Monday, May 3, 2010

It's the Great Depression, Charlie Brown!

I've never had the chance to write someone else's characters before. I'm pretty sure if you dig around on my computer (or one of my older, stuck-in-the-barn computers) you could find some fan fiction that centers around the life and times of Han Solo, but I cannot confirm or deny that. This was a true first.

Andrew Strong e-mailed me and asked me to help him out with some plays he was writing for camp. He had completed two and a half and due to a long and drawn out story that's not mine to tell, he was looking for help completing the other two and a half. His plays focused on two characters, two time travelers called The Professor and HG. Each night, campers will sit down and watch these two characters bumble their way through time, searching for a treasure, and learning a great deal more than they actually find. The scripts are that fun mix of comedy and drama that all good camp skits are and with having worked at camp for four summers, how could I say no?

It's interesting, working with and within someone else's framework. Andrew gave me all the freedom in the world. I really could write anything. There were a few guidelines, a few do's and don't's, but most of those barely needed to be mentioned. With a few encouraging words, he unleashed me.

He wanted 20 pages and I gave him 18. I'm still waiting to see what he thinks of them. He wanted the play to be about how we have to choose to be happy in order to be happy and so I thought what better juxtaposition of this idea than The Great Depression? I had to make sure the characters still sounded like, and acted like, the characters he had created, which wasn't too hard -- I don't think. The Professor is a Doc Brown sort of guy, all ideas and flailing about, and HG is a no-nonsense smart-ass in the mold of Juno. Both characters were a lot of fun to write -- though, admittedly, my Professor might have strayed from Doc Brown and into the Tenth Doctor a bit, but . . . weeeellllll . . . that's still good territory, I'd say.

I enjoyed the experience and would look forward to doing it again. I've always said I've love to be a part of a writers' room -- I've just always imagined it being on a show I created. The idea of joining a writer's room is both intriguing and intimating.

But I'd be up for it.

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