Think Dancing with the Stars…with no dancing (and better writing and acting)
In Spring of 2013, I participated as a Writer Contestant in Project Publish – the first (and, so far, the only) season of a reality show for writers and actors produced by Kimberly Kozar Lescelius on BATV – the public access station of Batavia, Illinois. It grew out of a poem written and performed by Richard Graves at the previous year’s Art in Your Eye festival, which wondered why singers, dancers and survivalists should have all the fun.
After two audition sessions at local libraries, seven writers and seven actors were chosen, including yours truly. Richard served as both host and writing mentor for the program his poem had brought to life.
Each week, on a live Sunday afternoon broadcast, writers were randomly paired with actors, a themed writing prompt was given, and writers had three days to do their magic. We then got together on Wednesday night for a working session and filming of B-roll (the fun behind-the-scenes footage where you meet the “real” participants), ran through the piece with our actor, took it home to make minor tweaks and send it off to Writing Judge Don Bingle by midnight.
The actor then had his or her own three days to turn the written word into a dazzling performance, which was presented on the live Sunday afternoon show. And, as in the big time reality shows, every week one writer and one actor (though not necessarily that week’s team) were sent packing. The remaining names went back in the hat, teams were re-paired, and the fun started all over.
When it was all said and done, I walked away with a bronze medal (well, metaphorically… actually I got a t-shirt). But I also came away with new friends, great memories, and a desire to continue to broaden my writing horizons. Since that experience, I’ve delved into many other creative writing arenas, including this blog. Thanks, Project Publish, for not only being my starting block, but for giving me a big shove into the pool.
So here, for your viewing pleasure, are all seven episodes of Project Publish. And while you probably will not confuse it with a big-budget network show, I think it is a very respectable effort of which everyone involved should be proud. Just remember, for my sake, that the camera adds 100 pounds. (It used to 10 pounds, but inflation, you know.)