I Didn't Always Dream of Being a Writer
20 years ago, in 9th grade, my English teacher had us write an essay on our dreams for what we wanted to do in the future when we grew up. I wrote about my dream to be one of the first private citizens to fly in space, that I would live to see a world in which private citizens would have that opportunity. He gave me a C, and wrote on my essay that if I wanted to go into space, that I should "dream of being an astronaut." Because that's what I meant. Obviously. Well, Mr. Kull, being an astronaut would have been awesome and is a wonderful dream and goal... just not for me. Telling people what they should dream about defeats the purpose of dreams. My dream was, and still is, frankly, rooted in something larger; a wish for humanity to advance to the point where regular people could go into space. I don't want to go up and fix a telescope. I just want to look out the window. I know the path to that dream is a lot of small moves and the persistence of talented people. Luckily, it turns out, I'm not the only one who has this dream. And I'm thrilled, and not at all surprised, by that. Going to look into this more, do some homework, and figure out the veracity of it all... but if there's a chance of getting to space in my lifetime, I have to hope that something like this actually works. Small moves.
Plus, it would be cool to be the first playwright in space. Just, ya know... because, right?!
Earlier this year, the City of Grove City, Ohio, commissioned me to write a new play for 2015 to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of Jackson Township and the role that Grove City has played in its history and development. While the full play will premiere next Spring, the city is working with their hometown theater, the Little Theatre Off Broadway (LTOB), to present a first look preview of the play at this weekend's Arts in the Alley festival.
It's been a great pleasure working on this play thus far; and although I can't share the full story with you until next Spring, I'm thrilled that Grove City and LTOB are bringing this first look to the stage. And all during an arts fest celebrating its 35th year. They're calling for an absolutely beautiful weekend in Grove City, like high 70s/low 80s, so please come and enjoy the arts festival and stop by LTOB for one of our six performances of the first look of the Grove City Play. See you in the theater!
I do not understand the push for younger audiences on TV. No one likes when one of their favorite shows gets canceled, but this one just upsets me. Longmire averaged 5.6 million viewers an episode this season. It was A&E's 2nd highest rated show (best scripted show) and rated higher than other cable champions like Mad Men. Even Breaking Bad barely cracked the 2 million view mark for the first four seasons, before skyrocketing to 5 and 6 million viewer averages in the final year. So 5.6 millions seems great. Why isn't it? A&E had some thoughts on that. So do I.
According to an article from the Wall Street Journal (also linked to the picture, above right): "A&E's Mr. Silberman said the decision was specific to 'Longmire.' 'We gave it three seasons,' he said, adding, 'we genuinely loved the show but the audiences in the key demographics just weren't there.'"
Those key demos? 18-24 & 25-54. Longmire's audience had a median age of 60 (really?)...okay, so why not sell ads for the demos you had? None of those 5.6 million people have money to buy things? And SOME of them have to be in the 25-54 demo (half of them are under 60, by the definition of median). Okay, so no one over the age of 54 is worth anything to advertisers (really?). So maybe A&E could actually support and advertise the show to the demos it wanted. I'm pretty sure that I know lots of people in the 25-54 demo who would happily watch Katee Sackhoff, Bailey Chase, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Robert Taylor read them the phone book. As Longmire's EP Greer Shephard said, "It is hard for me to believe that you are not able to monetize one of your highest-rated shows."
Aside from the disappointment of seeing Longmire axed (though, I am hopeful that the producers can land the show elsewhere for a season 4), I am disappointed that in 20 years, what I watch won't matter to advertisers or networks. That I only have 20 good years of being a "key demo" when it comes to the ratings system that drives TV; a ratings system that is horribly outdated and is probably doing more to destroy traditional television that any viewing habits out there or new technologies.
As someone who would love to work in TV, I guess I'm going to have to learn to understand it.
And hope something changes.
On Facebook and want to follow the LongLiveLongmire campaign there? Visit their page here.
Remembering Other People's Stories
Previews Of History
So they talked about me on TV this weekend. What? Yeah. I don't think that will ever get old. It's pretty sweet (and by "they" I mean my director, Lisa, and the host of a local show with regard to a new play being previewed at Grove City's Arts in the Alley later this month). On Sunday, my mom called to tell me that my aunt phoned her to say that she heard my name mentioned on OUT N ABOUT COLUMBUS. After some internet research, this was proven true.
OUT N ABOUT COLUMBUS spoke with my director (and active member of LTOB), Lisa Napier-Garcia about the history of LTOB and how we're getting involved with Arts in the Alley by sharing part of this exciting project. I've tried to cue up the segment below. Lisa's interview begins close to the 17:50 mark.
Keep reading after the YouTube video to find out more about my Grove City play.
The play is one of two plays I've been working on for this Fall (the other being ROBIN HOOD... more on that later this week). I call this one THE GROVE CITY CENTURY BOX: A HISTORICAL MYSTERY. Commissioned by the Grove City Historical Commission, the play will have a full production in Spring of 2015 to coincide with the 200th Anniversary of Jackson Township.
I'm excited to be working with LTOB (The Little Theatre Off Broadway) in Grove City on the production side of things, as they will present a preview of the play, September 20-21 at Arts in the Alley. Think: extended trailer. You'll have six chances to stop by LTOB during this annual arts festival in the heart of historic downtown Grove City and get a glimpse at what we're working on for next Spring.
About the play: In present day Grove City, Sydney and her brother Dylan are prepping a house for auction when Sydney discovers what appears to be an abandoned time capsule. When they open it, it unlocks a mystery that centers on a young girl in 1952. Who she is, what happened to her, and why she created the forgotten century box can only be answered by digging through the history of Grove City---and the answers Sidney finds will forever change her.
Showtimes and further information will be posted as soon as I have it!
Thoughts. From my brain. Anything to do with how we tell stories and the stories we tell each other. Literally and figuratively.
Writer. Husband. Father. Effulgent dreamer. A Fightin' Irishman (@NDdotEDU '01). A playwriting Bobcat (MFA in Playwriting, @OhioU '13). I write plays. I'm a geek. I wanted to be an astronaut. I go places in my head.