Sunday, March 13, 2005

Reflections on R & J

R & J Homepage. 

Imagine my surprise.  There it was.  The webpage that one of my students created to advertise North Canton's 1998 production of Romeo and Juliet.

You can still locate it on the net.

No kidding.  Hoover High School still has the script, my director's notes and lesson plans, the logo art, and the theme music ... all on their drama club website. 

Talk about a flashback.  That was a great show. 

A great time.

Fun.

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Teachers are lucky.  Their job lets them retain memorable experiences that interface directly with powerful emotions. 

The gratitude of my former students is a currency made of gold.  I value it greatly.

As I reflect on where I am headed in the world of entertainment, I find direction from the past. 

In 1994 when I arrived in North Canton, I decided to focus on advising the yearbook staff I had inherited.  I needed a break from directing.  Two years of intense work as Director of Drama at Steubenville Big Red down on the Ohio River had left me exhausted and ready for a break.

My break from directing in North Canton lasted about two years.  Once I started my graduate work in theatre, John Hayward (the choir and drama director at Hoover) asked me if I'd be interested in directing a show. 

Soon I was doing both yearbook AND the drama program.  Smart, huh?  Leave one directing position, merely to take on an even greater degree of hard work and responsibility.  Makes me wonder what's coming up next.

Oddly enough, I've been reflecting a lot on the two years of work I spent in Steubenville.  They were my formative years.  My memories from that inner-city world shape my vision for the television drama that is playing against the screen of my mind right now.  Constantly.

Hopefully, the screenplay Steven and I are writing right now will demonstrate our writing chops to potential producers.

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Teaching is a vocation.  For most directors, I think.  It doesn't matter whether I produce a show, write a screenplay, or direct a film ... I'm always going to be using those skills.

Perhaps it's because of my experience as a teacher that my next project seems to make so much sense:  a television series that lets you see life through the eyes of a beginning teacher ... a rough-shod idealist who transforms into a masterful teacher ... who motivates and transforms young people. 

Dead Poets Society meets The West Wing.

It's not really a choice ... I'm going to create this show.  Since the idea coalesced several weeks ago, I've not been able to think of much else in my spare time.  Going to the Sierra Nevada mountains this past week only gave me more free time to think about it. 

Serendipitously, my immediate supervisor actually suggested mid-conversation that I create a show about teachers ... and she didn't seem too surprised to find out that the idea was already on the front burner of my mind.

And then the first draft of the season's bible just sort of spilled out of me after I came home.  I couldn't help it. 

                                         *     *     *

I often wonder how long it will take to come up with an idea that I believe in enough to sell and produce.  

The birth of this series idea feels right now like one of those moments from the past ... when the idea emerged from nowhere.  People believed me when I told them my dream would happen ... somehow the words came to me to convince them ... somehow my words turned into reality. 

Don't ask me how the process works:  as Geoffrey Rush's character says in Shakespeare in Love, "It's a mystery!"

At least things worked that way in the past.  We'll see if it still works that way.

1 comment:

theresarrt7 said...

Very sweet tribute to your profession.