Prep for this actually started Friday where I had to go through each script and highlight each actor’s role. I pretty well memorized the script by the time I finished, that’s for sure. It took a couple of hours and, of course, I found a few typos while going through it like that which made me want to bang my head against the table. Got it done, though, and with minimal denting of tabletops. ;o)
So the emotion of the day after waking up Saturday was “nervous.” Which logically didn’t make sense because this wasn’t for any big producer or director, or even an agent; it was just for me… Only not really, because this was also to see what it might be like to have real actors read my work and, more importantly, find out what they thought about it after. And there’s the rub. Total and complete strangers would be judging my work from the standpoint of the all important actor’s pov. Let’s face it. I can write scripts until my fingers fall off, but if they aren’t roles that actors want to play, I’ll never see them made.
The morning was spent obsessively not thinking about anything (let alone the table read) by playing facebook games. And the rain didn’t make me feel any better, let me just say. My good friend Cynthia picked me up, we swung by Target to buy snacks and water, and had lunch before driving over to The Writers Store in Burbank, CA. I’d been there before, but didn’t realize that it had a room in the back that they used for things like this, I’d only seen their front store with the books and such.
Dan from the Scriptwriters Network was already there and we chatted while setting up. He’s the very cool guy who organized it all. :o) Then the actors started trickling in. And friends. And a couple random people I didn’t know. We started late, but not too badly.
It was…bizarre and gratifying to see these people all acting out my words. I was very happy to see a few of them giggle in the right places and I actually got an “ew” out of one of the guys at one point, which was so awesome. The narrator did an outstanding job. She definitely had the biggest part with all the description of the alien world and scifi imagined tech. All the actors were just lovely and I appreciate their hard work. They didn’t even stop at the 60pg mark, which was the agreed-upon spot if anyone needed a breather or bathroom break, they just kept going!
Of course, halfway through, all I could think was, “Wait, did I actually hit record??” on the camcorder. I kept wanting to get up and make sure that I did, but didn’t because I didn’t want to disrupt everyone. Thankfully, I had hit record so I’ll have a link to a clip from the reading at the end of this.
And then we finished! The whole reading took 1:36 which is a really decent length for a movie; not too long, not too short. There was even applause! I was clapping for the actors, of course, but it seemed they were actually clapping for me, too! lol! Talk about a weird feeling. I had nightmare visions of “Kill the Writer!” a la the middle ages or something when all was said and done.
So then there was the feedback session, which was really cool and very informative. A lot of the things I’d tried to achieve, I had! And, too, the two bits that I’d felt were kind of weak they picked up on and mentioned, which was gratifying in a different way. It validates my instincts as a writer, if that makes sense. And there were a couple of suggestions from the audience that I hadn’t thought of, either, which was helpful.
And there we have it! My first table read was definitely a success! I want to officially thank all the actors, the narrator, the Scriptwriters Network and Dan in particular, for making yesterday such a great experience!
Link to Sunlight clip, as promised. I didn’t clip a lot (don’t want to spoil the movie!) but did put up enough that all the actors were shown plus a little of the feedback session at the end.