DAY 322: Update all your business documents—resumes to web pages.
Done. How about this Twinkie news?
DAY 322: Update all your business documents—resumes to web pages.
Done. How about this Twinkie news?
DAY 321: Write 5 topical jokes.
1. So Knickerbocker fans are finally happy again with the team’s 6-0 record start. I’m so glad that the largest city in the country with the most shit to do than any other city in the world is finally back to being happy. I would hate to see them react if Spike Lee actually made a good movie anytime soon.
2. Miguel Cabrera won the AL MVP. In other news, some kid in Venezuela just got his wings.
3. Petraeus came for the Libya hearings today. That’s not the only time he came today.
4. Jesse & Joy take 4 Latin Grammys. In similar news, my 6th grade volcano science project won too.
5. Hostess, maker of Twinkies, to go out of business. I have to run…the gun in my closet’s calling me.
DAY 320: Research and make contact with four new markets for your work.
1. Lead Actress - found a girl to play the lead in the Archdale feature. Score.
2. Local Production Company - located a production company and submitted info to them for future productions.
3. Local Actor - met (again), but actually had a nice hour long conversation with a fellow actor I admire. Nice to think he may do some free work for us in the future on our feature.
4. Outplacement - sales calls all week for real world work shit.
DAY 319: Thanksgiving is a week away! Write 3 turkey jokes now.
1. What do they call Thanksgiving in 18th century England? Skanksgiving. Take my wife, please!
2. What did the first pilgrim say to the Indian? Orange ya glad I didn’t say I was Thomas Hunt.
3. How do know when the turkey is done? He leaves his Senate seat.
DAY 318: Have a writing session with another comedy writer.
I have been partnering with 2 writers for comedy screenplays. Here’s a new scene from the Archdale feature film. Don’t worry about format, because this is a stupid fucking blog ya dink.
INT. OLIVE GARDEN - NIGHT
Dale walks in wearing a suit. Tori is sporting a bright red cocktail dress and wearing ruby red lipstick. He walks up to the HOSTESS (35).
HOSTESS: Well don’t you two look nice.
DALE: It is the Olive Garden.
HOSTESS: You don’t have to dress up to come here anymore.
She motions to groups of people eating their meals in raggedy clothing and sweat suits.
DALE: Well shit.
DAY 317: Write a funny letter to the editor.
Dear Resume Writers of America Magazine Editor,
Please stop trying to sell resumes to people for $400. It takes you 2 hours at most to write one! Scamming on people who probably can’t afford bread let alone a piece of paper with some fancy font is not moral. It’s down right wrong. You should be ashamed of yourself.
That is all.
DAY 316: Rearrange the order of jokes in a piece. Does changing the order show you more places to put jokes?
No! Yes! New meme.
DAY 315: Expand your vocabulary. Find a word you don’t know and write a bit about it.
Today’s word is propulsion. It means momentum or progress and that’s how I feel about our small production company. I have 4 other guys that are so fuckin passionate about film and creating, that it makes me smile thinking of all the shit we’ll accomplish together. Now at first, with 5 heads, it was tough to agree and come together all at once. We definitely had different visions for our Vision Breeze Productions company. However, as of recently, things took a nice turn and it’s starting to clear up. We are all committed again and feeling 100% assurance over the direction we decided to take the company. Not only that, in a night out of brainstorming over some $1.75 PBRs, we realized more avenues we can pursue to capitalize on our plan even more. It’s exciting and the fire is spreading more than ever since we started together back in July. Stay tuned for more notices as we continue to grow. And if your band wants a music video or a promo video or a live taping, contact me (216) 246-9900.
DAY 314: Reedit some of your older material.
Here’s a scene from the upcoming Dale Archdale feature. Edited of course and formatting is crappy because it’s a damn blog.
INT. RICK’S ROOM - SAME
Rick is sitting back in a computer chair masturbating to women’s tennis. His pants are around his ankles.
DALE (O.S.): Rick!
Dale busts in the room. Rick falls out of his chair.
DALE: Jesus Christ Rick!
Rick frantically gets up and pulls his pants back up around his waist.
RICK: Dammit Dale, I’m lonely.
DALE: I’d say so! You’re jerkin it to the Williams sisters.
Rick fastens his belt and sits on the edge of his bed.
RICK: I get turned on by them sounds they make when they serve the ball. Plus you know I got the jungle fever.
Dale shakes his head.
DALE: Whatever. I found a way we can save the trailer park.
DAY 313: Write about something from a foreigner’s point of view.
I hate living here in LA. People call me a Ian the Kabob. And not only the Americans, but the rest of the 199 languages that live here in LA county. But it’s OK my friend. I know they’re the ones who don’t have the money like us Armenians. They’re the ones who watch us drive our Mercedes around with so much tint it makes Kristen Stewart look like Viola Davis. I have all the friends who own the weed stores. You stupid Americans and your vices. Yes I love a good kabob, but do I have to feel like I’m in Turkey when I’m shopping at Ralphs? I mean, can’t people stay outta my 2nd country? I can’t stand the drivers either. I feel like I’m back in Azerbedjian dodging camels. So what if I like Nike, In-n-Out Burger and Ross…I’m a Westerner now and should be accepted as such. So leave me alone you fucking foreigners and get outta my 2nd country, the United States of Armenia.
DAY 312: Add all new bits you’ve been working on to your material list.
Done. Here is a review I received from our play we’re performing in Wilmington!
Local playwright John Grudzien presents “Music and Comedy,” a double bill of one-acts at Big Dawg Productions’ Cape Fear Playhouse through the 11th. The evening is composed of a song-and-dance number,
“Beef: The Musical,” and a comedy, “When I Last Saw Davy.”
“Beef: The Musical” follows the adventures of young Patrick Sherman (Matthew Stephen Taylor) home from his freshman year of college. Sherman is working at the local grocery store, and as fate and hormones would have it, he develops a crush on Tina Loton (Tori Keaton), the confused young check-out girl. The grocery store’s atmosphere is dominated by an unspoken rift between the two butchers, Bill Valzano (Doug Shaw) and Tony Guerra (Matt Warzel).
It is the early ‘70s, and the expected tension between the Nixon-loving management and the rock ‘n’ roll-loving Tina and Patrick is addressed in my favorite song from the show, “Sorry, But I Like to Rumba” sung by Matt Warzel. Grudzien wrote the book and lyrics for the show and collaborated with John Sullivan on the score. Sullivan brings a beautiful and responsive ear to the music for “Beef,” which underscores the longing and confusion of its two main characters.
Wilmington audiences are very lucky to have the opportunity to see multiple original productions a year from Grudzien. Though we watch many straight plays produced as original works, it is rare to see a musical workshopped or debuted locally. Though not unheard of, Frank Trimble, Steve Cooper and Bryan Putnam have mounted several original musicals between them. I tip my hat to anyone who does the work and takes the chance to produce an original script—doubly so for a musical. It is a monumental amount of work and a terrifying experience to bare yourself. That being said, “Beef: The Musical” is really at a workshop stage, and from an audience point of view, this can be fascinating.
More than any other art form, theatre requires the creator to see and hear it from an audience perspective. They need to hear the jokes, watch for the tears and feel the audience sing along with the show. This cannot be attempted in an office space alone.
As a playwright, Grudzien strikes me as being on the brink of a breakthrough to the next stage of his career. Right now, though, he needs a team of collaborators. Working with Sullivan on the music is a great step forward. In addition, I think “Beef” needs an insightful director and a choreographer for its next production in order to see it evolve into itself fully.
Tori Keaton as Tina does a wonderful job of manifesting a very confused young lady as seen from the perspective of an even more confused young man. Matthew Stephen Taylor looks like he could be a younger version of Grudzien; with sandy blonde hair and medium build, he radiates a quirky kindness. He encompasses all uncertainty the age 19 brings.
Mostly, I was surprised that for its time period, the draft never gets a mention, which would seem to be a Sword of Damocles for all young men then. Patrick, though confused by life, women and expectations, seems very carefree for someone who should have a lottery number for Vietnam. That having been said, he brings a strong introspective quality to his character that rings true in his interactions with other actors. Suzanne Nystrom’s cameo appearance as the older lady loosing her car but not her zest for life, is a high point in the show.
The second half of Grudzien’s bill is a one-act titled “When I last Saw Davy.” It opens in Rick Hinton’s (Charles Auten) artist loft on a Saturday morning. He answers a knock at the door to find a young lawyer named Chloe Mallard (Terrie Batson) who hands him an urn containing his best friend’s ashes and informs him he is executor of Davy’s estate. Within minutes, his loft has filled with the deceased’s former wife (Lynette O‘Callaghan), step-mother (Suzanna Nystrom) and Davy’s other best friend, O’Brien (Matt Warzel). Warzel, is an incredibly talented comedic actor. Both his rendition of Tony the Butcher and O’Brien, the cartoon-watching, cereal-munching goof, are delightful. He has a fearlessness on stage that makes him irresistible to audiences. Auten does his best as peacemaker with a group of emotional and bickering mourners. It’s a tough job to be the guy in the middle at such a delicate time, but Auten has a soft, almost hypnotic voice onstage. He does wonders for focusing attention and bringing everyone back to the task at hand: Davy’s funeral.
Besides trying to navigate the waters of the mourners, Rick Hinton is taken with the young lawyer Chloe Mallard. Batson is a stunningly talented comedic actress who will go to any length to get a laugh. Seeing her in a very calm, understated role is a nice demonstration of her range of ability.
Mallard is also attracted to Hinton, and they are quietly trying to feel this out while the storm of grief rages around them. It is fascinating to watch this cool, quiet discussion in the background—even more so if audiences know Batson and Auten are a couple in real life.
Grudzien has a wonderful ear for writing comedy. If he teamed up with a really good comedic director, like Steve Vernon, his scripts would blossom even further. Both he and his work deserve a wider audience, and the refining process that comes through workshops and early productions. I look forward to seeing “Beef” and “Davy” again for a second run.
DAY 311: Write a complete joke using only one sentence.
Two and a Half Men is better than Seinfeld. Bahahaaaahahhahaha!
DAY 310: Write a short story with you as the protagonist.
I decided to use my moral dilemma sketch I wrote back in the Second City writing lab days. I will play Jim, the protagonist. Again, don’t worry about format, as this is a blog, and you’re a dick if you do.
TED: Jim! Welcome! Glad you made it on time. C’mon, I’ll give you the nickel tour on our way to your first meeting!
JIM: Wow! The Pentagon! I can’t believe I got the job. Thank you! Thank you very much!
TED: Oh, no problem! I mean, you were the most qualified and this requirement has been open for months! We needed to get someone in your role QUICK before it washed!
Ted leads Jim though the corridor and points out which room is which.
TED: And now here we are. Now Jim, remember. This is confidential. What you are about to see is not viewed by anyone without security clearance level Purple, let alone civilians like your wife or family.
JIM: My wife passed away a year ago from cancer.
TED: Aw! I’m so sorry to hear that.
JIM: No, no—-it’s fine. It’s just tough somedays.
TED: Well what you are about to see may not go over as well as expected.
Ted opens the door and reveals multiple cubicles of information.
JIM: AIDS cure…Jimmy Hoffa’s body! Kennedy assassination!
TED: Yep! This here is where all the magic happens. This is what we call the “Hollywood Room.”
JIM: Scandal! Holy shit!
JIM: Oh. Oh. Cancer’s cure. I see.
TED: Yeah…sorry Jim! It’s just that we make so much money off of research, the treatment programs, and government funds and all the red tape, I mean. I mean it’s hard I know, but it’s real.
JIM: How long?
TED: About 8 years now.
JIM: Excuse me for a moment.
Jim collects himself. Obviously he’s getting fired up. Enters Aaron.
AARON: Excuse me sir!
AARON: What should I do with this new cancer research we concocted last week? This is that thing we were talking about how we can cure cancer in terminal stages, or whatever.
JIM (under breath): Huh?
TED: Uh, remind me again —- where did we leave off?
AARON: Uh last was the checklist of the people receiving the cure. We need to still contact the White House for their list, but we need to make sure we’re supplying this stuff to those on the list! And like, this week sir!
TED: Ahhh, right, right, right, right, right. Um…well! Um, how about we do a PowerPoint presentation this afternoon? We can discuss that and the government’s secret bank account withdrawal policy. Call the other side of Washington and ask if we can squeeze it in today between the American Cancer Society meeting and the Sasquatch/Roswell forum.
AARON: Right away sir.
JIM: You people make me sick! My poor wife laid there suffering and all we did was pray that someone blessed enough would find a cure in time! I should’ve known!
TED: Well unfortunately nothing can bring her back! I mean, except for the Fountain of Youth serum we have over in Unit DDDXXX, but that is at an all time low and we wont have any missionaries making that trip for another 3 or 4 years…so it’s real sporadic…but really, there is nothing we can do. So let’s get going to our meeting. Try to deal with the circumstances—-this isn’t run like an Applebees! We need you on your A game all the time!
Jim drags his head and walks behind Ted a little slower. They enter the conference room.
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM
TED: Everyone! This is Jim!
Jim greets everyone and takes a seat.
TED: Tell them about yourself!
JIM: Well…I’m a hard-working, single parent trying to make ends meet, while trying to teach the values of being an honest person to my young ones.
The room roars with laughter.
TED: Well I think he meant the values of being a pleasant, civilized person.
JIM: No! I meant honest. And I mean it. I can’t believe you people sit here and have all this information at your disposal, and for what? To keep it bottled up from the general population?
TED: Well I mean, it’s what’s best for them. The general population is a group of fools. They cant handle this kind of information.
JIM: Right. Sure. They couldn’t handle having antibiotics that can cure them from disease. They don’t want to know what’s out there beyond the moon. They don’t want to know about celebrity scandals! Sure, right! I can’t believe this! I really cant!
TED: So what are you saying?
JIM: I think I’m saying that you might need to reopen that requirement and find someone a little more suitable for this job, from a moral standpoint.
TED: Are you sure? There’s no turning back once you back out on us!
JIM: Yes. Please accept my withdrawal.
TED: Very well.
Ted then pushes a buzzer that immediately smokes Jim into disintegration.
DAY 309: Write an original “joke book” joke.
What’s the best line from the original 90210? It’s when Ian Ziering falls down the steps, yelling “ah,” before his mouth is closed.
DAY 308: Put parentheses around any useless words in a joke or sentence of a story. Try eliminating it. Does it still work?
Yes? (New) meme.
Come see (my) play (today) at 3:00 PM at the Cape Fear Playhouse in Wilmington, NC. Also (going) on Friday and Saturday next week at 8:00 and again next Sunday at 3:00 PM. (Call for) tickets at (910) 367-5237.