Monday, July 30, 2007

Robots and Dinosaurs in Wisconsin

I spent the weekend in a small town in Wisconsin outside of Madison with a core group from the Thursday evenings RoboWriters. Pictured above are Joe Linstroth, Nat Topping, Chris Othic and Geoff Crump. Brian Crowley and Greg Wendling were unable to make it.

You might be thinking, "Hey, Joe, that's a lot of sausage for a writer's group." Well, you're right, although it's not as much sausage as you think because we tend to exaggerate the amount. I put this group together by inviting people I knew would be up to the challenge of generating a lot of high quality material on a weekly basis and are available on Thursday nights. There were women invited, unfortunately, Thursday's did not work for them. We are conscientious of it, though, and are writing roles for women and will be relying on the input of the actresses we cast for our show.

The weekend getaway, courtesy of Joe Linstroth's friend Sue Mullen, gave us an opportunity to take a step back from two and a half month's worth of material and see what we have. This is the first time I ever sat down with a group of writers and look for themes and connections in our pieces. If something like that is ever done in a sketch revue, it's usually done after the bulk of the material is selected purely based on how it stands on its own. We took a look at what possible shows could emerge from our big pile of primordial sketch ooze and will start to write and develop for those areas.

Some of the major themes we noticed in our work are:

- Death and dying (lots of death and dying!)
- History and period pieces
- Storytelling
- fruit

Yep. Fruit. For some reason beyond our comprehension, almost everyone had a scene where fruit figured into it. I have no idea what to do with that piece of information.

We have to bring Brian and Greg up to speed on what we did over the weekend, which may affect the list above. Then we'll start working toward putting together our material for a staged reading in the fall.


On Friday, I asked...

"In Florida, an already convicted convict was additionally arrested for doing what while alone in his cell?"

25% of you answered "Threatening to punch the president" and "Trying to join Al-Qaeda" Neither answer is correct, but frighteningly in the realm of possibility.

Nobody answered "flirting with a male guard." Everyone knows convicts and guards don't play such coy games as flirting. "So, is that a nightstick in your pock---ow, my skull!"

50% of you nailed it with, quite simply, "Masturbating." According to The Associated Press, a jury took 45 minutes to return a guilty verdict for indecent exposure brought against Terry Alexander for masturbating while alone in his cell. He was turned in by a female guard watching his cell on a monitor. Alexander is already doing ten years in jail for armed robbery.

Folks, if masturbation is a crime, I'm public enemy number one. My picture should be up in post offices all across this land (I'd do it myself, but I only have one free hand.). My heart goes out to this guy. If I were facing ten years in prison, I'd essentially be doing two things in my cell; masturbating and thinking about masturbating. The only sane thing to come out of this is that his sentence of sixty days runs concurrently with his other sentence, so no extra time to be served. But just so he doesn't become a repeat offender, I recommend he be more discreet. Hopefully, with this and the armed robbery charge, he'll learn to keep his weapon concealed.