Also, I may put up the scripts of some of my shows, too. Quite a few students actors who have found my monologues in the Smith And Kraus monologue books have been sending me emails, looking for more of my work, so I figured I should probably give them something to find.
"The Fix-Up" is the prequel to a series of movies I made with Antlion Films, about a drug dealer named Chapel. Chapel, who was more or less supposed to be prison-bound at the end of the first one, just kept a-comin' back, and we just finished the third one.
Here they all are, for your convenience:
"Complicated," the first one, was my first attempt to do a 48-hour films (to date, all of the Chapels have been 48-hour films). And, yeah, it was as complicated as the title implies.
Best bit: The encyclopedia.
Then came "Distracted." (also called "Distraction." When I cleaned it up a bit, I changed the title to fit the last one.)
And now, here's "Extremed," which I think of as the "Goldfinger" of the group. Like, the first James Bond movies were good, but it was "Goldfinger" that defined the formula and the series became what it was to become.
This one is more cold-blooded, mean-spirited, and, well, funnier than the others. I'm very proud of this one.
Best bit: Everything after Kelly Maxwell yells "Shut. The fuck. UP!!!"
There's talk of doing others (there's always been talk of doing others, but this one showed us all what we could accomplish if we just sat down and did it)...and Will Gartside (director of "MASSACRE (the musical)") and I are planning...something for when we have a budget. Shhh.
This isn't a comedy like "MASSACRE" was--the story (written by Will with some additional material by myself) starts out as a high school love story, and then it...really isn't...and then it REALLY isn't...and then...well, let's just say it contains possibly the most horrifying thing I've ever been a part of filming. And keep in mind who's telling you that.
What you might not know, is that "High School Sweethearts" is the first half of a longer film, called "Wasted Youth."
And yup, that's right, the second half is written and directed by me, and it's called "The Girls." Here's the teaser trailer for that one:
"The Girls," which we're just doing preproduction on now, is a revenge drama--and yes, it's a rewritten version of my long dreamt-of, never-realized series "Death And The City."
Recently, Will and I did an interview on the Film101 podcast where we explain how this happened. Listen here.
Oh, and one last thing: I'm working on a comic book adaption of "Wasted Youth." But more on that as it happens...
One of the podcasts I listen to, BrassRingWriting Playwriting Podcast, not only mentioned an email I sent in, not only basically based the episode around a topic I brought up in that email, but also plugged this blog, which made me say:
Yeep. I'd probably better update my blog, huh?
So, lots of stuff to report, actually.
First: I won National Novel Writing Month again. I wrote another mystery with Anthony Phillip Grover, a.k.a. Tony Bompicelli, a.k.a. Tony The Bomb, in his life in the Witness Protection Program, this time working with Jilly O'Halloran, a fiesty female cop, trying to solve a mystery so complicated--they don't even know for sure if a crime has been committed...
(By the way, if you're interested in reading this, or the first Tony The Bomb mystery, Knock Knock, then shoot me an email.)
In other news, I am still editing MASSACRE (the musical). All that "coming this Halloween" stuff was a bunch of tree-huggin' hippie crap, so we're aiming for the end of the month (which is our deadline for getting it to several of the contests we want to submit it to).
In the meantime, here's the longer, cooler trailer:
While we're talking about videos I'm responsible for, here's another one that I wrote and directed, which is a prequel to the "Disarming" series of plays I wrote for Mercury Players' Short Shorts. (If you have seen them, don't worry, you don't have to have seen them to watch this).
It's called "Two Girl Minimum," and features Emily Mills, reprising her role as Kidder, Kelly Kiorpes, reprising her role as Maggie The Meth Head from "Complicated," and myself, reprising my role as Reeve. Most of the female cast of MASSACRE managed to slip into this as well.
Oh, and I'm told it's NSFW, mainly because of all the gunfire, and a shot of two girls making out. So, um, be warned:
Recently, I recieved an email from a Chicago theater director named Bryan Cohen, who, like me, has been having trouble getting reviewers to see his show--so he's come up with an interesting solution: Invite reviewers and critics and have them do "community reviews," which I'll post here so that they can be found during a search or he can link to them.
It's actually a pretty good idea (one I may steal). It's a good way for not only for there to be some reviews out there, but for there to be a sense of communtiy among different theater groups through the internet. Here's the first review, just recieved today:
Something From Nothing Directed by Bryan Cohen A review by Paul Barile
Everyone who does improv should see "Something from Nothing" even if only to hear the theories that have gotten lost in the so much of today's gratuitously blue improv scene. The characters talk about – argue about – and understand the various reasons actors do improv.
The characters invoke the holy guru of improv – Del Close – to remind us that honesty and connections are more important than farts and boogers. There is an earnest air about most of these actors that leads the audience to believe they believe it as well. Their belief makes it an easy sell.
Another positive element is they find ways to work history and theory into conversation without being preachy. When one character gets completely wrapped up in theory and forget to just live life – the consequences are less than positive. It is also refreshing to watch a show that isn't peppered with insider humor as many sketch and improv shows tend to be. In fact – you don't need to be in the industry to enjoy most of this play.
Whether intentional – or not - the cast fairly reflects the 1985 film The Breakfast Club. Since the show is set in 1985 – and the improv team takes the name The Breakfast Tub, one is left to draw their own conclusions.
The standout performance by Lauren Q. Hearter – easily the most comfortable person on the stage - is worth the cost of admission. Her character's arc is so complete and uninterrupted that by act three (yes… act three) when she resolves her issues, the audience is completely seduced.
The rest of the cast is uneven – although most of them have great moments. Most of the problems they face are the result of two negative elements in the show. The first negative is the show is way too long. The second element is there are so many unnecessary plot twists – this could be two different plays.
Scripted from improv is a double-edged sword. While you are getting fresh real dialogue – you have to know when to stop the tape. Some of these scenes go on and on and take 15 minutes to say what could be said in 5. There are too many instances when two actors walk out on stage – pull up a chair – and talk. Sometimes they are drinking a beer. Sometimes they are playing a video game. Mostly there is a lot of sitting.
This thing comes in at 2 hours and 30 minutes when they could have told the entire story in 90 minutes. (Note from Rob: I have been informed by the director that this will actually been shortened down by about a half-hour, starting this Sunday.)
All of the subplots did was add time to the script. They didn't raise the stakes and they didn't make us feel more or less of anything toward the characters except – about half-way through act three we were feeling a little contempt that they could get up and walk around as they rambled on and we were planted in seats.
As a time-capsule Stephanie Solorio's costumes were on the money and Amy Gorelow's set was pioneering with its minimalist aesthetic.
Something from Nothing continues its run at the Apollo Studio Theater at 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., (nearest the Fullerton Red/Brown Line) through May 16th, playing Sunday through Wednesday nights at 8 PM. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $7 for students. Call (773) 935-6100 to make reservations.
This is a trailer for a movie that doesn't exist, written by Doug Reed, edited by myself, starring Emily Mills, Kelly Kiorpes, and Kathy Lynn Sliter, and directed by Nick Drake. Visual effects by Detonationfilms.com. It's basically what I was doing all last week.
The new Discordia will feature new lyrics, new gags, (possibly) more stage blood, two new songs ("I Love Premarial Sex" is the standout, but "The Sassy One" is the one that gets stuck in your head), as well as the return of Anthony Lamarr as one of the bumbling cops, and of course, the lovely and talented Kelly Kiorpes (in the role she may have been born to play) as Discordia Doren, psychotic Catholic schoolgirl.
I should mention that this show was co-written by Morey Burnard, who wrote all of the music (we traded back and forth of lyrical work), and also directed the whole damn affair. Morey went to town on this one. I know his inspiration for the music came from a certain amount of 70's rock opera, which is amazing to me because when I was a kid, stuff like that used to really creep me out, like Tommy, or Phantom Of The Paradise (which was no small inspiration for this, by the way).
Revenge of the Mini Musicals II By Catherine Capellaro & Andrew Rohn, Rob Matsushita, Moritz Burnard, Douglas Holtz, and Jonathan Zarov Directed by Moritz Burnard Four original short musicals for grown-ups:
Meaty, Beaty Big and Bouncy by Catherine Cappellaro and Andrew Rohn
Discordia's Sunshine Death by Rob Matsushita & Morey Burnard
Bingo Night at the Church of St. Darwin by Jonathan Zarov
Gaystroke, Legend of Tarthan by Doug Holtz
Opening night gala on April 20th.
Produced by Mercury Players at the Bartell Theatre, Drury Stage Performances: April 20 - May 5, 2007 Performance Times: April 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, May 2, 3, 4, 5 @ 8 pm, April 22, 29 @ 2 pm Ticket Prices: $15 / $5 Student Tuesdays & Wednesdays / General Admission
Also up and coming is Short Shorts, which is at the Mercury Lounge (117 E. Mifflin--next door to the Bartell). For those of you who don't know, Short Shorts is a monthy event. Here's the skinny (copied from Madstage):
You are cordially invited Tuesday night, April 24th, 8pm at the Mercury Lounge (117 E. Mifflin) for an evening of short (1 page, no really, just a page) plays. [Note, this season, there are also FIVE page plays, nicknamed "Hot Pants"] All plays will take place in the lounge amongst you, the audience, and they will happen when you least expect it.
This event is free, and takes place on the last tuesday of every month. If you are interested in acting, writing, directing, or in some way becoming a part of this awesome experience, send us your info, interests, and/or script submissions! Send to: email@example.com See you on the 24th! -Mercury Players Special Events
Produced by Mercury Players Theatre SE at Mercury Lounge 117 E. Mifflin Performances: September 26, 2006 Performance Times: 8pm Ticket Prices: Free
I not only have some stuff in there, but I'm performing as an actor as well. This is actually a series I started, called "Disarming," starring myself and the always-awesome Emily Mills.
It's a cliffhanger series, and, in case you missed the first one, I present to you now, the full script of Disarming, Episode One:
NARRATOR: WELCOME TO THE FIRST EPISODE OF "DISARMING," ALREADY IN PROGRESS...
REEVE sits at the bar, quietly drinking. KIDDER enters, wearing a large overcoat. As she steps up behind him, he draws a gun and points it at her over his shoulder as she holds a hunting knife to his throat. REEVE: Well, hello...I was just thinking about you, Kidder. To what do I owe this dubious pleasure, Baby Snakes?
KIDDER: Um, can we sort of not do this now? I have some serious shit going on, and I, um...I needed some help with it.
REEVE: (putting his gun away) Hey. I'll always be your willing slave. What's up?
Kidder looks around and slowly starts to undo her coat.
REEVE: Oh. This is just like the summer of '02, isn't it? Hold on, I want to give this my full attention.
KIDDER: When I woke up in the middle of the park this morning, I found this...
Kidder opens her coat, revealing that she's strapped with a large, blinking, beeping explosive device.
REEVE: (laughs) Oh, wow. Yeah, this is takin' me back to Fall of '04.
KIDDER: Look, can you do something about this or not? I mean, you build these things, so can you, um--
Reeve looks at her. Chuckles.
KIDDER: Look, can you do something about this or what?
REEVE: (thinks) Okay. I'll take a whack at it.
He picks her up and places her carefully on the bar, then clicks open an icepick he carries on him.
REEVE: So...do we know how much time we have?
KIDDER: When I woke up, I had this watch on me...I think we have about 15 minutes.
REEVE: Awesome. I love pressure. Any idea who did this to you?
KIDDER: I sort of left my boyfriend this week. So, yeah, there's a little bit of blowback going on from that, probably.
And with that, something on the front of the bomb SNAPS OPEN AS LIGHTS ON THE BOMB GO ON, BEEPING TO LIFE. It seems that Reeve may have just made the bomb mad. Long pause.
REEVE : Wait. You have a boyfriend?
KIDDER: Could we not do this right now?!? God, we've only got--
NARRATOR: FOURTEEN MINUTES UNTIL THE BOMB GOES OFF. TO BE CONTINUED...
I just sent out a test email (with a jpeg "cover" for "Knock Knock"), so if you've subscribed (we're up to 43 of this writing!), and you didn't get it, or if you want to sign up before everything gets going in two days, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometime last year (okay, the year before), I wrote a 30-chapter mystery novella called "Knock Knock," that I'm just dying to share.
The thing is, I feel that when you hand someone a huge stack of paper (and a prose one, at that), it becomes this albatross in their house--that thing that they want to read, but will never get to (I'm sorta guilty of this one myself).
My solution? 30 days in April. 30 Chapters. A chapter a day. Cliffhanger-style.
"Knock Knock," incidentally, is about Anthony Phillip Grover, a.k.a. Tony Bompicelli, a.k.a. "Tony The Bomb," former mobster from Claymore, New Jersey, now living in the Witness Protection Program in the pseudo-liberal town of Iver, Wisconsin.
When a sex offender moves into Tony's neighborhood, Tony does not react well to that. Not at ALL. After over a decade of keeping a low profile, Tony's ready to start some major crime again...
If you're interested in joining my email subscription list, just send me an email at email@example.com and let me know.
Again, this will start April 1st, and you'd receive a chapter a day for the whole month. Almost every episode ends with a cliffhanger, too, so this'll be a fun read--if you're familiar with my writing, you'll know that I'm kind of a meat-and-potatoes kind of writer--don't expect boring, pretentious, and flowery prose--and DO expect profanity, violence, and all the other stuff your mother warned you about.
Feel free, during the process, to send critical or encouraging emails--there may be a good chance that the pages I send out will be revised based on comments and such.
And, if all goes well, later this year, you'll see the sequel, tentatively titled "Soccer Moms."
It's being directed by my friend and fellow former Broom Streeter Rick Vorndran, who directed me in my first Broom Street play, and it's going to be performed at Under St. Marks. (94 St. Marks Place, between 1st Ave. and Avenue A.)
Here are the dates and times:
Wednesday, March 7th, 6pm Saturday, March 10th, 8:30pm Tuesday, March 13th, 9pm Friday, March 16, 6pm Saturday, March 17th, 4pm
Let it be said that The Blitz Smackdown was so awesome that I honestly think that every Blitz should be like this. And I know I'm not alone.
Thanks to producers Bonnie Balke and Kirk Stantis for putting it together, Rachel Jenkins for doing a great job directing mine, and a wonderful cast for providing some of the best stage combat EVER. (Kelly Lee Kriesel in the doorway is my favorite moment of the night.)
AUGUSTINA: We can do anything you want, Ben. Okay?
AUGUSTINA: Nothing has to happen.
AUGUSTINA: No pressure.
BEN: No pressure.
AUGUSTINA: We're gonna have fun, Ben.
BEN: I hope so.
900 by Rob Matsushita
At 11:11 pm, the conversation begins. Augustina is a phone sex operator. Ben is a caller.
One game. Two players. They'll either both win...
Or they'll both lose.
900 is a love story in real time--the play ends when the call ends.
AUGUSTINA: When I was a little girl, and I used to go out with my mom shopping, she always used to stop at the used book store and get me one of those digest books, like the Best Of Marvel books. And the first one I got was a Fantastic Four one. She'd shop, and I'd read. I'd just read my Fantastic Four comic book, and I'd feel safe.
BEN: Did you not always feel safe?
AUGUSTINA: Um...we kinda...I hate to do this to you, but...we kinda have to stop talking about me.
BEN: ...I understand.
AUGUSTINA : Is that okay that I said that?
BEN: No, I get it, I, uh, yeah, it's cool. We're cool.
The staged reading of 900 will be at the Mercury Lounge at 117 E Mifflin Street (right next to the Bartell Theater) at 8:00 pm on November 7th (election day!).
Admission is FREE.
900 will be performed by Damon Butler, Kelly Kiorpes, and by director Kathy Lynn Sliter who will be reading stage directions.
Though 900 is just a reading, it contains adult content and is not suitable for younger audiences.
BEN: So the future of the whole human race hinges on girly feelings and unprotected drunk sex?
AUGUSTINA: Oh, like that's a big shocker.
One night only. This performance will be audio recorded.
Oh, and seriously, VOTE. We will ask you if you did.