Thursday, May 30, 2013

What I'll remember forever? May blog challnege

So today I wanted to talk about the memorable moments in my life. There are some moments that we forget as quickly as they happened. Then there are somethings that stay with us forever. Here is my list...
  • The love of good friends.
  • The look of love in your sweetheart's eyes
  • The kindness of strangers
  • The warmth of a loving smile
  • The strength of family
  • The hope of a nation
  • The faith of a child
  • The silliness or two people devoted to crazy ideas
  • The feeling of exhilaration after accomplishing a goal.
  • The love of my great readers! :)
So how does your list stack up? Yours doesn't have to be that deep and thoughtful. Everyone remembers different things!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Last Hope For Twenty Miles: A New Play

Now introducing a new play by R. S. Young (you know him as Dr. Fronkensteen). Last Hope for Twenty Miles follows the life of Virginia a girl who just learned that she has nothing tying her to her life. Two boys offer her two different ways out. But the way out isn't all that it was cracked up to be. 

This play marks the end of my "gritty" period of writing. I got so into writing a whole play of anti-glitz and glam. I've moved on now but I still believe that Last Hope has a special place in my heart. I got to play Tanner in my first production and people really loved it. So I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

Happy Reading!

Vital Info

Cast size: 1F 3M 

Running Time: 60 minutes

Important Note: This play is copyrighted. All productions of this play are subject to a royalty. To get a full copy of the performance script and to inquire about performance rights please contact R. S. Young at

Last Hope for Twenty Miles

Scene 1
Virginia stands on the balcony. She wears work out clothes and high heels. It's midnight. She sits on the balcony and tosses pebbles off the side. She undoes her hair and begins to brush it. There is a radio playing in the background. We hear a motorcycle roaring down the road and headlights flash across the stage. Virginia waves and blows a kiss at it as it passes by.

The wind was a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight looping the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding--
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door. He came riding. He came. Where are you?

Tim has entered during this and sits at the base of the steps. He listens, drinking whiskey out of a mason jar. He tries to set the jar down quietly but it slips from his hand and clatters to the floor.

Go home Tim.

I w-w-was just going home. I was jus... locking everything... I was just locking everything up.

I'll lock up, just go home.

I was thinking the other day that maybe you needed someone around to keep you company, since your pa hasn't been round in a while.

He's been dead for three months. Doesn't mean he ran off.

I thought you might need someone around to protect you.

Tim, go home.

I know I've asked you a lot these days but I guess I can bear to ask it again.

You are dumber than a sack of hammers, I know exactly what you're going to say.

I know I'm not a rich man but my love is made of pure gold, will you marry me?

(In a nasal mocking tone)
I know I'm not a rich man but my love is made of pure gold, will you marry me?

You stupid son of a bitch.

Virginia, I love you. I'd take you home to my farm and take care of you.

Ten acres of land with two chickens and a cow on it is not a farm.

Then I'll sell it and buy you a real house.

I wouldn't respect you.

I don't want your respect.

I wouldn't even like you.

I don't need you to like me either. I just need you to let me love you.
Continue Reading HERE

Friday, May 24, 2013

That's the thing...I'm always angry: May Blog Challenge

So today for the May Blog challenge we're going to be talking about anger. One of the things that you might not know about me is that I used to have a massive anger problem. Massive as in mandated anger management. I had several problems and issues. With Tourettes I was forced to acclimate to a world that everyone else seemed to get along with perfectly. The rest of the world didn't seem to get me and many times I just lashed out in violence. If someone didn't intervene I was going down a long hard road.

So that's how I landed in a 12 week anger management course. I don't remember everything that we did in that class but I do want to share with you some of the points that I really took to heart.

  • Anger is a natural reaction to bad things.
  • When you use anger wisely it can be a great impetus for change.
  • Be angry but don't let the sun go down on your anger.
  • There is such a thing as righteous anger when you've been wronged or bullied. There is such a thing as anger coming from stress. These things are indicators that something needs to change in your life. These things are healthy.
  • The goal is to get rid of the unhealthy anger that is only destructive or is an irrational reaction to everyday life. 
The key to mastering my anger was the realization that I am ALWAYS angry. Everything gets to me. When you understand that you can discern whether the anger is healthy or not and decide what needs to happen to make it not happen anymore. I learned to put shields up to keep out the little things that bothered me and realized that it was okay to be mad when someone insulted or wronged me. Anger is a part of my state of mind, it's wired into how I think. When I learned how to process it in a healthy way my outlook got a lot better.

So be like me, be like Bruce Banner. It's okay to always be angry. It's what you do with that anger that really matters.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What Concerns You? Theatre Rant

Today with the May Blog Challenge I'm going to talk about some of the things that concern me in the theatre world. Especially in the field of New Works I have a few pet peeves that really get me pulling my hair. So here are a few of the things that I don't ever want to see again.

Staged readings: Great for development. Bad as end product. Borrowed from  Berkshire Playwright's Lab

  • Playwrights twiddling their thumbs waiting to get "discovered".
  • Theatre purists that refuse to use the internet to display and market their work.
  • Theatre companies that don't have a social media presence.
  • Artists reluctant to embrace the crazy ideas.
  • Staged readings of ten minute plays and one-acts. I mean you could just produce the thing in less time!
  • Playwrights still sending out their plays solely in the mail.
  • Playwrights that act like dictators of their productions like they aren't happy to get any production that come their way.
  • The myth that all good theatre comes from one of the big cities.
  • The myth that all good theatre is "non-profit".
These are the things that just get under my skin a bit. Mainly because I seem to live in this world as a playwright. These are the things that are pulling us down. Now we just have to find the ways to build our way back into a working system. Here's hope for the future!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Murder your Draft: Playwrights Primal Blueprint

So let's talk about revision for just a second. When you make your first draft you pour your heart and soul into it. You've taken life events and characters stolen from people you've met and created a story that's very meaningful to you and is now a part of your soul. You've already got all the parts cast in your head with all of your favorite movie stars or friends playing the leads and you already have a moving picture in your head about how that play is going to look like onstage.

But there's just one's not onstage yet. It's only home is in the stage of your mind or dead on your page. And because you're so connected to the story you are blind to some of the main problems with it. Like every good parent you are blind to your child's shortcomings. But here's the thing, the play will never grow and become all that it's destined to be without going through some development and revision. So now like the Pheonix that has to die to be reborn you have to kill your draft to turn it into a play! Here are some ways that you can do it.

Borrowed from Inkspiration

  • Take some time off: get away from your play for a little bit and possibly start working on another. That shifts all the magic and labor of love onto some other project so when you look at a past draft you start looking at it more realistically. In fact mail it to yourself and when you open up the envelope look at it as critically as a prospective reader would. What stands out and what falls flat.
  • Get a reading as quick as you can: Get people to sit around the couch or coffee table and read it aloud for you. Don't worry about picking people that fit the character perfectly. Like a child struggling to walk for the first time an initial reading will tell you where the script falters.
  • Kill a character: Rewrite the play as quickly as you can but this time get rid of a character, get rid of a scene, keep everything but a new ending...Try to stretch the mind past the initial words on the page and force yourself to think about what choices could be made to make your story tighter, better, and more likely for someone to want to produce it.
So there you go! You have your draft and a story now kill it and start chipping away at the things that reek of "first draft" and see all the things that your play could be! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

5 things I did today: May blog challenge

So today we're talking about lists. We all have our lists and our To Do lists... what we achieved for today and what we accomplished that gave us a warm and fuzzy feeling. So here's a list of five things that I did today that I feel are the greatest. 

#1 Quiet Time

I make no attempt to hide my religion and personal faith. Often times I don't get to spend much time in the morning just meditating and thinking about all the good things that god has done for me. I sometimes just sit reading my bible or watch video sermons on Youtube, but the greatest thing is me taking the time to spend one one one time with my Creator. Whatever you believe in life I hope you spend some time in reverence for what made you!

#2 Changing my Social Media Passwords

There has always been a saying about passwords that made me giggle. "Passwords are like toothbrushes, they should be strong, personal, and changed every six months" For a while after starting my blog and getting serious in social media I worried about security. So I started studying what makes a safe password and started changing all of mine as often as I can. Two things to keep in mind: a mix of numbers, letters, and special characters makes a strong password. And a strong passphrase takes a hacker forever to get through because he can't just guess it.
Borrowed from Smart Signin

#3 Talking with my Sweetie

I really think that people go their entire days without thinking about the people that they love. My day wouldn't be complete without spending some time with my smoking hot gf DragynAlly! When ever we talk to each other and spend some time being with each other it makes the long distance between us feel right around the corner.

#4 Changed to a Standing Desk

When you have a home job like mine where you spend most of your time sitting at a computer trying to write you end up having a lot of strain on the back and are more likely to gain weight and have muscle atrophy. So today I started trying a standing desk that allows me to do all of my work standing up and keeping active. This is my first day trying it so I don't know if it's necessarily for me but it should sure beat sitting at my desk all day until my legs went numb. For those that don't want to chip in for a standing desk just do what I did and find an old wine crate to place on your old desk. You can put your computer on that and have another bookcase for books and files that you need to have on hand. And be sure to think about getting a sturdy stool when the standing gets too hard on the calves!

Borrowed from Writer on the Prowl

#5 Interval Workout

One of the greatest resources for health and exercise was a blog called Mike's Daily Apple. That's where I first learned about the Primal Blueprint Diet and good exercise ideas. One of those was interval training. So you like to work out but feel like you're not getting too much out of it in terms of weight loss? Trying doing spurts of working out with maximum effort with periods of resting. Can you lift weights for one minute and rest for thirty seconds? Can you sprint as fast as you can and rest for a minute our so. The science says that people who do interval training for thirty minutes a day fare a lot better in weight loss than the people who go all out for an hour at the gym. You don't put your body through so much strain and you don't overeat as much afterwards. 

So that's if for my list for today. When I look back on it it seems like I did a lot. Sometimes all we have to do is look back on some of the positive things we've done and it doesn't seem like a wasted day at all. Have fun everybody and go crazy! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sprinting towards the Finish Line: Playwright's Primal Blueprint

So today for Writer's Wednesday we're going to talk about speed. Sometimes when you're writing a play you want to take a long an luxurious route into getting the play finished. Then there are times when you have your inspiration, you've got a part of your draft done, and you just need to get to a good milestone in the play. Maybe it's getting to the end of a scene, an act break, or the end of the play.  Sprinting is very good for you in your writing. It teaches you how to streamline your process and get better each time. Think about it, you've been working on an act for maybe three weeks. Then all of a sudden you decide that you need to get it done by the end of the day. It hones your thought processes and makes you think about what's important in the story. All of a sudden the story is getting done and is finished before you know it.

Borrowed from

What are the benefits? Well when you know what it takes to get the story out in an hour, what you need for your creative process to happen quickly and efficiently, then you'll be even more efficient for your next project. Sprinting in your writing helps you become a better writer!

So is there a way that you can really test your sprinting powers? Well you can try a 24 hour play festival where you write a ten minute play in an eight hour period and get it produced the following day. At my grad school they have a class called First Drafts where you write a full play in 72 hours for six weeks. I wrote my new play "27 days" all in 27 hours. Did it almost kill me? You bet! But its these times when you actually start pushing yourself that you start to know where your breaking limit is and what you can do in a certain amount of time. And plus it feels so much better when you've actually hit that milestone that was looming ahead or getting a play done in a time that you thought was impossible.

So what can you do in a short amount of time? What can you get done if you push yourself? Get to that computer and go crazy!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My favorite Threads: May Blog Challenge

So for today's installment of the May Blog Challenge we're talking about threads, that is your favorite piece of threads to wear. So today I wanted to show you my favorite hat for playing the guitar. It's perfect for keeping you hair out of your face, the bill doesn't block your vision when you look down, and the band is tight enough to hold a pick or two when you need one handy.

So keep looking soon for more posts and videos of my music or more of my guitar builds. I am a blues musician and dabble at song writing and would love it if someday it got out to a larger audience.

Do you guys have favorite instruments or do you like to build yours too? Do you have a favorite hat or other piece of clothing? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tautology by Corey Garrett: A Senior Art Exhibit Review

So many of us experience anxiety we tend to go out for a vacation, take a walk in the park, or hit the gym. Corey Garret, a graduating senior at Austin Peay State University, poured all of that into his work. And the product of that work was "Tautology" a senior gallery exhibit in the Student Gallery of the Trahern Building on the APSU campus. Corey, who graduated last week with a BFA in art at APSU, says that working on this project was "dealing with personal problems with a peaceful method."

I'll admit that I stumbled upon Corey's exhibit. I was trauling around Trahern (it was my second home during my tenure there as a theatre student) and while I was looking around The Living Gallery someone told me that I just had to go downstair and look at his work. And when I got there I knew that it wasn't a mistake! These prints from Corey have a beauty and love in them that gave them a life of their own. Some artists learn the craft and make pretty pictures but don't leave any of their soul in it. Looking at these works I know that he left a part of himself with every piece.

Tautology means a fallacy in someone's logic. Sometimes we make statements that correct themselves or offer self-defining propositions. These are themes that Corey explored in this exhibit mixing old documents and diagrams, magazine ad cutouts from the fifties and sixties. And when he combines these things together you get this clean, beautiful, and sometimes downright macabre feel from it.

Want to know where you can see more of Corey's work? Well if you live in the Nashville area you can take a look at his exhibit in July at Frame Maker with Alexander Wurts. You can also see some of his artwork at his tumblr here. He's certainly an artist that I'm going to be following. Don't be surprised if this guy goes very far!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Step away from the mailbox! May Blog Challenge

So for today in the May Blog Challenge we're supposed to be sharing morning reflections. It's funny that the kind of thoughts that enter my head when I wake up in the morning are theatre rants or mini academic essays. It all started with the last line from a book I read last night.

"When you've spent several years on a script, it's easy to imagine it might attract major funding from a Hollywood studio or major indie production house- "The Miramax syndrome" I'll call it. So you get sucked into submitting the script all around Hollywood, waiting for responses, eating the costs of mailing and copies, and losing valuable time and energy. My complaint is that too much artistic energy can be eaten up in this waiting-to-be-chosen game. And it may be the entirely wrong game to play."
 ~Rick Schmidt Extreme DV At Used Car Prices

 When I read this quote from a film book that was written in 2004 something immediately pinged in my head. I realized that this described the kind of life that most modern playwrights get into...and that we don't have to anymore. One of the more unappealing parts of the business, and in the past one of the brutal realities was that if you wanted to get one of your plays produced you had to make the rounds sending your play from theatre to theatre and reading to reading and still maybe getting nowhere.

Not many of the big regional theaters want to sink the money on new work anymore and the publishers don't want to publish you unless you've had productions so you get into this vicious cycle. I can't get a lot of productions because I can't get published in the play catalogs...but I can't get published unless I have enough productions...but I can't get productions because I'm not published...etc. You can get in this cycle until you start to succumb to this belief that you can't make money as a theatre artist anymore. That theatre is dead and that we should all just move on to film and forget about it.

But the greatest thing is that the theatre wold and the film world have a great equalizer now...Digital video and the internet... We don't have to live in this analog world of mailing scripts off and waiting for six months to maybe get accepted. You can literally have the idea and make the idea a reality and get it out to an audience that would love it. The same way that digital video and the internet made filmmaking a craft that anyone could get into and excel at the internet has made it easy for a playwright to talk about his work, put his work out there, and connect with people that would love to do do his work. Whether you do this by publishing your play online on a website or film a production and put it on youtube or all the things in between you don't have to be just waiting by the mailbox anymore to get your work seen by people. You don't have to feel like self-publishing or self-producing is the "wannabe's" way of getting work done. Step away from the mailbox and get out in the world! You are your own producer and agent. You are empowered! Now get out there and go crazy!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's all in the Cards: Primal Writer's Blueprint

So for this week's Writer Wednesday we're going to talk about another crazy prompt for people who just need the kick in the pants to get a draft going. So many times we plan what we're going to write so much, how we're going to write, and have so many things outlined and planned that there's no room for spontaneity and room to explore. So if you're willing to just sit down and willing to accept that the page length or how many scenes will be in your play out of your control grab a deck of cards and a hat and follow me!

Something you'll do on your computer with playing cards that's more exciting than this! (opensource)

The Deck of Cards Assignment

Put the hat on the ground and sit at your desk chair with the deck in your hand. Start throwing cards at the hat. The ones that land in the hat are safe. Whenever you miss the hat go and pick that card up. Whatever number is on the card that's how many lines of dialogue are in the scene. Miss the hat again? Create a new scene. Keep doing this until all the cards are in the hat or you've rage-quitted because your lack of throwing skills (no ninja school for you!). The play is over when you run out of cards. So let's look at an example....

Scene 1: Ace of Diamonds...1 line.

Scene 2: Jack of Spades... 11 lines

Scene 3: 7 of Clubs... 7 lines.

And the list goes on...

There are infinite ways that you could customize this to your specific needs. The main intent is to get you sitting in front of the computer and just start writing. You can edit and expand it later just for right now get it out.

Open Source

Some variations:

  • Each number on the card=number of pages in the scene.
  • Each number on the card=the number of characters in the scene
  • Finding a spade=A character must die.
  • Finding a heart=Two characters must fall in love
  • Finding a club=Two characters must fight
  • Finding a diamond=An answer is found
So get to the computer and start writing. Remember to embrace the craziness and stop thinking! Just keep writing!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Trash or Treasure: Gold out of the trash.

So here is my first vlog of the Lounge ever! For today in the Lounge we're talking about turning Trash into Treasure. So you get to see my main accoustic guitar and some of the guitar builds I've done before and you get to see one of my upcoming builds, a hub cap guitar!

I got my idea from watching my favorite blues artist, Seasick Steve, play one for his new album. When I first saw it I knew I had to have one. Seasick Steve has inspired several musicians to get into their wokshops and start making their own guitars.

So that's it. Maybe I'll be posting video of some more of my builds and music later. I'd love to do more music posts and things like that so keep looking out for them.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My next Big Project: May Blog Challenge

So as a theatre person work is either over too soon or lasts forever. And it's always the good ones that are over too soon.

So there's always being the question being asked... What are you going to do now? So let me tell you now about the next project or so that I'm going to be working on, or the next step.

Everyone remembers that on Shine a Light on Slavery Day I wrote a completely new play for the movement called 27 Days. It was fun and a wonderful experience. So what do we do now? Now that the play is written what are you going to do? 

Well the next step is that it has to be developed. This would mean getting it into readings, submitting it to festivals and other companies. Also I would love to start getting a media kit up about it and get other bloggers, friends of the movement, and other people out there talking about it.  

And then what happens after it gets a few readings and people talking about it? Then come the productions. A lot of theater companies that do new works are only concerned with the "world premiere" that means after the first production some companies won't be interested in it anymore. But playwriting is usually a month of writing, a few months of development, and a lifetime of promotion.

And I haven't ruled out the option of self production, setting up an indiegogo campaign and trying to get sponsors for a regional tour. Or just trying to take it to as many groups as will have me. And the internet provides you with many tools that you can use to get people listening and talking. So keep your eyes and ears open because you might see photos and videos coming up soon! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Imposing Structure part 5: Moving through Space

So last week we explored how your story unfolds in time. This week we're going to talk about how your story can be inspired by the space. No I don't mean location I mean actual space. The space that the characters have to live in. These characters are actual living, breathing, people that walk around, touch things, and interact with their environment. So what environment are you giving them to live in? Here are some things you need to think about...

1. Hostile Environments

Is the space that the characters have to live in hostile to them? Are they in physical danger here? Is this a place where you have to adapt to survive? Or is this just a space that doesn't seem fit for them. Do they constantly have to stoop because they're too tall. Are they in a wheelchair and the space has stairs and no elevators? Hostile Environments are not fit for the characters to live in.

2. Trouble in Paradise

This space is just perfect for the characters. Everything is put just right (or so they think). A character at peace is kind of boring but knowing what their perfect space is means that you know your character well enough. Why do they love this room and what struggles do they have to endure outside it that make it so wonderful.

3. Within Walking Distance

Very often we just cut to a new scene in a different location without thinking about how long it took the characters to get there. One of the oldest rules in theatre (one of the rules set down by Aristotle) was that action could only take place in a location that a character could reach in a 24 hour period. Actually walk through the moments of your play like a character doing this in real time. Can they literally get everywhere they need to go in one day? Are they winded when they get there? What kind of journey was it like?

4. Strange Space

Is this a space that your characters have never been to before? Is it constantly giving them clues? Do they have to explore it? Do they have to wonder why they are there? Have they been summoned? Have they just stumbled by?

5. Common Space Made Strange

It's a space that we see everyday. It's a place so public or so commonplace to us that we would never give it a second glance...until some thing strange, weird, brutal, devastating, etc. happens there. How do we view it now? What new perspective do we have for these places, how do we look at them differently after that? How do your characters behave in this space afterwards?