Sunday, September 12, 2010

off and runnin' to our final tech week

and then it's showtime!!

but first: part 3 of our behind-the-scenes feature is live. this one focuses on the music.

speaking of music! tucci and bryan will be doing a special concert this thursday night at 9pm to promote You Are Not Special!. i'll be there, talking up a big game. so drop by for drinks and music and socializing! the whole thing is COMPLETELY FREE by the by.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

damn and hell!

what's this little thing here? why, it's part two of our four-part video series about how we are all making this little play here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

oh hey, i didn't see you there

we've got an event page set up on the facebook-y thing. it is here. click it and join and stuff.

LNT at Beowulf Alley Presents You Are Not Special!

and now, part one of the video series documenting this insanity (warning, contains rather nasty language. some might even say "NSFW.")

Sunday, August 29, 2010


just realized today that i totally got the showdates wrong.

they are, correct this time:

Friday September 17th, Saturday September 18th, Friday September 24th, Saturday September 25th

at 10:30pm!

tickets are 8 dollars, cash at the door.

i mention this, mainly because we have some super-fucking rad videos that are about to go live sometime tomorrow, and we've got plenty of pictures galore.


Friday, August 27, 2010

never the twain shall meet

hello readers! welcome to my blog about my show!

for those few of you who might be confused by this: in addition to working for low pay in a bookstore and writing plays for even lower pay, i am a paid columnist for Anime News Network. every week (usually) i write a little column called Hey, Answerman! where i take all kinds of questions from hundreds of thousands of readers all about the intricacies of japanese animation. this column is why i tend not to respond to your phone calls or text messages on thursdays.

the reason i bring this up is that there's sort of an odd connection between the two. usually the theater stuff and my anime writing are two completely separate beasts, kept in separate cages within my psyche, rarely interacting. but, there was this one time.

(cue flashback)

earlier in the year, zac asked me to pitch in 1200 words or so for a feature in Protoculture Addicts magazine. he wanted to gather all his writers and have them write personal, involving stories about how they fell into anime, what it means to them, et cetera. so, late one night i grabbed amber's laptop and headed to CoffeeXChange. Tucson natives will remember CoffeeXChange as the place where college kids hopped up on adderall and cocaine stay up all night drinking coffee and pretending to study. it was also a 10-minute walk from my apartment at the time, so i was a frequent customer.

i get to CoffeeXChange, and i start writing my article. it was all about how i came to become an anime fan, or more specifically, how i discovered anime. in my younger days i had big, lofty dreams of being an animator, winning awards for my idiosyncratic films in the vein of Don Hertzfeldt. considering that i was a self-taught artist without a clear grasp of standard artistic principles like anatomy, dimension, or staging, i had to come to the sad realization in my teenage years that, simply put, i didn't have the chops. and it wasn't until i discovered anime when i was 16 years old that i found something new and exciting in the world of animation to really cling to. i haven't let go since.

so, i wrote that piece. it was about 4 or 5 in the morning at this point. i start editing it, whittling it down to that exact 1200 word mark. i notice these... kids in the table next to me, making an awful lot of insouciant small-talk. very dramatic, very self-absorbed kids. and then it hit me. "oh, dear. these are DRAMA KIDS."

i was about to pick up my stuff and move to a different table when i realized something. in my bag, i had the first 7 or 8 pages, finished, from what would eventually become "You Are Not Special!" i tiredly turned to them, and i said,

"excuse me, but... i dunno, and i don't mean to sound rude, but... you guys are all drama kids, right?"

the token female of the group nervously looks at me and says, "well... i am, and he is. but he's not."

"that's great," i say, "and... tell me if this sounds weird to you, but. i'm a writer. i've got this script i'm working on. if you wouldn't mind, could i... just have you guys read it for me? just to give me an idea of how it sounds. i'm not so sure about it yet."

they agreed, sheepishly. they read it. it sounded great. even though they mispronounced words like "facile" and names like "Devereaux." whatever. it sounded good. it sounded authentic. it sounded real. i was pleased.

i thanked them. the girl looked back at me, and sort of nonchalantly said, "yeah, i want to be a writer, and i've written some like, poems and stuff, but um, i'm just like, going through all this writer's block."

then and there i think i've given the best accidental advice of my career.

"you know what's a good cure for writer's block?" i said. "writing."

i'm not sure if she thought that was just some asshole expression. but it was genuine.

my writing all comes from the same general place, i think. when i write about anime, i write about it because i'm compelled beyond belief to get up and sing and proselytize this artform that i love and fuck you for not loving it like i do. when i write these silly plays about balls and masturbation and heartbreak it's because i still can't shake that feeling i had when i was younger - to use my talents to create something worthwhile for someone other than myself.

this bit of introspection is brought to you by relative insomnia, and the adorable kitten that is chewing on my shirt.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


... We (the cast) locked ourselves out of the theater last night. Michael had to come rescue us so we could go home with our keys, wallets, shoes, etc. Hah!
That is all.

state of the union: week 2

alrighty. so here we are, second week of rehearsals. here's some cool things that've been happening so far:

josh came by and filmed a whole boatload of material yesterday. look forward to that soon, plastering your youtube screens with joy and profanity like a hobo with a jetpack.

i threw together a quick dvd of one of the pieces of animation i want to use. here's a little snippet of one of the drawings:

other than that, i just found out today that one of tucci's tremendously amazing accomplices in musical adventures is keen on performing one of the songs in the show with his amazing guitar playing. i can guarantee that'll be something that people won't be expecting.

i'm still a little worried about the whole issue with the cartoons and the projector - i think the demo i made looks good, but it all comes down to how comfortable the theater director is with letting us use their fancy and expensive electrical equipment, as well as how well that'll work on a set that isn't ours. questions, questions.

for now though, i can take solace in the fact that my actors are absolutely killin' it and are still managing to make all of us either crack up or heartbroken even after seeing the same damn material for the 10th time in a row.

regardless, the future is bright, and i think we've got a stellar show to perform. i can guarantee you it will be worth the eight dollars.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a few thoughts on directing a play for the first time

-i'm scared

-wow, people are actually listening to what i'm saying? cool

-i'm scared

-good, good, they're totally like, reading my thoughts

-i'm still kinda scared

-i can't believe people want to actually do this. like, they're going to sing about balls. insane

-not scared anymore! sweet

-ack, crap. why did i write all this complicated physical stuff

-totally scared

-ah screw it i'll just see what they do here on their own

-wow they're good at this. it's like they took classes or something

-if lydia and tucci weren't here i would be a quivering mass of bones and urine

-ok wow great night. can't wait for tomorrow!!!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

wee-haw! we got a cast and some show dates!!!

Late Night Theatre at Beowulf Alley presents

"You Are Not Special!"


Mike Miller
Nicole Scott
Teresa Simone
Scott O'Brien

September 16th, 17th, 23rd, and 24th at 10:30pm.

going down to the theater tomorrow to do a read-through with the cast and take some promo photos. more to come so stay tuned!

and by that i mean i will update more frequently since we're finally rolling on this.

(you see me rollin', you hatin')


Monday, July 26, 2010

'sup dudes!

after narrowly avoiding a full-contact fuck-all mental breakdown last week, i've managed to slowly plug away at the script, and it's getting oh-so-very close to being finished and ready to be shown to the world. and by "the world" i mean the few folks from Late Night Theater whose input i value. sorry, internet at large.

so, i started writing this script because i'm depressed. more specifically, i have depression. strange, i know. SOME GUY ON THE INTERNET HAS DEPRESSION, AND IS LONELY. HOLY SHIT THAT'S NEW. anyway. i've absorbed countless movies and books and songs about being lonely and depressed, and not one of them have i come away and didn't think to myself, "that is bullshit." there's been a few things i've seen that've come close to being authentic - Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" is a good one, but that's just one small part of that movie, and that deals with just about every human emotion that yet exists. but i've never seen anything that has felt truly real and personal. everything i've seen has been from the perspective of people that were lonely, that were depressed, but are looking back on it in hindsight, with rose tinted glasses that tell the viewer, hey, it's okay, we've all been there.

and i say, bullshit. we've all been there, sure. we all go there from time to time. but what is it like for those people who deal with it constantly, where every waking moment you live in fear that your brain's infernal machinations are going to subvert every second of your life into misery? that's pretty much what i'm trying to come through with here, in You Are Not Special! to show these rather pathetic characters in a sterile light to expose how, honestly, amusing and funny the whole thing is. being depressed is pretty hilarious, really - the things that run through your mind as it tries to destroy every dollop of joy over the most benign, random events.

so, the script is nearing completion. soon it'll be typed up and ready to go. then, i need to wrangle my buddies from Late Night Theater and elsewhere to give notes and suggestions so i can do another quick pass on the script. then, it's onward to auditions and casting and full speed ahead. it's nerve-wracking, i'm incredibly excited, and, because i'm depressed, incredibly worried that the entire thing will be a mess that no-one will want to see and will ruin my reputation forever, barring me from having sex or car loans or a job answering phones for an online retailer.

i'll be back with more info soon!


Friday, June 25, 2010

hey all! welcome to my new, potentially fruitless attempt to promote my upcoming play, "You Are Not Special!"

it'll all be happening at the usual place for these things - Late Night Theater at Beowulf Alley, and you (and you! AND YOU! AND ESPECIALLY YOU) can look forward to it in late September.

so, the purpose of this blog here - aside from the obvious attempts at web 2.0 synergy or whatever - is to hopefully give a little bit of insight into the process of how a play goes from script to production, with my own entertaining witticisms and bon mots thrown in to make things less dull and pretentious. and this blog won't be the only thing we'll be doing once we're actually in production, make no mistake. we're going to have videos and cartoons and other fun stuff leading up to our September premiere to get all of you jazzed and excited to come out and see the show.

so, then, what's the show all about, you're probably wondering? i won't go too into detail about that stuff; for one thing it's dreadfully dull to listen to a writer try and condense his project into a sales pitch and for another thing i'd like to avoid spoiling anything about the story, such as it were. instead, though, i'll tell you a little about how and why "You Are Not Special!" came into being.

so, after "I'm Sorry I Liked You" became kind of a big deal in the small but noisy Tucson community theater scene, of course it became apparent that i needed to think long and hard about what my follow-up project would be. Josh - the director of "I'm Sorry I Liked You" and my close friend - and i bounced a few ideas around for a little while, exploring a few concepts including one that would've been a spin-off featuring one of the characters in the show. well, those ideas obviously kind of fizzled out and Josh began acting and directing on his own (kudos to you if you saw "I Count Time By How the Body Sways" which was superb) and i got crackin' on what i was sure was going to be my most magnumus opus-est of all magnum opus-es: "The Petey the Pirate Show."

"The Petey the Pirate Show" was going to be a goddamn vile, outrageous variety show, a collection of short, filthy sketch comedy bits i had written that were segmented between an overarching story about Petey the Pirate, a bedraggled, ornery, sad-sack recovering drug addict and former spokesman for Chesterfield cigarettes who was hosting a cheesy sketch show to reclaim his former glory. oh, and Petey was a puppet. yes. we did one reading of the script, and it was an unmitigated fucking disaster. first of all, nearly 20 pages of the 65-page script were mysteriously lost, a result of malpractice and, i assume, cowardice on behalf of the deaf and rather rude Kinko's employee in charge of printing out the damn things. oh, and the script itself sucked too. like, really badly. people liked the sketches i wrote, but they hated Petey. apparently, people think that a puppet character who feels remorse over divorcing his wife after she had a miscarriage is depressing. who knew?

so, with Petey dead, i decided to crawl back into my wheelhouse a little bit. or, wheelhouses, i guess. i started to work on two separate scripts - "Songs for Cynthia Braddock" and "You Are Not Special!" and in the interim, the sketches i wrote for Petey got shortened and adapted to fit into the sketch show we performed in March, "Grendel's Mom," in case you caught that.

"Songs for Cynthia Braddock" was my attempt to try and write something less bitter, more hopeful, playing as sort of a romantic comedy but without any of the usual bullshit. and what i mean to say is, it didn't work. i wrote about six drafts of that script before i realized that it was too slight, too innocuous, and too... uninteresting.

"You Are Not Special!" didn't exactly fare much better, though the painful process of realizing that it was shitty was at least a lot quicker. i barfed out a draft of that show literally overnight, as my co-workers who witnessed my bumbling sleep-deprived antics the next day can attest. "You Are Not Special!" was so depressing and dour and misogynistic that i promptly decided to never show it to anyone, ever.

but, over time, aspects of those two failed scripts managed to stay with me. specific scenes in some cases, but there were things and ideas and characters in those shows that were literally percolating in my brain for months. i still really liked "You Are Not Special!" as a title. "Songs For Cynthia Braddock" had an interesting, fully-realized lead female role, something i'm certainly not very good at writing and therefore something i need to put to good use. and now, after several months and many failed attempts and several sleepless nights, well, here i am, talking to myself on a blog no-one will probably read.

so, there's a bit of the backstory. in a future post i'll describe a bit more about the conceit of the show itself in a bit more detail. but for now, enjoy this little piece of concept cartooning i drew up for the show a little while ago.