Keeping your eye on the ball


Knowing what it is about

© D.P. O'Sullivan

You have, by some miracle of the modern entertainment industry, found a producer for your play and the producer finds a director who finds actors who find enough charity in their hearts to work for peanuts. The evening of the preview arrives and, of course, the press is conspicuous by its absence but there are enough friends and relations in the auditorium to keep the place tolerably warm. Suddenly the pool of charity, from which the actors were drawing, runs dry. Ten minutes before curtain, their spokesperson informs the director that they are not going on unless the heat is turned up. The director tells the producer (he's the man in the audience with the calculator, wearing a white scarf) who decides that no bunch of low-life actors is going to get the better of him. The producer tells the director, no deal, let 'em walk, which is exactly what the actors do. After all they have warm jobs to go to in the hospitality industry.

After the blood returns to your head, you hear the director say, "Hey, it's your show. Just go out there and TELL 'EM WHAT THE SHOW IS ABOUT and don't say about 90 minutes. We'll get the actors back for the opening on Thursday. Don't worry about it."

Now everything is right back in your lap where it all started.

Exercise

  1. Write a two-minute speech that describes your play and sells the audience on forgetting the ball game on channel 8, coming back downtown again tomorrow night, finding parking, and trudging through two feet of snow to see it. The last 20 seconds of the speech should describe why you wanted to write this play.
  2. Transcribe this speech to page 1 of your script and read it every time you sit down to write or rewrite.
  3. Don't forget to remove it from the script and use it as the body of your submission letter.