough draft I know it's going to need a rewrite I start to see the potential of a good play there.

And sometimes that's what you need to write a new play. Sometimes a play spawns from that personal part of your life that you just have to get out. I started with just something that I wanted to say and as it started to pour out of me I started to see what was taking shape. There's something about your personal life that gives your plays something to that just rings of truth. It's like the raw ore that you pull out of the ground. It's now really workable yet but when you refine it in the fire of revision it really starts to shine.

See real life is great sometimes...
A tip that I try to do is add some organization into the chaos...or you could call it method to the madness. I try to keep all of my ramblings to a uniform page length so that they can easily be turned into scenes when I come back to rewrite.  The main thing is to not really have an end product in mind and just let it all flow out. The organization is to help you pick it apart later.

A lot of people say that pulling stuff from your personal life is not a great way to write a play. I say that's it's a great way to start a rough draft. Eventually you have to make it into an actual working play. But in the process of writing I think that it helps you a lot to look for the material that life has already given you to get your play going.

Wanna see how I'm doing? Be sure to follow #10InchesProject on Twitter. Follow the convo and join in and I'll see you there!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Giving up my religion...

So I want to say that I normally don't want to say that I normally don't post a lot about my religion online.  I have a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ and I like to respect other people who follow their own hearts and have their own beliefs. We're all following something and while I follow my journey I like to respect people that are on theirs. So even if you don't subscribe to the whole "christian thing" maybe you'll read it and still get something out of it.

But I just had to get something off of my chest. I've been on a journey within a journey recently and it's led me to a place that I never thought I would be. I recently reached the last step on my recovery from fundamentalism. That last step was looking at the bible and going "what does the bible actually say?"  

You may have wondered what I was doing as a Christian before. Well I was always searching for what God wanted me to do and looking for what the Bible meant to me in the present day. But there was a time in my life that if you asked me about what I believed about a topic...say creationism or gay rights I would have said something like, "well my pastor says this" or "this bible scholar says.." But I couldn't have told you what the Bible said about that topic. I could have told you what my mom and pastor said but I couldn't have told you what God and His Word said about it. 

And when I started digging into the Bible more I started seeing that several Christians out there that will make radical stands against something, people who have mistaken politics for religion, and people that have said a lot of outlandish things and claimed that they were God's word only because they're taking a verse out of context and trying to twist it into what they believe. Or they're trying to take a lot of things  that people have added onto their religion, stuff that their parents, pastors, and years of organized religion and outdated philosophies and shape the the Bible around it. 

I found that by taking off all of the filters and contexts that I thought that I knew about the Bible and starting from the foundation that I truly know nothing other than that I have a relationship with Christ and started from there that I found all of the burdens from my old fundamentalism ways falling off of me.

It was when I started looking at what Jesus actually said that I was able to notice all the things that I believed before that were no part of what He focused on while on this earth. Jesus says nothing about hating homosexuals, or denouncing science and progress, or guns, or for that matter hating anyone. But He did talk about loving everybody and self sacrifice. He did talk about doing your civic duty but not buying into partisan politics. Jesus, the greek name for a Jewish boy named Joshua of Nazareth, was a long haired Jewish teacher that healed the sick, ate lunch with "sinners" and instead of fighting for his rights to lord it over people gave his own life so that we could all be equal in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

You might scratch you head and say, "that has nothing to do with religion". I would say "exactly", but I would say that's everything to do with being a true Christian. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

May Designs are very Noteworthy! #giveaway

So here is my second review in my dinosaur themed holiday gift guide. This is a great custom notebook from May Designs. But before I get on to any specifics let's get some formalities over.

Disclaimer: I was given a custom notebook of my own in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

So I have had May Design's notebooks for a long time ever since my girlfriend DragynAlly showed them to me. I'm a writer and an academic and so I always love having a notebook handy when I need to make a quick note or a sketch. So May Design's takes that kind of utility and gives you a personalized trendy cover to make even the most utilitarian notebook a unique fashion statement.

Like I said I've had two notebooks from May Designs and they have been attached to the hip to me these past two years that I've had them. They have wide margins and clear lines and a narrow spine so that you can get them to lay flat. And they are the perfect size to make notes in class or write down those lines that have been in your head. I'm a playwright so I have different characters and lines floating in my head all the time. Now I can go to my notebooks and look over my thoughts.

And here's the greatest thing about them. Their convenient size means that I can stack them all up on my nightstand and they don't take as much space as a composition notebook or a spiral notebook. I can fit them on my book shelf with the rest of my books and know where they are. Oh and because they're all so personalized I can know by looking at them which notebooks they are and what's inside.

They're also very tightly stitched and have great plastic covers for better durability. And you can customize them on their website to any combination of designs and colors to make your notebook as cool as possible. My gf razzes me about picking my hot pink notebook with sparkles and dinosaurs on it. I fell in love with the cover the minute I saw it and it was just as cute coming out of the package as it was on the screen. Whatever your personality or style I bet that May Designs has a cover for it.

I can tell you from experience that these notebooks are great gifts. My gf DragynAlly just gave me a new planner for next year for my birthday. You can go to their website and pick out the perfect notebook, planner, wedding planner, diet planner, or journal for that special someone.

And now you can enter to win a $26 credit from May Designs to win one of your very own. Rules in the rafflecopter. If you want to win even more May Designs notebooks go to The Dragyn's Lair and enter her giveaway for a $51 credit on the site.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 15, 2013

Go Prehistoric with Safari Ltd. #giveaway

So hey guys and gals it's your wonderful and talented Dr. Fronkensteen here with my very first holiday gift guide.  Now before we go any farther let me get some formalities out of the way.

Disclaimer: I was given three Safari Ltd. dinosaurs to review. The giveaway is sponsored by Safari Ltd. All opinions are my own.

So ever since I was a kid I loved dinosaurs and I grew up on the Jurassic Park movies. As a little kid growing up with Tourettes Syndrome I remember having a pretty big collection of dinosaur toys and I loved playing with them and creating lots of epic stories and characters.  So when Safari Ltd. sent me the three coolest dinosaurs ever, Bruce (T-Rex), Trey (Triceratops), and Ruby (Stegosaurus), I knew that my inner dino geek would be pleased!

I've always loved dinosaurs because they're the biggest and coolest animals we've never seen. Because they're from a time long gone all we know about them is from the record created in the rocks below us. So now with Safari Ltd. you can have all of those cool things at the palm of your hand. If you have a dino lover in your family these are the perfect gifts!

Bruce, Max, and Ruby are the perfect trio because they are the classic dinosaurs you think about in your childhood memories when you watched cartoons and movies of these great beasts. I called my T-Rex Bruce because he was the boss like Springsteen. And then I called my Triceratops Trey because he's got three horns and he needed a name as cool as his horns. And when I showed my stegosaurus to my girlfriend I wanted to call him Spike but she just shook her head and said "HER name is Ruby, get it right!" And that's how I know that Safari Ltd got these dinosaurs right. The minute I opened the box I saw their personalities and knew that they had to have names. They didn't make me toys. They made me friends!

Safari Ltd. made my friends to the highest quality ever. They're made of hard durable material that can take a bout of hard play but are so beautifully hand painted that you can put them on the shelf and display them as collectors pieces. And did I mention that they're anatomically correct? The hardest thing when you're looking for good dinosaur toys is that they are cartoonish and historically innaccurate, (like the brontosaurus which is cute but sadly doesn't exist) But not so for Safari Ltd.! These dinosaurs look like they came right out of the Cretaceous period with accurate joints and scale. I love that these guys are realistic because they seem to come to life in my hand.

And did I mention that they are also durable? I work in a nursery so I know how much toys can take a beating when you get a couple of three year-olds playing with them. But I've knocked these toys around, dropped them, and scratched at them and there's not a mark on them. These little dinos are made to stand the test against time. So that your little one can have as much time with his new little friends as humanly possible.

These guys being me right back to the days of playing with the scale dinosaur models in preschool. I was a quiet kid and played off by myself in the corner. And it was Stretch the Apatosaurus and Bruno the T-Rex that kept me company. I had spent years looking for those models at Toy Stores and museums because I never found them. But Safari Ltd. introduced me to my new little friends. And they can introduce your kids to their little friends too.

And now you can enter to win a dinosaur of your very own. Rules in the rafflecopter. If dinosaurs aren't your thing you can enter to win some dragons at the Dragyn's Lair.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 14, 2013

DragynAlly Took Over! #DearSantaLoveDragyn #Giveaway

I love a hostile take over! Happy Holidays Fronkensteen followers. DragynAlly here with a fun giveaway. A $100 Disney giveaway to be exact! We are celebrating in a big way around here because it is a part of my Dear Santa... Love Dragyn Holiday Gift Guide. Read all about it below.

DragynAlly has been really good this year and she's sharing her wish list with the world in the "Dear Santa...Love Dragyn" holiday gift guide. Featuring over twenty giveaways from brands that are good for guys, dolls, adults and kids the Dragyn's Lair is coming at you with fun and exciting products for all ages!

Products from the likes of Safari Ltd, May Designs, and Playmates Toys. Starting today you can have the chance to win books toys and personalized gifts. There's even a resort stay at the Valley Forge Hotel and Casino.

A fan of more "grown-up" fare? Then you can win a gift certificate to go towards a bottle from Plagido's Winery or a cool product from Curvy Bride NJ. From now until December 11th you can enter to win these great products and even a gift card for $100!

 DragynAlly wants to help you find the hottest, coolest, and sexiest gifts for the holidaze season in time to make your shopping list before Black Friday even rolls around. Now you'll know what to ask Santa for this year or have the perfect idea for a gift to make a special someone's wish come true! So come on over to the Dragyn's Lair to see all the fun!

Thank you: The Fronkensteen Lounge MapleMouseMama DISTherapy Pursuing the Magic Magical Mouse Schoolhouse Jackie's Magical Moments Return to Disney Tricia Ballad Author My Pixie Dust Diary a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 8, 2013

The #10InchesProject is Under Way @LocksLove #10InchesProject

So today is the day. All the hair that I've spent a year growing is getting chopped off and sent to Locks of Love. There have been so many people who have inspired me and lost or bravely fought the battle with cancer that I wanted to do something to commemorate how they impressed themselves on my life.

But also I realized that this has been a weird journey for me. I've spent a year growing this all out. And it's been quite a life in the world of long hair. I've never had it this long and I doubt it's going to be this long again. But it's also been a long year remembering how all the people you've been close with who died have made an impact on you. And as I go and tell their stories I realize I'm also telling my own. Because their stories and mine are intertwined and you can't tell one without the other.

So that got me thinking. And it soon became obvious that I was going to do another New Play Project to tell the amazing stories of these people and how they affected me. And so the 10 Inches Project was born. Starting today I'll be taking the next ten days to write a new play. One that hopefully can talk about hope and remembrance but also used as a play to raise awareness and benefit cancer and cancer fighters.

So what can you do? Join the conversation with me while I write this play by following the #10InchesProject hashtag on twitter. Then after it's done I'm going to put the draft up on line and ask you for your input into it's development. I'm always trying new ways to get people involved in my work and use cyberspace and social media to make my village around my plays. Social Media has helped me create my theatre tribe and even if the only part of theatre that you get is a seat in the audience I want you to help me. Let me know your thoughts as I get this new play up and going!

Keep tuned and follow the hashtag. Let's do this.

Friday, November 1, 2013

All Saints Day Special @LocksLove

All Saint's Day is a time where you take time out to remember all of the Saints that have gone on before us. I choose to take extra time and remember all of the bright stars that left this life that were a guiding force in my life. Their lights are dim now but they will always be there.

This time last year I started on a journey to remember all of the people who have lost the battle to cancer. I decided that I would take a year to grow my hair to donate it to Locks of Love. It was a weird process to get it to the required ten inches. This is the longest it's ever been. Yeah it's been a cool ride and I've had fun sporting the hippy look for a while but I never forgot that it was about spending a year thinking about how they contributed to my life and about the person who might benefit from my donation.
Me and My Hair. Ain't it long!

So next week I'll be completely bald. Me and the gf get a week to say goodbye to my hair but then I get to do what I started out to do and that's sacrificing a little bit of yourself to impact someone's life for the good. And that's the real important thing.

This All Saint's Day post is dedicated to five people who have lost the fight with cancer. I hope that on the other side that they know that they made a difference in my life and that their story will live on. As I walk I want them to be walking with me.

In Memoriam to: Papa John, Aunt Faye, Rev. Boyer, Shelby Kay, and Mr. Henry. You are missed but always present.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

27 Days is getting it's world premiere! #27daysplay

So 27 Days is getting it's world premier in Roanoke tomorrow. I never thought that within six months of writing it that it would be getting on a stage this soon. It started out as an idea in my head that this was a cause that needed a voice. That this was a hidden population that needed to be brought to light. And I set out with an idea that I could right a play in 27 hours for this cause. It was a super crazy idea that drained a lot of out of me but at the end of the day something odd and magical happened to me.

And then that raw material of the rough draft was fired in the most intense development fires I can ever know at the Playwright's Lab at Hollins University. I met just the right group of ladies to get a great reading and got some of the most supportive and intense feed back by my Hollins family.

A publicity image from the World Premiere. Borrowed from Troupe 30 C and Brandon DuMonde
And now it's getting out there on it's own. It's in the most capable hands of a dear colleague and I know it's going to be great. My only wish is that I could be there.

But is this where the story ends? Not in the least. Now it's your turn. In the year 2014 I'll be launching 27 Days' World Premiere Year! I'll be pushing to raise as much awareness as I can for human trafficking and striving to get 27 Days 20 productions by December of next year. And you can help me by getting the word out as much as I can. You can read the script on my "Plays for a Difference Page" and then you can pass it on to someone else. And if you believe that you want to take a step further and be one of the twenty people that produce the play then email me and let me know.

Me in the feedback session for 27days first public reading. 
I want this to start from the bottom up and connect with as many people I can to help launch the movement. It's not about getting a lot of productions to help my career it's about getting the play out where it can help end Human Trafficking in our lifetime. So will you join me in this? Will you join the conversation and help shine a light on slavery?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

If I only had a Heart #writerwednesday

My gf would tell me that I am a Tin Man who just learned how to be a Scarecrow. I have a very active brain that can make a lot of connections and be very witty when it wants to which helps a bit with blog posts and term papers. But recently I found that in my writing my head wasn't my friend and my gf, as the writing coach that I could never afford, challenged me to put some heart into my writing. Especially my plays. So I should trade in my axe for some straw and get some heart.

And I myself noticed that my brain wasn't my friend when it came to writing. I have the problem sometimes where I think of all of the plays that I should be writing and what formats my stories should following that I'll often give myself writer's block. Sometimes it can be like giving myself so many logs to float down the river into the play that they get all jammed up.  It also be because I'm trying to stick so much to a certain format or genre to make my play more "marketable" that I fabricate the story into the corner.

Case in point. I have a poster board in the corner of my office right now that has a bunch of post-it notes on it. Each post-it has a title of a play that I think I "should write". Have I written any of them? Nope. I have the ideas but I never get them out because yeah the ideas are funny but I found out that good ideas are never what brought me to the keyboard with a play that I just had to write. What does get me writing is causes, injustices in this world, or that nagging tug in my heart that says "you HAVE to say something about this." I wrote the entirety of 27 Days with my heart tugging me along for the ride, spurring me on to write just one more scene each time.

I found that the greatest plays you write will be the ones that, while they feel like a prizefight to get them out of your heart, are the easiest plays for you to get on paper. I found that there are some plays that are just super easy for me to write, as in the don't require me to think and I can just stick to my heart and let it decide. My best plays have come about when I leave my brain out of the equation until the revisions come around.

My gf, in all her wisdom, summed it up earlier this year. She keeps saying that "Causes are your Muse". I have to have a protest song to sing an oppressed face to give a voice too. Or sometimes I have to have an overlooked character whose soul is screaming out to me "I need to be put onstage, please let me out!" It's my heart that makes such a great writing companion in the first stages. My brain gets to play later when the revisions start.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Living with OCD #tourettestuesday

So one of the biggest problems with Tourettes is the piggybacking disorders. You have to contend with  all of the problems with the tics and everything and then you have to battle with two other disorders. I have ADHD and OCD and I can tell you that when I'm having a bad day with my TS I feel my OCD and ADHD so much more.

I know from experience how bad OCD can be. When my sister died my world was torn apart. And it seemed like it took forever for my life to come back to me. My OCD wasn't in hand washing and stuff it came from watching television. I started by watching all of the shows that my sister and I would watch together and then it was about watching all of my favorite shows and having everything put right. The volume had to be put in exactly the right place, it had be on exactly the same channel each time, and if it ever changed my world started spinning and the anxiety started to kill me. Sometimes I couldn't breathe.

And when I hit it hard I hit hard. At one point for a school assignment I had to log how many hours or television I was watching for a week. I came back and found out that I was watching about forty hours a week.  In other words I was still going to college for eight hours a day but still logging in as many hours of TV as if it was my full time job. It was then that I had one of those moments of clarity where I realized that my routine that got me through 4 years of highschool was killing me through college and I just couldn't do it anymore.

They way I explain OCD is maintaining a ritual that keeps the "gremlins" at bay.  You know that technically that can't happen but the anxiety gets so real that you feel that if you're suffering so hard there has to be a real reason. You have to keep to a routine and keep something exactly the same way or then that anxiety hits you and you start to panic and the world won't be right until you get back on the routine again. It took me years to help cope with some of my OCD and I still struggle with it now. But it's loving the life outside of your routine that helps you let go.

Monday, October 28, 2013

About Jamming

Here's another one of my video jam sessions. I believe jamming is the key part to learning an instrument or learning anything. It's that tinkering and fiddling around that gets your brain flowing, making connections and taking the fundamentals to the next level. I found out that I learned most of my chops through jamming along.

 Sure the fundamentals and research helped answer some questions but jamming helped me know which questions to ask. It's the tinkering that makes you go, "how does that happen?" Or "how do I make this sound smoother?" And that gets you digging around and talking to some of your buddies next time you get to playing together and then you find a question and go. "Oh, let me try that next time."

It's also about daring to fail and getting out there without the fear of sounding bad. Fundamentals are about learning how to fly, improvisation is about jumping off the cliff. You don't get into the air until you do. So keep trying and dare to fail! And keep jamming!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What makes me different...

I've been having an internal struggle for several years, actually ever since I've been trying to write plays. And every time I've tried to voice it I've come across as crass and critical of other playwrights.  It wasn't until just recently that my wonderful and brilliant girlfriend finally pointed it out to me. For years I've been trying to say things like "winning awards and submitting to open submissions don't help me" and that's come across to my some of my most respected friends and colleagues as saying that I think that their awards and productions don't mean anything. Of course your awards mean something and I will happily be the first person to cheer them on when they get them. I love being able to say that I know multiple friends who have won Kennedy Center honors and great regional awards and gotten published. But what I guess I've been trying to say for forever and failing is that while those things are great for them they don't motivate me at all.

The first production of one of my first plays. The Director thought a female would be better as the lead than the male I intended.  When you listen to your directors and trust them they can help you see things you never saw.
What motivates me is seeing my work produced. I don't care where it is or what the name on the marquee is I love getting a group of people together who unite to create a work of art. I love having complete strangers read and be critical of my work because then I know that they're engaged. I like it when people get excited about putting my work onstage and hearing them talk about their struggles and joy getting it there. What I guess I don't like is middlemen, and I feel that a lot of the tried and true methods of getting your play out there are riddled with them. I like to put my plays online because then I know it's getting into the hands of a director actively looking for their next play or an actor desperately looking for another character to inhabit.

Some people will say that means I set myself up for copyright infringement or someone "messing with my text". Well for me I don't mind giving some of the control over. I could be sitting on a script and waiting for the right director to come along or I could be getting more productions out there and more chances to see my work. And when presented with those options I pick the latter all the time.  And as far as getting an agent, publisher, or producer is concerned I feel that until someone comes along to take that job I'm the acting producer/publisher/and producer of my work. And I think that more playwrights should do the same. If at the end of the day what you want is someone to produce your work there are a lot of ways that the internet can help you get your work out there easier than the old ways of doing it. I still use some of the old ways myself but their end products aren't my motivation to keep writing. I keep writing because I know there's someone who's as hungry to produce the kind of plays I write as I am to get them onto the stage. Stick with what motivates you and I'll still be there to cheer you on.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Charles Mee is my Spirit Animal

So pretty soon you will be able to see all of my finished plays on line. Why? Because I want to get produced. I'm following in the footsteps of Jonathan Rand and Charles Mee who first amazed me when I heard their philosophies of why they put their plays online. Let's face it, the idea of writing plays is getting them a production and the first step of getting them a production is putting them into the hands of theatre people and theatre companies that want to produce them. Also of importance is getting them read by an audience that wants to read, see, and produce that work and since most of the world is online I need my plays to be there too!

I think that this is where the new generation of playwrights need to be. I'm not saying that the regional theaters and play competitions and such like aren't valuable but when you're just starting up a lot of people don't want to talk to you. The bigger companies don't want to talk to you unless you have an agent and the new works festivals are interested in producing your world premiere or giving you a reading...but after that you're not new anymore no one wants to pick it up.

All the existing methods of getting your play to production are valid. But the internet and social media is quickly moving toward making those methods obsolete. You don't necessarily need to get your play published to be put in the hands of others. You don't necessarily need to keep mailing your scripts off to festivals and readers to get it in front of people that want  to produce it. So while we keep to the tried and true methods of distributing our new play we need to take a page from the pioneers that have shown us the new ways to make the internet work for us.

So I'm going to ask you, how can the free social media affect how you distribute your plays and get work done? How can you use technology to help you be a better playwright and start making money at it? That's what I'm trying to figure out. I'll let you know what I learn. Be sure to let me know what you learn.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tourettes Jam Session 2 #TourettesTuesday

So people never believe me when I tell them that I never learned how to beatbox. I'm not a huge lover of rap or hip hop but I am a great devotee of Delta and African Fusion which means I'm also a lover of Rhythm. But when I first started beatboxing I never knew that I was doing it. I just called it Tourettes.

I don't remember when I first learned that something my Tourettes was making me do was also a musical skill that people practiced hard to learn. I just remember that when I discovered it I then found that I had a way to hide my Tourettes in plain sight. I don't ever condone hiding Tourettes but at a difficult time in my life it was cool to have a creative outlet to pour it into that also helped me fit in more  when I was around the theatre crowd.

I'm not saying that all my friends with TS should learn to beatbox. This is just an example of how channeling your extra energy into something else can help you keep your sanity. And who knows it may even show you a new passion in your life. But most importantly keep being you! Peace out guys!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Tourettes Jam Session 1 #musicmonday

So here's a video that's been a long time coming. For many years as I've learned to play music people always ask me how I learned. And the thing that I say that perplexes them always goes along the lines of, "Tourettes was my teacher". Yeah sure I learned a lot of fundamentals by watching Youtube videos and I did read a book or two but the greatest motivator and tutor that I had was the deep need to relieve this extra energy that Tourettes gives me.

I just focused as much of my energy as I could into the instrument and playing the music and I found that without thinking about it things just started flowing out of me. I found that more of the scales and the tempos and the melodies were just ways to channel that energy into making better music. So I just started playing music and learned the fundamentals later.

And then I found through my studying that when I learned fundamentals and tricks it really just helped me find my style. I found that the simplicity of the open tunings and pentatonic scales kept my Tourettes from having to think. The less strings that I used the simpler it was. I figured that if music was  my therapy then I should make sure there were as few things between my Tourettes and making the music as possible.

So that would be my advice to you. When the music everyone else is playing is getting hard for you  focus more on playing the music that's easy for you. Take one string and just see how you naturally play music. When you find your natural style you can then begin to study to find the fundamentals and the style that's right for you. Just keep playing.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Best Production Advice #theatrethursday

This is one of the best pieces of advice that I would give anyone trying to branch out and produce shows. It's advice that I had to learn the hard way that I wish someone had told me. You want to get out  there and do shows. Maybe you'll make money at it but really what you're trying to do is fulfill that deep longing inside your heart that is yearning to get out there and do a show again. You have plenty of ideas and lots of talent and you just want your work out there in front of an audience and a resume that will get you noticed by a theatre company so you can start making the big bucks. But you won't have much of an audience and you certainly won't make any money unless you heed this next sentence...

Eventually you're going to have to stand up in front of an audience and defend it. You might as well like it.
Don't do any show you're ashamed of. 

That's it. If you follow that one piece of advice then half of the battle is done for you. What does that mean? I'll give you an example from my own life. I feel that every time I do a show if I can't call everyone I know and tell them to come out, or ask all of my friends to be in it, and if I can't come home and tell my girlfriend and my grandmother all about it then I shouldn't be doing it. 

I know this because when I first started a theatre company there were a couple of shows that had problems with content and nudity. I didn't want to tell the members of my church or my boss about it. I didn't want to stick my neck and ask my friends to be in it. I and several of my of my actors weren't going to be telling our parents to come. What was the problem? I was so busy not wanting to be associated with that kind of show that I wasn't promoting it the way I should. I was so hoping that I wouldn't have backlash from my day life that I wasn't trying to make it the show that it needed to be. I was just trying to survive it and because of that the shows became a wreck. 

This isn't a no nudity or content thing it's a passion thing. If you're not passionate enough about the show that you're not willing to put everything you have in it and put your reputation and your name behind it then you shouldn't be doing it. 27 Days, a play I've talked about numerous times before on this blog talks about loads of sexual and criminal things that people might get their dander up about but I would go to the mat for the play in a heartbeat because I'm dedicated to the mission and the cause of the play. I'll invite everyone in the world to come see it and I'd put my reputation as a theatre person on the line because of it. 

That's the difference. That driving passion. If when you get up in the morning you're only trying to get this show "over with" instead of "in front of people" call everyone up and cancel it now because it won't be any good. And you're saving yourself a lot of heartache and pain. Because theatre takes more than just a "want to". It takes a "must do". Without that...you're just spitting into the wind.