A Package from IPFF HQ

Friday December 19, 2014

Mail is fun. Not so much bills, but real mail. Like, "hey, here's a big brown envelope with my name hand-printed on it" mail.

It's even more fun when inside said envelope are mementos from the International Pancake Film Festival. While, sadly, I could not travel to attend the premiere of "The Shrove Tuesday Speech" in Massachusetts last month, festival organizers made sure a little of the silliness came to me:

Inside the envelope.

Pancake event patch. I shall find a place of honour for it.

IPFF crazy pancake filmmaker sticker.

The program.

Putting the "International" in IPFF!
If you happen to be in Chicago next week, there's a repeat performance of the International Pancake Film Festival taking place this Monday December 22 at FLAT Gallery. There will also be Æbleskivers, which are apparently Danish pancake balls, which I didn't know were a thing, but now that I do know, I have added "eat an Æbleskiver" to my lifetime to-do list. If you're available to eat one in Chicago on Monday, please send me all the details

Monday's Event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/372782739543462/

The IPFF on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/internationalpancakefilmfest

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"The Shrove Tuesday Speech" at the International Pancake Film Festival

Tuesday Nov 04, 2014

Oh, you read that right. The International Pancake Film Festival.

I've written several times about my love of puppets, and have mentioned my love of lazy mornings. Those lazy mornings usually involve Steve making us crepes or cinnamon buns or yes, very large stacks of pancakes. So when I learned that not only was there was an annual film festival in Massachusetts that was dedicated to all things pancake but that this year, said film festival was particularly seeking animation or puppetry films, well... things happened.

Meet the star of "The Shrove Tuesday Speech", a simple Shakespeare-inspired video which will premiere at the 6th annual International Pancake Film Festival screening on Thursday November 13, 2014 at the The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Unfortunately I don't have the travel budget to pop over to Cambridge, and thus will have to miss my own film festival debut. But if you're in the area you should definitely go check out the screenings, because if you read the poster carefully, you'll see that your ticket includes free pancakes.

Free pancakes!

I think the Toronto International Film Festival has a lot to learn from these people.

P.S. Eventually, I will put the video on my humble YouTube channel for all to see, but I'll let its festival run play out first.

The True Payoff of 24 Hour Playwriting Contests

Sunday October 05, 2014

This weekend I took part in Pat the Dog Theatre Creation's annual 24-Hour Playwriting Contest. At 4 pm on Friday Pat the Dog sent out three prompt words that had to be included in the script and the 30 of us who pre-registered had 24 hours to write and submit a new play. This year's words were tattoo, dig, and butter.

I've read interviews with playwrights who enter these contests with a pretty solidly formed idea of what they're going to write about and then find a way to work the words in. I always do the exact opposite, not giving any thought to my play until the moment those words hit my inbox. On the one hand, that means I always end up with a fairly short one-act, but it also means it's a one-act that I never would have created otherwise.

Not surprisingly, my super-short, unplanned plays have never placed in the various time-based contests I've entered, but participation has paid off in other ways. The 2011 Pat the Dog Contest led to the first draft of Flood Control, which was produced two years later. That first draft was expanded on, but retains the prompt words at its core - shift, perpendicular, and water. Right now, I'm re-writing a Theatre for Young Audiences play that I wrote for a Toronto Fringe Festival 24-Hour Contest which, again, I never would have thought of without those prompts.

While it's nice to have complete creative freedom, I find it very useful to see what happens when there are restrictions on both content and time. I'm sure the play I wrote yesterday won't show up in tomorrow's announcement of the winners, but I think there's a good chance a revision of it will show up on a stage somewhere someday, which is, of course, the ultimate goal.

Interested in giving a 24-Hour Playwriting Contest a go?

  • The Toronto Fringe generally holds theirs during the summer festival (July 2-13 this year); check the website for updates.
  • And Pat the Dog's should run again next fall.

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