This past Thursday night was script review/screening night over at Reel Women Students meeting headquarters. It was my understanding that we were lacking a few attendants due to Elizabeth Avellán speaking on campus, which, according to another RWS member, was fantastic. But back to the meeting…
In a nutshell, here’s what you missed: attempted robbery, hanky panky, murder, a missing person, relationship woes, racial issues and a dog dying. This was all in the two scripts we reviewed, of course.
The first script, by Kirsten Frazee, was a feature-length script (we only read a bit of the first part) entitled, “Killer Kate.” It was a stylized, Film Noir-type “erotic thriller.” “There is some profanity, so if any of y’all are offended…,” said Kirsten. “Oh, I’m offended if there’s not,” countered another member. So we all agreed that we were all adults that could handle the material, and we were assigned roles for the read-through.
Aside from One Act Play back in my younger years (i.e. high school), I have never actually participated in a read-through, for sure, never for a film. Despite my hacking cough, brought on by what I assume to be allergies, I had fun playing an old man who owned a convenient store and called other characters, “kid.” (The cough helped me get into character for the old man.)
After we all finished, the floor was opened to give feedback. Kat Candler, our fearless faculty leader, encouraged Kirsten to put some fresh spins on her story. To give her story a good arch, she said Kirsten should know her characters through and through by making pages and pages of character bios. “It’s not about what you do—it’s why you’re doing it,” Carlyn Hudson said, regarding characters’ actions. Finally, Kat told Kirsten to do her homework. “The best writers spend so much time researching,” said Kat.
The second read-through was for a short script by Sarah Gonzalez with the working title, “Saturday Afternoon.” This script was a drama that tackled heavy issues like race and death. My character here was Amy, and I killed a dog. (On accident, I assure you.)
As a group, we talked about what was working in the script and what was confusing. We made some suggestions for tweaking the story a bit and even changing the dog’s name. Kat referenced the simplistic beauty of the script for “The Kids Are All Right” where the characters get in, establish conflict, and get out. She also noted the consistency of the film’s theme. (Note to self: re-watch “The Kids Are All Right.”) Her big challenge for Sarah was to narrow down her focus/conflict and cut out four pages.
Overall, it seemed that both women walked away with some excellent constructive feedback. I walked away coughing, thinking of beloved pets lost, the satisfaction of participating in my first official read-through and an itch to Netflix “The Kids Are All Right.” I’d call the meeting a success…
Next up: Production Design Meeting with special guests and info. on Summer Production Camp, 4/21