The Projects (plural!), OR I Really Just Want to Direct

Coming soon, I’m going to clean up this blog so it’s easier to read.

I know I promised my thoughts on with-it-ness.  I promise, it’s coming.

I think it’s more important that I announce with pride and wonder that I actually have ideas for two projects: one novel, one play.

The novel, a dark comedy, scares me.  The scope of it all.  The need for it to be a good piece of literature.  There’s a lot to process with that.

Because it scares me, I will do it.

The show, well, that feels like an arranged marriage to someone who turns out really sexy when you first lay eyes on him.  The steamy better not fizzle out.

The idea is actually one I’ve been toying with for a year, a show about teachers, from the teacher’s perspective.

The key difference between this and every frickin’ show/film/book about teachers is that it will have more  incredulity than heart.  I tire of what seem to be the only two choices.  The first is teachers as miracle workers.  Think Michele Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds or Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver, or, Howard Hessman in Head of the Class, or,  if you dare, Whoopie Goldberg in Sister Act II.  These all toy with the same equation:

Teacher thrown into tricky situation with disenfranchised/impoverished/cranky students




Engaged learners who never act out again/Award Winning Drama!

 On the other end of the spectrum is the choice of teachers as freak shows…See most of Teachers or Fast Times at Ridgemont High or any John Hughes move.   The equation here:

Eccentric Teacher


 Wise(acre) Students  Who Rebel! and Buck the System!


Award Winning Comedy Gold/High-Fives From Audience Members

Teacher is either problem or solution. 

 Boring and more boring.  Teachers are, in aggregate, not the noble creatures we make them out to be…they are often presented in a holy favorable light, with the kids/administrators/parents/society/Pop Rocks the butt of the joke.  Tread lightly on teachers or every person in America will write a letter gushing about the one good teacher who changed their lives.  Ew and snore.

 Although I love the Teacher’s Union.  Just sayin’.

Knowing we all had those few instrumental a wonderful educators (and hoping I was one of them), I want to use my lens, crafted by eleven long and weird years behind the big desk, to strip the heroics away as we follow six teachers from idealism to struggle to coping to…for a few…burnout.  Yes, there will be “life changing” Hallmark moments, but not many.  Too much heart ruins both the funny and the reality.

 Yes, kids and parents and administrators are still gonna be butts of some jokes, but I wanna make it a butt party.  After all, schools are society’s biggest Petri dishes, the only institution in this country expected to serve each and every one of its citizens, usually with some sort of cookie cutter curriculum (some schools even give the teachers scripts to use in the classroom.  Ask me about that sometime)

The ideas for the show are all there.  I have in mind 15 scenes (I wouldn’t use all), and about three or four songs so far. 

 It’s flowing.  It’s wonderful.

 I also am itching to direct again.

 I can direct…I’ve directed 12 shows for teenagers and two for adults.  I actually enjoy the weird merge of left and right brain.  I’m organized.  I don’t mind being “all director-y” (something a director of one show I did has eschewed to rather uncomfortable results)

 I’ve talked with Huzzy about this.  Not only is he on board, but he will produce. He’s a marketing whiz, thank goodness.  I certainly know enough teachers who might be tickled by something like this. We’ve decided we will actually pay – PAY – a music director/composer.  A good stipend.  I’m way beyond the age where I ask friends to help me move in exchange for beer and pizza, so that thinking should extend to my music director/composer.  If I do this in a theater where I could and do make profit, I will certainly pay the actors a stipend.

 Worries arise (natch) – would I find a composer/music director?  Would people audition?  Would people come?  Which theater should I use?  Am I doing this to postpone the novel or am I doing this because my heart and soul are singing that it should be done. (It’s the latter, by the way…that one I’ve worked out.) Of course these worries come before I’ve written a script. 

Will it be good? 

 I need to stop worrying and learn to love the Bomb that may or may not be my show. 

 I will be posting my progress on the show (and/or the novel) weekly.  The other post will be my usual lunacy.  Hopefully with more pictures.  Especially because I want to make this coffee cake  and show you all how it comes out. 

(7/18 Ideas for show removed due to suggestion from my business paterner and from an Intellectual Property Expert)

I am grateful.