We theatre creators need to try harder.
There was a time when theatre was king. Film, Television and now the Internet has passed us by and we are in a constant fight to catch up. We are struggling and we need to try harder.
Can going to the theatre still be a powerful and life-changing experience? Yes. But the question is not the power of the theatre but the motivation of the viewer. Everyone knows that seeing a live show can be infinitely more moving then watching something on TV. Go see a hockey game live and tell me how you feel about this. The problem is, it is EASIER to sit on your couch and stay inside.
So, we theatre directors, creators and performers need to make going to the theatre as easy as possible so that our audience will not have to WORK to see us.
I think many of us are failing.
This all came about when I began conducting a cursory search on theatre companies that hold playwriting competitions. I recently finished a one act play and a full-length mystery drama that I want to enter in a few contests. I actively am interested in paying companies my own hard-earned money to read my scripts. What did I find?
Most of what comes up in my searching is about contests of the past. There was almost nothing relevant that came up right away. Is this a failure of companies to update their sites? Yes. But it is an even greater failure of companies with current contests to make their sites relevant and accessible. Again, we need to catch up to the other forms of entertainment and we don’t even know how to make our websites come up on search engines.
I’m not coming from a place of hate. I’m writing this with love. If we truly want to catch up and help audiences see our work we need to try harder. It is not difficult to update a website or make a site popup on search engines. It’s just not.
The last computer class I took involved dial-up. I’m serious. Yet, in about ten minutes I can create a website, that’s free, that will come up in a search. To make sure it keeps coming up all I have to do is update it with keywords every week… hell, every month. It’s not that hard.
If you have a site with the wrong information or outdated material, you are hurting yourself and making your potential audience work too hard. Catch up to the times and get to work. Update your site, keep updating it and help me and your audience give you money!
So, this is turning out to be a pretty important week.
Last night I began talks to have Group participate in the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Will it happen? I don’t know yet, but it sure seems like a wonderful way to promote a show and/or an ensemble. We shall see.
Tonight I am hosting the first ever reading of my full length drama titled, “The Belt.” It’s a missing persons mystery that jumps through time and space to allow the audience to piece together what happened.
Saturday I am having new promotional photos taken of me for this very website. I’ve been taking photos of other people for so long I may have forgotten how to be IN one. We shall see. Thank whatshisname for photoshop, am I right?
I’m also planning on attending the Center Theatre Group’s Sherwood Award meeting this weekend to see what that’s all about. Any organization that offers financial and artistic support to emerging artists is okay with me. Sounds like an amazing opportunity.
There is more.. much more… but really, no one wants to read everything I’m up to. And in truth, so many things are only ideas, notions and possibilities. Actual tangible happenings are so much more fun to write about.
Talk to you soon, world (ie: me, myself and I)
Adam Emperor Southard, creator of Group (musical), The Unspoken Pull Of The Moon (One Act), The Belt (Two Act Drama).
Early on in my musical “Group” Dr. Allen talks about the power of a community and how the collective we can figure anything out.
I’ve decided to follow my own advice and lean on collaboration more often.
Last night, for example, I had five gifted actors over to cold read my one act “The Unspoken Pull Of The Moon.” In the past I might have started submitting it without much outside help. I know now the power of others opinions. When the play is working, it helps to have confirmation from people you believe in. When a play isn’t working it… Helps to have confirmation from people you believe in.
Thankfully it went well and we had a blast. There are few things as satisfying as creation and sharing that process is rewarding… I promise.
Adam Emperor Southard
Los Angeles playwright
A couple days ago I wrote the most intense / high stakes scene of my entire life. I then went to hit save and guess what? Spinning wheel of death. It’s okay. It’ll come around… waiting… waiting… poof. Gone. Apparently, that writing never really happened.
Now, I’ve always been one to secretly make fun of the writers who handwrite everything first or who use a typewriter. Wake up people it’s two thousand and something. Use a computer. Now I found myself feeling like maybe they were onto something.
Technology punched me right in the face. I only lost about a 1/2 hour of work, but the way I write that is about five pages worth. You think I’m kidding but when I’m rolling…
Anyway, I went to bed and decided to take a fresh look in the morning. Now I know I should have just redid it right there and then, but I’m a father who needs his sleep so I gave in to midnight.
Thank goodness I was able to recapture the mood and spirit of what I had written the previous night. Even so, I promise to no longer snicker at the old school methods of writing. I promise to embrace whatever works for me in the moment. I promise to save everything constantly. I promise to no longer let my work go poof.
Adam Emperor Southard – creator of the critically acclaimed musical “Group” and current playwright of a little play that shall remained unnamed for another minute or two.
Reading a one act I wrote over a decade ago is like reading the work of a writer that no longer exists. It’s an odd yet excited process. There are flashes of deja vu where I remember a moment or phrase but then it’s right back to something I have no memory of.
It makes me want to write something today and then hide it until I turn 40.
I am so different now and have experienced so much more. Since I wrote the play I am now letting marinate in my head I have been married, had a son, had a corporate job, began workings as a photographer, lost said corporate job, became an uncle, lost friends and family and have had my first musical professionally produced in Los Angeles.
I am just not the same man (or writer) that I was.
That being said, I think who I am now is the ideal editor for who I was. I look forward to a spare moment to rework the show and tighten it up.
I look forward to sharing it with you.
Adam Emperor Southard – creator of the musical Group
February 3, 2011
Now that the first run of my musical “Group” has wrapped, I have the time and (fingers crossed) momentum to begin work on my next musical. Before getting there, and I will soon, I’m going to rework an old one act play. It’s a show titled, “The Unspoken Pull Of The Moon” I wrote way way way way back in 2001 with my wife. She was living in Michigan at the time and I was here in Los Angeles. We sent each other monologues and ideas on characters because she was working with a group of playwrights at her school and I was, quite frankly bored out of my mind! You live in LA poor and tell me how you do!
Anyway, I’ve been told that if I have a 15-35 minute long play, I should submit it to the Eclectic Company Theatre’s Huricane Season writing contest. I remember loving the work we did on the show and I’m excited to look at it a whole decade later.
Now I know it’s a terrible idea to let people know you are considering entering a contest because then everyone will know when you don’t win. BUT, I figure if I tell enough people I am going to enter it, I’ll have to follow through on it.
Nothing wrong with putting a little pressure on yourself to find time for what you truly love.
Here’s to following your passions and giving yourself a push once in a while.
Adam Emperor Southard
February 2, 2011
It won’t be long before this will be the easiest way to keep up with everything I am working on.
If you would like to reach me to discuss my musical “Group” which just wrapped at the Powerhouse Theatre in Santa Monica, you can email me directly at AESPiano@gmail.com.
If you would like to discuss my photography, the best way to reach me is to email me at AESPhotoLA@gmail.com
Thanks for the visit, we’ll talk soon.