26 August 2010

John Mayer on Playwriting

Ignore the tabloid bullshit for a moment, and listen to the words of a poet who knows how to reach the public-at-large:

Listening to Train play "Hey Soul Sister" from backstage. What a massive hit. Yea, it's on the radio pretty constantly, but a hit song is all about the way the crowd reacts to it. There's nothing like the reward of making the air swirl around thousands of people with one of your songs. Better than any of the spins or chart positions. I think people would write better songs if they aimed for the religious concert experience rather than the top 20. Train's now playing "Drops of Jupiter," a song that succeeds and succeeded at both, respectively.
The same could be said for playwriting: Aim for the religious experience, rather than "success." Keep it honest, keep it pure. Make a personal connection with the material -- intend to make it a personal experience for the audience. Getting back to something I quoted from Heinlein*, it's about intercourse with the audience; a sacred union.

[*Quoted in a Facebook note:  "Jubal shrugged. 'Abstract design is all right — for wall paper or linoleum. But art is the process of evoking pity and terror. What modern artists do is pseudo-intellectual masturbation. Creative art is intercourse, in which the artist renders emotional his audience. These laddies who won't deign to do that — or can't — lost the public.'"  From Stranger in a Strange Land.  My Facebook page as a playwright may be found here.]

23 August 2010

A New Name, A New Direction

This blog started life as "The Felties."  In it, I hoped to chronicle the production of a puppet webseries called The Felties.  Along the way, I'd post my experiements in video production, mostly in the form of Disembodied Animal Head Theatre, and comments on entertainment in general.

The Felties fizzled.  I have most of the cast built (by the very talented Russ Walko) but they sit in a box, waiting for me to settle for what I can do vs. what I would like to do.

So I rebranded the blog, "In the Extreme," which was the title of my old newspaper column in High School.  I kept posting about whatever the hell struck my fancy.  And then I stopped blogging.  Well, I stopped blogging here.  I kept publishing notes on Facebook, and I've blogged quite a bit at Mad Theatrics, the sister blog to this one.

I am going to endeavor to get back up on the blogging horse.  September 30th will be my 5th anniversary here on Blogger.  Hence, the rededication to typing away into the ether, like a street preacher yelling through a megaphone at no-one in particular.

That's not quite true.  I know my parents read this, as a way to keep up with what I'm doing.  Scarlett Letter reads the blog.  I still get referrals from puppetry websites and blogs.  I imagine I get quite a few hits from people interested in Scientology -- mostly ex-Scientologists and fence-sitters who may have heard that I was declared a "Suppressive Person."  And for some strange reason, I get a bunch of hits from people looking for Picasso's stripped-down sketch of a bull:

(And just like that, I doubled my web traffic.)

If you follow my Facebook notes and other blog, you may see a bunch of double-postings here.  I apologize, but I'm going for a sort of "Andrew Moore clearinghouse."  Yes, I am that egotistical.  More to the point, I have that many irons in the fire.

And speaking of such things, I would like to end off with this short movie, shot with my pal Mike Delorenzo a week ago.  We did this for the "5 for 50" Film Festival held by Bagavagabonds.  That's ("5 minutes for $50.")  Enjoy!