Vermont, Part I

Sorry for the delay in posting this week – I had a cool excuse: I was in Vermont for a reading of my script Shelby’s Vacation. It’s is a movie script not a play, but it still falls under the heading of Wonderfulness For a Writer, so I thought I’d share a little of Nancy’s Vacation with you.

I’d entered the script in a Chicago contest called Pride Films & Plays (as in, yes, gay pride) and then had the good fortune to end up in the semi-finals of that wingding AND be picked for a new “pride” script reading event at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph, Vermont. Both of the events were set up and run by the fabulous David Zak. I can say he’s fabulous not just because he picked my script but because I’ve now met him in person. He had the inspiration to create these shindigs, the left-brain skills to organize them and as an added bonus, he had the directorial skills to pull off a movie experience on stage – no small feat considering there were with multiple locations and a fairly large cast.

It’s pretty easy for me to enjoy hiking in lush woodlands (cue up Rogers & Hart: “In our mountain greenery where God paints the scenery…”), sample maple syrup and homemade cheese, and get into the rhythm of small-town life (even Burlington and Montpelier seemed small town),but hallelujah, I took away some insights from the reading.

It had been two years since I heard Shelby’s Vacation, so I’d forgotten some of the scenes, certainly the order of them, and most importantly, the impact of them. I had fresh ears, fresh eyes, and I was like a real audience member – hey, what’s coming next and do I care about what’s happening?

My current writers’ group does not allow us to bring in movie scripts, only plays, hence, I hadn’t brought this script in for the actors to read during the past two years. Who knew this would be to my benefit by giving me distance and perspective??

One scene I’d added to the most recent draft actually showed in flashback the motivation of the main character – why she was taking this much-needed vacation. She’d been fantasizing about her boss too much – and in the crucial flashback we see her boss Marion showing off an engagement ring – she was going to get married, crushing our heroine’s fantasy life (in my movie world, lesbians are actually allowed to marry in California).

Due to some logistics issues, the director chose not to have this flashback staged or read. Without consulting me.

Did this matter? Was the writer upset? Did the director apologize?

Stay tuned for part II!

1 Comment

  • By Robin Byrd, July 21, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

    Wow, Nancy. Sounds really fulfilling. I think changes always warrant asking the writer first and if that option is missed, at least telling the writer would be in order. Yes, you get to see if everything works without that bit of information but you don’t get to see if it worked with it. I’d be counting to ten and taking deep breaths so I wouldn’t miss the rest of the reading. 🙂 By the way, this is a great Part I cliff hanger.

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