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December 16, 2012
Wanted: Church or Local Theatre Group to Stage My One-Act Comedy

Posted by Michael in : Writing , add a comment

Not long ago, I put the finishing touches on a one-act comedy and now I’m looking for a church that’s interested in staging it.

The one-act is titled “Bowled Over” and it features four actors – two men and two women – who play all 16 parts. The play is a sketch comedy set in a bowling alley. There are 10 sketches in the play. Run time is estimated at a little over an hour.

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July 13, 2012
Writing Comedy is Serious Work for This Minister

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allen_edgeJust finished my first day at the 18th annual Karitos Christian Arts Conference in West Chicago. I attended four workshops and the afternoon general session featuring Glenn Kaiser.

I plan to write more about some of the workshops that I attended in the next few days, but I wanted to write up some quick thoughts this evening about the workshop on stand-up comedy.

Allen D. Edge led the session. Allen is an ordained minister and a stand-up comedian. Now there’s a combination.

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February 11, 2011
How To Know When You’ve Got the Right Ending for Your Script

Posted by Michael in : Writing , 2comments

Endings are hard.

I’ve been working on a long overdue new sketch for the website. When I read what I’ve written so far, I’m really happy with it until I get to the end. It just sort of stops. Something about the ending doesn’t work for me. I know that it’s not ready. It doesn’t tell the audience that the story is done. It’s made me think about how important the right ending is to a story. And – spoiler warning – I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite endings.

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January 20, 2011
Three Sweet Church Drama Scripts for Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is less than a month away. That’s still enough time to Rose On Wood BWput together a drama for the Sunday before the holiday. We have three scripts – “He Shoots, She Scores,” “The Wedded-Bliss Title Agency” and “Escape to Nowhere” – that you could order from the RileysDiner menu. Place your order today, and you’ll have a PDF of the script emailed to you within 24 hours.

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April 16, 2010
When “Doctor Who” Resembled Church Drama

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The new season of Doctor Who premieres on BBC America tonight with Matt Smith stepping in to the lead role as the 11th incarnation of the Time Lord who travels the universe in search of adventure. I’ve been a fan of the show since I discovered the classic series on our local PBS station when I was in high school or college. That was when Tom Baker played the eccentric 900-year-old Time Lord. He’s still one of my favorite actors to portray the Doctor.

For those who are unfamiliar with the series, the Doctor is a renegade Time Lord from the planet of Gallifrey. Not content to merely observe events, he explores the universe in a ship that travels through space and time called a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space). His particular TARDIS is stuck in the shape of an old British police box, thanks to a faulty chameleon circuit. The TARDIS is larger on the inside than it is on the outside.

The series premiered in Britain in the 1960s with William Hartnell as the first incarnation of the Doctor. When Hartnell left the series, producers wrote him out by having the Doctor regenerate. They introduced the idea that whenever Time Lords are seriously injured or near death, their bodies heal themselves by regenerating into a new physical form. Therefore, a completely different actor can play the Doctor and add his own mark to the role. The series was canceled in 1989 but resurrected five years ago by Russell T Davies. There was an interesting story about the writing of Doctor Who in the years before its cancellation that made me think that it was a lot like church drama.

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February 28, 2010
Writing One Thing; Saying Another

Posted by Michael in : Writing , 1 comment so far
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Most of my writing has a theme. The theme guides me like a lamp in the woods on a pitch-black night. It’s how I get from the beginning to the end of my story. Some people could argue that short scripts don’t always require a theme. I’m not going to disagree with them. I know what works for me.

Sometimes a sketch might be a simple illustration or analogy. I watched one like that not too long ago. For me it was deadly dull. So although I didn’t feel connected to the character, the script served its function of acting as an illustration to set up a sermon. Truthfully, I’ve written my share of sketches that served as analogies and nothing more.

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February 20, 2010
A Plan Comes Together: RileysDiner’s Back

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If all goes according to plan — and of course whatever really goes according to plan — RileysDiner.com will have its first new sketch posted after many months of inactivity. Several factors have prevented me from being able to post new content, but hopefully all of that will change starting with Saturday night’s new scripts.

And since we haven’t had new scripts to offer, I’ve been hesitant to blog about new topics. This is my first entry since last June. Way too long. Anyway, here’s what’s planned for tomorrow.

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May 21, 2009
The one thing every good writer must do

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Writers write.

Whenever I hit a dry spell in my writing, I will scribble these two words on a scrap of paper and tape them to my computer monitor. It reminds me that I need to stop calling myself a writer if I can’t make the time to write. And if you’ve been following my blog, you know my last post was over three months ago, so I am definitely in a dry spell when I can’t even crank out a blog post. (more…)

October 21, 2008
A story worth telling always has a point

Posted by Michael in : Writing , add a comment

Ken, a former college roommate from longer ago than I care to admit, e-mailed me about a week ago. He’s going to be writing for his church drama ministry and wanted a few pointers. Among some of the points that I emphasized with him was the importance of having a solid theme.

When it comes to writing a good script, the theme can be either the chicken or the egg. It may come first; it may come later. Eventually though, your story has to have a theme if it’s going to make a difference in the hearts and minds of your audience. And I’m at a point in my writing where I am more interested in hitting the heart — through tears or laughter — than I am the mind. (more…)

August 22, 2008
Writers lay the foundation for director, actors

Posted by Michael in : Writing , add a comment

One of the reasons that I enjoy writing for the stage, whether it’s for the church or a mainstream venue, is the collaboration. It’s a thrill to write a great script and then be able to hand it off to talented directors and actors to take it to the next level. I was reminded of that on Saturday, Aug. 16, when I drove to Chicago to observe auditions for one of my comedies – “Is This Seat Taken?” – that will be performed by Second City in October.

 

As a writer, I’ve had to learn to be flexible on stage directions. When it comes right down to it, there’s no reason that I should insist in my script that an actor enters from stage left or stage right. That’s a level of detail that can be fleshed out by the director and actors as they block the script during rehearsals. Today, if I write a direction for an actor to pick up a prop or to cross to a certain part of the stage, it’s because I believe it’s vital to the story. (more…)