Check it- “I’ll Be Waiting” by Adam Emperor Southard at the Two Twelve Arts Center

I'll Be WaitingHi everyone! Got a drama recommendation for you if you are in the Michigan or Midwest area!

My brother, Adam Emperor Southard, has a new play opening at the Two Twelve Arts Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Produced by From Around Here Productions,  I’ll Be Waiting will run exclusively for one weekend in 2016, from January 7 through January 9. Here is the description of this new work.-

The evidence of violence is there: Crissy’s blood and fingerprints are on the steering wheel; her broken necklace is found at the crime scene; even her abandoned and torched car points to an attempted cover up. The only thing missing is Crissy. Sheriff Mills knows the longer he takes to put the pieces together, the less likely he is to find the young woman alive…if she’s alive. But as he sets about questioning those closest to Crissy, Mills discovers each lover, brother, and friend reveals a different dark side to the story surrounding Crissy’s disappearance, leaving him to doubt his own conclusions at the tragic end.   I’ll Be Waiting by Adam Emperor Southard is a suspense thriller about buried secrets, love, anger … and vengeance.

You can learn about my bro’s new work on the site for the theater company here. If you want to snag a ticket, you can do so by visiting this website. I hope to see you there! 

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Pontius Pilate, Dr. Seuss, and Me (Part 2)

Pontius Pilatus / Gemaelde 16.Jh. - Pontius Pilate / Paint./ 16th cent. - Ponce Pilate / Peinture du XVIe siecleThis is part two in a memoir that began in this post here.

I oddly wanted this.

I don’t know when this experience changed for me, but the idea of coming in second or third or fourth to another grad student (or worse an undergrad) in auditions felt beneath me. I was Scott freaking Southard and I wanted to be the super grad student! I wanted to be the one that professors would talk about after graduation. A living benchmark for the program. Yeah, I wanted future conversations in the office around history to be like: “Was that before or after Scott was a student here?”

Preparing for the auditions with that lousy script was the equivalent of eating a meal you hated, but promising yourself you were going to eat every drop and love it. Yeah, you were going to smile through the awful meal. Again and again. And I did. I memorized every bit I could of the audition script, bit my tongue as I acted it out in the mirror.

And when the day of the audition came about, I felt ready. Some of my friends thought I was a little crazy for caring so much and maybe I was. Who knows? My brother was an actor when I was growing up, so maybe a part of me wanted to prove it was no big deal and I could do it too. Yeah, I admit there might have been other issues at play in my head. I honestly admit it.

I thought I did great but when the roles were handed out I was not Ponitus Pilate, I was given the second biggest role, that of Caiaphas. I was told in confidence by the theater professor that he only gave the other student Pilate since he had actual acting experience in his past. I could live with that answer! It’s like I was the secret best (but still the best don’t forget).

And that evening I was almost gleeful as I started to highlight the script… until I realized what I was going to be doing and saying.

“Oy vey.” Continue reading

The Empty Theater: Writers on Twitter, Facebook and Good Reads

The Empty TheaterNever again. I promised myself never again.

A few years ago, my novel My Problem With Doors was published by iPublish Press, a publisher out of Canada. Being a new press and from a different country, it was quickly proven difficult to get the book on shelves in bookstores or to get the work any attention on Amazon and elsewhere.

I was (and still am) very proud of the novel, and began to make as many calls as I could to make my book a success, in the very least in the area I live. First, I met with the local arts council and garnered their support. Working with a popular bookstore in the area, a reading and event was planned around the book. The local newspaper reviewed this novel ahead of the event (gave it a great review!) and even my local NPR station promoted the reading as an event coming up.

Yet..

When the event took place only friends, co-workers, and family were there.

Not even members of the local arts council showed up!

While everyone there were very positive, bought all the books available (and I was grateful they showed up), I felt a little ashamed, like somehow I had failed my book and my dreams. I know that sounds a little dramatic, but, hey!, I am a writer and I get dramatic about a lot of things. It’s in my blood.

It was that evening that I promised myself I would never put myself in that position again. The next time I give a reading or an event I would be at a place in my writing career where I wouldn’t feel like I was standing in front of an empty theater.

Never again. Continue reading

Discussing Brave

This discussion/review is filled with spoilers so if you have not seen Brave… Well, go see it, it is great.

I’m not sure whether to compliment the marketing division at Disney or scold them, but Brave is not the movie they were selling to us. Oh, it is a good film, and I really enjoyed the trip, but it’s not the film I felt like we were seeing in the ads.

Yes, there is magic, there is the princess with the bow, there is some adventure in the end, but it is not on a grand magical stage. If anything the film seems smaller than all that, and even seems to decrease in size over the picture, since we keep returning to locations we have seen before, again and again.

Yes, in many ways, Brave is a small  and personal film, with only a small cast dealing with an issue that doesn’t affect the entire world but only one country in a minor political way. Kingdoms are not going to fall because of this story. Princess Merida is not fighting to save the world with all of the odds against her; no she is only trying to save one person, her mom. Continue reading

Episode Five: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 5 of

Time Out Of Mind,

the sequel to

The Dante Experience

“A Night at the Theater”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven.

MICHAEL: Hello, your holiness, I have returned. I’m sorry about all that and my date. I’m so red. I mean, if angels could blush I would be red, not red like a devil or anything. Red just doesn’t work for me. Tried dressing up as a devil once for Halloween. I had this little tail and pitchfork and I was poking people with it and you probably don’t want to hear about that. Anyway, I brought some paradise cleaner that should help the mess and… Ok, I’ll just put it here.

SOUND: Putting cleaning supplies down.

MICHAEL: Ok, let me boot up my computer and the surveillance equipment and the video players and see what I have missed. Let’s see… Well, at least some good news since we know that one of the dragons is in Camelot. Of course, you can’t help but wonder what the other dragons have gone and what they are planning and… Do you wonder things like that? I mean… Nevermind. So the group is in the right spot. The group, now including Benjamin Franklin, are in the court of King Arthur. Our team of General Joseph, Jenkins and Dante are… Hmmm… Oh, here they are.

SOUND: Computer Beep.

MICHAEL: They have escaped France after having their heads chopped off and have been transported by the Angel Transportation League to a small village near Camelot. Continue reading

Adapting One’s Precious: Why most new novelists should personally avoid adapting (or thinking about) the inevitable screenplay

It’s always funny to me how often, when speaking with new novelists, that they are already planning the movie version of their “epic”… sometimes even before they finish the book.

We are a very film-focused society and it is hard to escape the world of movies, especially for someone excited for the world to embrace their first major story. What can I say? We writers are nerds and we want everyone to love us and think of us as popular. Movies are the “cool table” in the lunchroom; novels are the table near the library.

Oh, you are different? You never imagined a certain actor playing one of your characters? Reading one of your lines?

Yes, the dream of adaptation can be like a drug for a writer and, like a drug, dangerous; since it can effect how you write your novel. The fact is each of the storytelling mediums are different with different pros and cons, and if you allow yourself to think too much about, for example, movies while writing a book it can limit the possibility of the book.

How are the storytelling mediums different? Well, let me explain: Continue reading

Writer’s Corner: Four Projects I Would Love to Adapt for the Silver Screen…

A few days ago I went through some of my old writing files on my computer seeing what jumps out at me and what inspires me today; and, for some unexplained reason, my mind began to think about film adaptations.

There is a great public misnomer about film adaptations. When you hear people talk about films adapted from books or plays, the audience seems to think that the screenplay writer had a choice in making changes for the big screen. “Why couldn’t he have just filmed the book?” You would hear that complaint a lot around the Harry Potter films in podcasts and forums, for example.

The fact is film is a different medium than books, and with it comes its own limitations and strengths. While the borders on a book are only limited by the imagination of the reader (and writer), a film has to be focused on one point at a time, understanding that there is only so much space on the screen at any given moment. Length, pacing, and audience need to be considered (You can’t have things happen “off screen” in a movie, for example; the audience will think it didn’t happen if they didn’t see it).

The greatest difference between film and books, is that a film has got to “earn” your attention for every minute. It is harder for a film to “suspend disbelief.” Which means a story, while in a book can be stretched out, in a film there has to be action. In other words, there must always be movement; it’s how they keep our eyes on the screen and our hands out of the popcorn bowl. Continue reading