Thursday, October 31, 2013

Staged Readings or Staged Bleedings?

Staged reading or staged bleeding? There's a surge of interest in performing my written work as staged readings. I recently discussed my staged readings at the old Golden West saloon in Albuquerque, but that has not been the only time that actors have tried their luck with my words... Needless to say, some have been golden, but others have gone south instead of west.

I took a comedy writing course at UCLA extension where half the class were writers and half the class were actors. You've heard of the movie Scarface? You've heard of Al Pacino? Well, I got the guy who Al Pacino asked "Do you want some of this?" for my scene. Even better, there was a "little person" in our class, who at 3'8"  was a miniature Roseanne Barr. They performed my scene with gusto in the table reads I attended. When it came time to perform the scene for the entire class, they had literally threw my script out the window and winged it. The mini-Roseanne was much better than the real thing and brought down the house.
An agent looking type went up to her.
"Did you write that yourself?" he asked. I was hoping that she would give me a shout-out and I would get my one shot of fame.
"I improvised the scene." She was cast in a role in an Al Pacino movie. I think she was a waitress serving Al in Carlito's Way.

When I went to film school at AFI I worked with a student director who asked me to write a horror film. We got the actor who would go onto fame asking people "Can Geico save you money on your car insurance?" (He was the guy who looked like a cop, not like the Gekko).

The scene read well on the table, but on camera, with student film grade special effects, the film was a disaster. Only the "Can Geico save you money on car insurance" guy ever worked again. It was so bad that the director was deported back to him own country. (Technically he failed out of school and lost his student visa, but I still want to picture him in lockdown with other pretentious directors).

I did have a couple tape a staged reading of a scene from my novel, La Bajada Lawyer and posted it on youtube. Other than some bad sound, it was pretty darn good, and got over a thousand hits. Unfortunately, the couple went on to fame and fortune in other areas of the film world and far more popular youtube videos.

Still I am optimistic that the new round of folks can do justice to my words. Staged readings indeed!

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