Here’s what’s going on with Scott.
4th Place in the IFW Funny Family Personal Essay Contest
I entered this contest sponsored by the Institute for Writers mostly on a whim. I had a story that I enjoyed, but I wasn’t overly interested in crafting it into a proper essay. Still there were decent cash prizes for 1st through 4th place, so I made the effort. You can read the essay I submitted here. (You’ll just need to scroll down a bit.)
I’ve always been a big fan of “old-time radio”: The Jack Benny Show, Dragnet, Suspense, Tales of the Texas Rangers — any show that is well-written and well-acted. The beauty of those shows is that you can enjoy them in the car, on your bike, in the dark — you can see the story unfold in your mind; you don’t need your eyes to enjoy them. In many ways, the podcasts of today are just a modern version of the golden age of radio. There are just more stations now with a much farther reach.
I’m currently working on a season’s worth of scripts for a serialize comedic podcast which follows two middle-aged friends and coworkers who work as content developers for a small fictional video-streaming service. As part of their jobs, they are subjected to terrible pitches for terrible shows. Often, these shows or, rather, parts of them are presented to the listener in their less-than-full glory.
I’m hoping this podcast can hit the Internet waves in 2023.
Treading Water is a full-length play that started as a 10-minute play written for the 24-Hour Plays at Writer’s & Books in 2016. I liked the characters so much that I spent time over the next few years expanding the play to what it is now. Here’s the synopsis:
Bobby is having a particularly bad day. After seemingly being transformed into a shark, he’s chased out of his apartment by one his anxieties, and unable to return due to another. After turning to the NY subway for refuge, he persuades his therapist, Lynn, to join him aboard the A train at 3:30 AM. After being joined by another odd pair of late-night travelers, the four of them are forced to deal with a malfunctioning train, each other, and the threat of mole people while coming to terms with their pasts and their futures.
Treading Water was set to be produced by Green Buffalo Productions in the summer of 2020, but Covid threw a wrench in that. It was set to be produced in the summer of 2021, but Covid threw a wrench in that as well. It was set to be produced in the summer of 2022, but the production company simply ceased to exist. Though the play seems to be doomed, I’m leaving it hear in the Future Stuff category because I’m still hopeful it will get staged.
I enjoy writing ten-minute (and shorter) plays. You’re forced to introduce your characters, create your conflict, and resolve it in a very short time. That means every line has to have a purpose. There’s no room for any superfluous dialogue.
Last fall I was asked to write a short play for the Geriactors, a local acting troupe, for their upcoming performance schedule. I wrote a few pieces, including Sparked which is about a man who is afraid his wife has cast him aside because he no longer sparks joy in her. If all goes as planned, it will be seen by audiences this fall.
Rochester Spoken Word/Speak Easy
Rochester Spoken Word is the organization I founded with Evvy Fanning at the end of 2016 to give local writers an opportunity to have their work heard before a live audience. Speak Easy is the monthly event we held at Cheshire, Evvy’s 1920s-themed cocktail bar, to accomplish this. I managed those events, curated them, promoted them, MC’d them… basically handled most every aspect that was on the customer side of the bar. During COVID, we’ve started live streaming Speak Easy as well as offering it for on-demand viewing. That led to the need to learn streaming and video-editing software, as well as video and audio equipment, thus increasing the monthly time commitment. It was my labor of love.
During Speak Easy’s five-and-a-half-year run, we had over 350 performances on our stage with over 150 of them being by unique readers. If it wasn’t for Covid causing the cancellation of over a year’s worth of shows, that number would be much higher.
Our last show was in June 2022, after which I moved out to New Mexico. (You can read about that here.) With my relocation came the end of Rochester Spoken Word. Perhaps I will resurrect it as Albuquerque Spoken Word in the future.
Listen To Your Mother Rochester
Ann Imig founded Listen To Your Mother with a show at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin, on Mother’s Day 2010. The show consisted of 12 local writers telling their personal stories of mothers, motherhood, and all things Mom. I guess the show was a success, because she licensed the idea soon after, and now there are LTYM shows annually in cities throughout North America. Since 2015, Rochester, New York, has been one of those cities.
I’m happy to say I was selected to be part of the Rochester cast for 2022 and read my story about sex ed in the Seifritz house on the Hochstein School Performance Hall stage on May 7. You can read about my LTYM experience here or watch my performance here.
The Best of Rochester Spoken Word Short Story Contest 2020
Just as Covid was taking a foothold in the US, Rochester Spoken Word was collecting submissions for our first-ever short-story contest. We got through the judging process, picked winners, sent our prizes, and then pretty much shut down. Eventually, I gathered up the eight stories we felt were worthy of publication, edited them for format (with the blessing of the authors), and published them as The Best of Rochester Spoken Word Short Story Contest 2020. This entailed working on the layout, designing the cover, writing the preface and cover blurb, and a myriad of other things that goes with self-publishing a book. In the end, everyone was happy with the final product.
Mountains Can Move
Before Covid, I taught a few courses at Writers & Books. One of those was a dialogue-writing course. During one class, a student shared part of a story he was working on. I gave him some pointers and assisted with some minor editing. He eventually asked if he could enlist my services to edit his entire novel. We agreed on a price and I dove in offering everything from simple line editing to plot and flow suggestions. It was a great experience for both if us, and in the end he published his first novel, Mountains Can Move. I’m proud to have been a part of it.