Thursday, April 18, 2013

Turbulence - The Reading

I have been terribly remiss in not blogging about the reading of my feature script which was nearly a month ago now. 

It was a great success, better than I expected. Some random observations: 
Someone told me the Subiaco Arts Centre studio seats 110 and it was a full house which was very gratifying. I was delighted that many family, friends and colleagues were in attendance with even a delegation from work. This meant I was busy trying to say hello to everyone before the reading while also answering last minute questions from the cast about line reads and the like. The buzz was fantastic. 

I was surprised how relaxed I was. I expected that once I finished work I’d start getting nervous but the nerves never came. Not even when I was running later than I wanted with the peak hour traffic. 

The wine was fabulous. I’m sorry I only managed to have one glass. Too busy talking. I won’t make that mistake again. Well done new sponsor Happs! Your white wine was very nice. 

It’s the first time I’ve ever sat in the front row at a reading… next to Mum and Dad who I was really pleased to have there and who enjoyed themselves immensely. Yes, this is what I did with that outrageously expensive private school education you paid for. I’m sorry! 
Me with Dad in the background.
What a great cast we assembled!!! Thank you Matt Elverd, Kirsty Hillhouse, Gemma Sharpe, Clara Helms, Ben Mortley, Lee Sheppard and Vito de Francesco; with kudos to Vivienne Garrett for handling all the big print with such aplomb. 

While I’m thanking people – thank you Ric Curtin for recording the reading – it’s kind of a pleasantly weird sensation walking along the river listening to the words you’ve written come to life on your iPod; Cathy Prastides for the wonderful teaser poster; Michael McCall for hosting and not embarrassing me in front of all and sundry!; volunteers Tahlia and Becky for helping on the night; and lastly and especially Annie Murtagh-Monks for coordinating all the activities behind the scenes that make this happen. Sorry you didn’t get to experience the evening but I’m sure an authentic American road trip is adequate recompense! 

Fifty-nine feedback forms! I think the last reading I had it was more like 30-something. Lots of great feedback with only one brickbat (can’t please everyone I guess). The one amusing outcome – I’m not sure if they had run out of forms but there were some in the old format… for a comedy script read. So the question “What sections did you find funny?” was a little incongruous for a thriller but as is my normal style there was enough wit scattered throughout the script to garner some positive responses. 

The reaction afterwards was fantastic. People coming up to congratulate me, many who I did not know and assume were from the general public. Including a woman who told me her shy teenage son wanted to play the teenage character that was in one scene only (hope he survives the rewrite!). Plus extraordinarily kind words from colleagues mixed in with a blunt assessment from another. But that is what the evening is all about – finding out what is working and what needs work.

It’s fair to say I was on quite the high at the end of the night. Even as the stragglers (yes, I was one of them) were told off for being a tad too boisterous whilst the second half of Hamlet was being performed in the main theatre. T’was a fair double bill and all in all an excellent night J 

Director Tim Dean with Actress Gemma Sharpe
Since then the director and I have analysed the feedback forms, identified trends and areas to work on and have something like ten pages of our own notes for the next draft. Some exciting discoveries and planned changes including flipping a few elements on their ear which I love doing as a screenwriter. Instead of trying to make something work that simply isn’t gelling, you attack the problem from a completely fresh angle. The objective insight of a 100+ pair of eyeballs (yes, Vito, eyeballs!) is a powerful catalyst. 

Soon it will be time to knuckle down again and translate all the feedback and discussions into words on the page but for one evening at least it was all about celebrating the process in the public eye.  

Lastly, thank you to all those people who did attend. Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out a feedback form and/or talk to me afterwards or text me or email me.
I really do appreciate it.