Monday, June 3, 2019

Photo of the Week

Ex: You act like there was never anything between us. How can you do that?!
Me: It's not as hard as you think. 
Ex: So now you're gonna dog me?
Me: Nah, dogs are loyal.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Donald J. Tramp on Russia

Today I asked the president whether not not he colluded with Russia. Just like all of our encounters, this one too got no where.

Did he collude with Russia?

I am just as confused as you are.

To book go to www.AprilBrucker.TV

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Writing Hard

I am working on turning my book, I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl, into a pilot. At first I didn't want to. Part of it was cowardice, and part of it was I have been burned by the promise of so much more with my writing for so long.

However, as I started writing my pilot, I don't want to stop. Each time I step away from the computer I feel sad I have to go. I have broken plans with people so I could WRITE. Does that make me a write-a-holic? Is there is a 12 Step Program for me?

The last time I wrote like this I was 25 years old. I announced I was writing a book. My roommate at the time thought I was crazy. She was right. I was. One of my best friends at the time was a very flamboyant gay drug dealer. (RIP Chacho). I announced my plans and she was like, "Okay. You do that." In between her crying about some dude that didn't want her back and me lusting after my normal losers my book was filed in the way back of her mind.

It was hot the summer I wrote my book. So hot I kept my underwear in the freezer. She opened up the freezer to get ice cream and there were my pink satin panties. Let's just say things got interesting. Relax fellas, no lesbian porn.

I wrote everywhere. On the train. In the house. I had no idea what would happen next, but I finished my first draft by the end of the summer.

She moved out and moved on. I published I Came, I Saw, I Sang. Things happened and then they didn't.

Years later, as I write the pilot version, Broadway Singing Telegrams, I am writing just as furiously as I did when I was 25 years old. I write on the train. I carry around a notepad. When an inspiration comes to me it's as if heaven has opened and something miraculous has happened. I never thought I would live to write this, but I enjoy revision.

I had my first reading last week. It was nerve wracking to get it organized. It was exciting to hear my words read for the first time. It was endearing to see how my friends loved and supported me.

I am glad I am writing the pilot because this is my voice. For so long I let others try to tell my story, that's why it felt flat. This is the most authentic my writing has ever been. It's me, honest and bare on the paper about the life and world close to me.

I have no idea what will happen next. The wheels of fate might swing for or against me. I live with two straight dudes.

For better or for worse, there is no underwear in the freezer.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Putting It Out There

I have always written. My words are part of my wheelhouse. Heck, my verbal part of the SAT was near perfect. Math.......we won't talk about that. God invented the calculator and Satan is always making me use my fingers and toes.

As a kid, I loved being onstage. In real time I am extroverted and friendly, but there is a part of me that loves being in a library being lost in the stacks where I don't have to talk to anyone. I am a secret misanthrope. People piss me off and when I am hangry, I have no biased bone in my body. I hate everyone.

While I loved performing as a kid, part of me wanted to write the next great American novel. Fuck you Faulkner. So over you Flannery O'Conner. Here I am bitches and bastards!

It would have been an opus of coming of age tragedy. There would be a love story of a boy from the wrong side of the tracks and the good girl with the double life who does something messed up to get ahead. One of them would have to die. Maybe a boating accident. I would propose cancer but that is so overdone. Eh, that cocktail is curing people. A murder......but then it's a mystery. Okay, I'm back to my outline.

What I am trying to say is, as a writer, you always want to write a book that can live for generations, and you want to write for writers. So yeah, I loved Moby Dick. I am the dick who loved the cetology of the whale. First week of grad school Pervical Everett called Moby Dick his cheesecake.


 However, as you read this blog you know I am not writing the great American novel anytime soon. I am just an awkward lonely woman waxing philosophical in her room. No danger of being great here.

If you have been following me (all three of you) you know that prior to grad school I considered myself a novelist and an essayist.  Sure, I acted and performed my own stand up and one woman shows. Although I read and acted in plays I could never translate my writing into that format. The more prose I wrote the less of a playwright I became. I tried to adapt my book into a musical and this composer looked at me like I got off of not just a spaceship, but a short spaceship. I wrote a screenplay based on my book, it was cute but it was too long. Part of grad school was that I wanted to network as a prose writer and get screenwriters to adapt my shiznit.

But I decided to bite the bullet and stop being such a wimp and genre jumped to screenwriting. I am having fun but am finding a surprising wheelhouse in screenwriting as I said in a previous blog. As I say to the point of my 3 readers wanting to shoot themselves, grad school has made me less of a wimp when it comes to revision. The talent ain't in the writing. It's in the rewriting. And the rewriting.And more rewriting. Writing is rewriting.

Whenever I hear a writer say they don't like revising, I want to tell them they are evil and stupid. Words had to die for their cowardice. Your work becomes like your baby. Why do you think Salinger never sold the rights to Catcher in the Rye?

As  Percival Everett says, "No novel is ever finished. It's only abandoned."

The hardest part of being a writer is abandoning your baby.

It means not crying when you press send.

 It means getting difficult feedback.

It means taking the note behind the note without following it with,"Get fucked."

If you are a playwright or screenwriter, it means not fighting with your manager when you overwrite. It means not crying when you tell them you are only protecting your work against an incompetent or power hungry (male) director who will destroy every precious word you wrote.

 It means trusting someone else to direct your vision and trusting that this person will respect your time and energy while secretly praying they don't destroy your script.

It means having your actor friends read your work out loud and being open to what they say.

It means being excited about having your actor friends read your work.

It means being excited about having your work directed and staged.

Yeah, I'm putting my work out there. Just as part of me wants to write the great American novel, I also want to write material actors will have fun performing and look forward to getting. As an actor, there have been so many times I have gotten scripts that have given me nothing and I felt less than excited. I want actors to get my pages and be excited, not just because of their words but because of what their imaginations can bring.

I want directors to be excited to make my stuff come to life. Sure, I have a death grip on my "precious words," but just as my work means a lot to me I know it will mean just as much to the people making it come alive.

As Emmy Award winning screenwriter Jane Anderson said, "Collaboration is a gift."

With that being said, I look forward to sharing my pages with the world. And thank you to all my friends pushing me to have my work read. You are the reason I spew my crazy thoughts on paper........much love.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Screenwriting, Etc.

I haven't blogged in a while because I have been learning how to be a screenwriter.

My MFA program's screenwriting/new media headquarters are in Santa Barbara. I still remember speaking to my now mentor who has been a working writer and teacher in Hollywood for many years. An NYU alumni like myself, she originally aspired to be a song writer. I said to her, "So luck and destiny had other plans and you became a screenwriter."

Mind you I am all about astrology. She says, "No. It wasn't luck. I had to work hard."

She wasn't lying. Screenwriting is HARD WORK that lit isn't. You have to read screenplays, outline them, watch the film. Most of the time the draft is different than the screenplay itself. A novel is eventually finished and put on a shelf. A screenplay, they are still rewriting and cutting as they are shooting. 

At first I resented all the work that came from outlining screenplays. Now I love it. Is there a special place in hell for someone like myself? Yes. The truth is though, a good screenplay reads like a novel. You can't put it down. I would have never guessed. 

When I entered grad school there were people who told me I didn't need to go. I was already a writer. However, what they didn't know was when it came to revision I was a complete coward. Grad school has cured me of that. Screenwriting especially.

I am currently drafting a pilot based on my book, I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of  a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl. For years people approached me about possibilities. Some were well intended but out of their wheelhouse. Others were big dreamers who were all talk. Then there were the scammers. Each let down broke my heart.

I tried to draft screenplays and pilots, each being mediocre because I was a novelist and not a screenwriter. Most novelist are horrific screenwriters. MGM and the other studios would experience the flight of best selling novelists from back East who would hand in screenplays with too much exposition and dialogue. Studio heads would throw their hands in the air. I was aware of my limits. If paired with a real screenwriter I would give them the reigns. This was not my wheelhouse.

However, as I said I am learning how to do it. The pilot I have written is shaping up. One, I have stopped being a coward when it comes to revision. Two, I know that I am the only one who can truly tell the story about my world. I am the one to write this piece. Me and only me. 

Studying screenwriting has made me a better actor and comedian. So much of my twenties were spent doing comedy and ventriloquism that I really didn't "act." I was too young to play the character roles I was good for and plus, I just liked creating my own work. Screenwriting teaches you that each word counts, which has made my joke writing better. Each character has a quirk for a reason,which has made my character development better. Each word matters, which has made me a better actor because just as that writer wrote that word for a reason, I know my character says it for a reason. Screenwriting has made me love collaboration as both a writer and an actor, because I no longer see it as a curse but as a gift to be a part of something greater than myself. It makes me appreciate being a writer and a performer, but appreciate other writers and performers as well, because without this most holy combination my work wouldn't exist.

I will say I am still not a great screenwriter. There is a lot of work to be done. The future of this pilot is uncertain just as the future of anything that's "brilliant" in ones mind. But grad school has opened a door that was always there that I was just too afraid to push. I think I might have found an accidental wheelhouse in screenwriting and I'm okay with that. 

The last thing I will say is this. As I write, I have learned when a scene or piece of dialogue doesn't move a story along, no matter how smashing or witty, it must go. I know somewhere Judd Apatow, Alfred and Alma Hitchcock, and many others have cried the same tears. Yet these are also tears of happiness. With each draft, and each revision, I am closer and closer to where I need to be.......getting my work out into the world. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Towel Juggling

This past week I was on ABC's Videos After Dark. A TV appearance is always a mix of fun and stressful. Growing up I remember Bob Saget was always Danny Tanner. He introduced my video and didn't even tell me to go to my room!!!! Bonus, he didn't pay my way into grad school either. #Winning

Did I mention life is good.


Is that my dad? NOOO!!!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Open Letter To Covington High

Dear Mr. Rowe,

I grew up in the church. Both of my parents went to Catholic school, my dad until 9th grade and my mom all the way through grade 12. My cousin is Bishop William Winter of Pittsburgh, and my cousin married not only my parents, but all of my aunts and uncles, and at the age of 90 made a special appearance at my sister’s wedding on the alter. The priest who married my sister played high school football with my brother, and his parents, who are active in many Catholic causes, live next door to my parents in my hometown. My grandparents attended church two times a week and said the rosary daily until they passed away. Not only did I grow up respecting God and the church, but being Catholic was and still is very much a part of my fabric.
When I saw Mr. Nick Sandmann taunt Nathan Phillips I was horrified not only as a person, but as a Catholic. Nick Sandmann does not represent the Catholic Church I knew growing up. The church I grew up in prayed for the family of the fallen  Yitzhak Rabin, because despite having a different faith than us he still fought for peace in a war torn region. We prayed for the family of Matthew Shepherd, because the way he was murdered was ghastly, inhumane, and a hate crime. We also adopted a refugee family from Croatia, as the former Yugoslavia was at the time a battleground and many were dying. In taking in this family we did advocate "building a wall." In fact, our church was doing the opposite. 
 We were taught Catholic meant universal, and that the gift of being Catholic was you could go into a church anywhere and see Catholics of all shapes, sizes, and colors and have something in common. Ethnicity and color were no factor, and we were taught that it was acceptable for churches overseas to have Jesus's that were non-white, but also welcome. My elders in the Catholic Church emphasized treating all people with dignity regardless of whether they were like me or not. It was the Golden Rule, do onto others as they would do on to you. Both my grandfathers were not only good Catholics, but veterans who served their country in World War II in the South Pacific. I was taught to respect not only my elders, but all veterans as they sacrificed for our country. 
Sadly it appears this is not a part of the curriculum at Covington.  
Our priest did teach us about evil though. He sad it was afraid, egotistical, stupid and ultimately pathetic. The young man who got into the face of Nathan Phillips was all these things and so much more. I will not say his name as he does not deserve to be acknowledged let alone remembered, as his actions were the low road and Mr. Phillips took the high road in the face of true evil and hate. Actually, this tale reads like a Jesus parable. Ironically these kids were part of The March For Life effort, but these kids don't respect life at all, period. 
I am the oldest female cousin of 26 cousins and have worked as a teaching artist. When I see terrible behavior from young people, it doesn't speak so much about them but the adults that act as both parents and teachers. I shudder to think what the parents of these young men are like, and I think it's disgusting their chaperones did nothing to stop their vile behavior but instead stood back and did nothing. What turns my stomach most is these young men chanted "Build a wall" and blamed the start of the conflict on a group of black kids. Not only are these kids being taught intolerance, but part of being an adult is taking responsibility for ones own actions. They aren't being taught that either. Apparently the only value they are being taught at Covington is hate. 
While I could call your less than stellar scholar any set of names, it would do us no good. This young man is on a path that leads to no where positive. As Ghandi once said, "An eye for an eye leaves the world blind," and this kid is currently walking in a darkness that is only going to ultimately drag him down. My prayer is he will see the light and learn the error of his ways, as Saul did when he became Paul when God blinded him. They talk about these conversions and miracles in The Bible. You should read it. It's actually a good book when you don't pervert it to your own agenda that includes being a racist hate monger. 
Then again, you don’t seem to be big on reading at Covington. Because if you were, you would know that the white man was the invader and technically, if anyone should have a grievance about building a wall it should have been the indigenous peoples to keep our rape, slavery, and smallpox out. And you would also know the Catholic Church was the biggest presence in colonization, erasure of Native peoples, and the slave trade. But hey, why tell the truth? And why change? 
Just some food for thought.
April Brucker