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.