New Works Festival - Mike Murdock Speaks!
OK, yesterday we heard from New Works Festival director Jack Cirillo. Now let's turn the podium over to Mike Murdock, whose screenplay Serious Business is being presented Friday night as part of the three-night event. Here are his answers to our email questions:
Q: Give us a quick recap of your work that's being presented.
A: I'm having a full-length feature film screenplay read. It's a comedy about a group of friends and filmmakers trying to make a movie against the odds, and all the terrible things that happen to them along the way. There are dirty words, midgets, gangsters, gunplay, comedy, tragedy and more comedy. It's a heapin' helpin' of entertainment.
Q: How does a festival like this benefit you as a writer?
A: It's great for me because not only do I get to hear voices lent to each character in the movie, but each reading will have a talk-back session afterward where the audience can talk about what they liked and what they didn't like. It's super to have a room full of people let you know what did work and what didn't. The process itself was great, too, because hearing people work with the text allowed me to polish it quite a bit and add or take away bits and pieces to make things better.
Q: What does it mean for you to present this through MU's Dept. of Theatre?
A: Honestly, it really means a lot. I've gone to several schools, but Marshall is my hometown venue, and where I graduated, so it holds a special place in my heart. They treated me well there and are continuing to even after I've gone to make my way in the world. It makes me think they're as proud of me as I am of being a Marshall graduate. At the end of the day, I would've loved to have been able to make this movie in Huntington. I guess we'll see how the response is on Friday, and we'll go from there.
Q: Why would you say to the person reading this to convince them to see this performance?
A: It's funny. It's belly-laugh-out-loud funny. And it's only a READING. Can you imagine if you actually saw it on screen? And I don't want to sound like I'm tooting my own horn, here, but even the actors still giggle and laugh through the readings, so something must be right about it. This is a great chance to see something read that 99 percent of the people in this area will never get. How often does a screenplay come to town? Especially from a hometown boy who has spent the last three years in Hollywood? I honestly believe that anyone that comes to see this will, on some level, enjoy it, or, at the very least, learn something about the process of writing. It's been a great month setting this up, and I would love to see big crowds on all three nights of the festival. Everybody has worked really hard to present something special each night, and it shouldn't be missed.
Tomorrow: we'll hear from writer / actor / radio personality / teen heartthrob Clint McElroy.