I meant to post about opening weekend before opening weekend, but there was this crazy thing where the media actually wanted to see me and talk to me. So last week—including our gala SLC premiere on October 10 and our official opening on October 12—went by in a blur. I didn’t really have time for much of anything except the occasional shower and nap. My house is a disaster and I missed this year’s O’Neill submission deadline. But the movie is open! It’s playing across the state. And people are coming out to see it, which thrills me to no end. Oh! And there was a screening in the massive Arclight Cinema in Los Angeles the week before. I am behind and remiss. I apologize. Trust me when I say it has been crazy, the wonderful kind. So much is riding on this film in so many ways. If you are in Utah, please go out and see it! If you are not in Utah and want to see it, bug your Utah connections to go. You could even buy a ticket for someone else, as a gift or a donation, if you like.
There is a new trailer online for JANE AND EMMA that is a bit different stylistically, and I like it a lot. It features music by Josh Akers, the gent who put the trailer together.
In other news, I’m in Los Angeles. There is a red carpet event for the film tomorrow night, October 4th, at the Arclight Hollywood. I am so nervous about it it’s ridiculous. This kind of thing is so not fun for me. I guess we’ll see how it goes?
It’s trendy lately to ask your Facebook friends to donate to charity on your behalf on your birthday. It’s a cool trend, and I’ve made a lot of donations in the past little while, as I have a lot of friends with hearts in the right places. I was going to do a FB fundraiser myself for my birthday—today!—when I had a thought. A potentially selfish thought, but bear with me.
JANE AND EMMA is opening in a month, pretty much to the day, in Utah megaplex cinemas. In the film world, we are the smallest of potatoes. We need to have a killer opening weekend just to survive, let alone expand.
In lieu of a birthday fundraiser, I'm asking you, my Utah friends, to come to my movie on October 12th. Don't put it off. Don't wait for the DVD. Opening weekend is crucial. Write it down, put it in your phone, inform your people, share the trailer. Do whatever you need to do today so that you'll be at the movies in 29 days.
If you aren't in Utah, request that your local cinema bring JANE AND EMMA to your town. Bug your Utah friends to go. If we do well right out of the gate, the film can grow legs and more people can see it. If people don’t go, the movie will get dropped. Simple as that. It’s very much like having a play run for a single weekend. But we do have the chance to go further if people come out.
This film has heart; I know, because I put mine in it fully. So did a whole lot of amazing people. Please plant to see it, and help me feel a little less old today. <3
Love and hugs and ink for all.
For the past three years I’ve been working as a writer in the Church History Department for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints. The project I’ve been working on is different than anything I’ve really done before, using a narrative style to present sound historical information in a way that is easily accessible and reader-friendly. This new Church history tells stories from a variety of people and experiences, and will be published in a 4-volume series over the next few years. I was part of an incredible team of writers, historians, and editors who all worked incredibly hard to bring this project to this point.
The book is significant, both in size—699 pages, including notes—and importance. This past Tuesday, September 4, the first volume, SAINTS: The Standard of Truth, became available to the public. I worked on the first part of Volume 1 (covering 1815-1846) as well as the full first draft of Volume 3 (1884-1955). I learned a ton about history and about writing, and I’m excited to see how SAINTS goes over, well, with the Saints. Fingers crossed.
PYGmalion posted their audition notice this week! SWEETHEART COME is in the mix. You should come out if you are interested.
PYGmalion Theater announces auditions for its 2018 – 2019 season, on Saturday July 22nd. Actors will be requested to read from the script(s) of their choice. Sides and scripts will be available upon request for an audition slot. If July 22 is impossible, alternate times may be also arranged with the directors. Audition slots are available from 10 am through 6 pm at the Rose Wagner Theater. Call backs will be Sunday July 23rd. For an audition slot email Fran Pruyn at Pygtheater@gmail.com. Please bring a resume and headshot to auditions.
TIGERS, BE STILL by Kim Rosenstock, directed by Elizabeth Golden
Runs October 18 – November 11, 2018
A comedy about depression. Sherry Wickman finds herself unemployed, overwhelmed, and back at home after earning her master’s degree in art therapy. When Sherry gets hired as a substitute art teacher, things begin to brighten up. Now if only her mother would come downstairs, her sister would get off the couch, her very first therapy patient would do just one of his take-home assignments, her new boss would leave his gun at home, and someone could catch the tiger that escaped from the local zoo, everything would be just fine.
Roles Available: (2 w, 2 m)
Zack, late teen – early twenties
Grace, twenties – thirties
WAIT by Julie Jensen, directed by Fran Pruyn
Runs February 21 – March 9, 2019
Our girl Wendy Burger stands on the edge of a summer that will change her life forever. It’s the summer she moves out of her father’s house (and into the UPS truck). The summer she starts a theatre with the guy she used to date (no one else would have them). The summer she performs her first acting role (Lisa in Hamlet—with a flickering blue light playing the lead, à la Tinkerbell). The summer when she gets tips from the actress, Floating Piñata Head. But most of all it’s the summer when she meets O Vixen My Vixen (yes, that’s her full name!) who is both beautiful and oh-so-deep. It’s the summer that changes everything in Wendy’s life.
Roles Available (3w, 1 m – ages are somewhat negotiable)
Wendy Burger, a woman in her 20s with boots
O Vixen my Vixen, woman in her 20s, a vixen
Dad – Wendy’s father, in his late 50s (played by Actor 1)
Lu, a man in his 20s, outrageous (played by Actor 1)
Hazar, a man from Armenia, in his 50s (played by Actor 1)
Modesto, a woman who’s been there, in her 50s (played by Actress 1)
Jen-ya, A woman from Rumania, 50 (played by Actress 1)
Floating pinata head . . . . . a woman of the theatre, 50 (played by Actress 1)
SWEETHEART COME by Melissa Leilani Larson directed by Mark Fossen
Runs May 2 – May 19, 2019
Emma Hauck realizes that her husband’s political ambitions are changing him—and their marriage. She finds refuge in her writing, and in the unexpected friendship of a new servant. As both relationships grow more complex, Emma must face difficult truths about herself that she never knew existed. Inspired by a heartbreaking true story, this new play explores the intersection between marriage, illness, and the power of a pencil. A 2016 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist, SWEETHEART COME will receive its world premiere production at PYGmalion Theatre.
Roles Available (1w, 2m)
EMMA, early 30s
MICHAEL, her husband, 30s-40s
AUGUST, the gardener, 20s-40s
Last spring I attended PYGmalion Theatre Company's production of Lauren Gunderson's SILENT SKY and their pre-show announcement included a mention that they had only selected 2 of their usual 3 shows for the next season. So on a whim, I emailed their artistic director, attaching a copy of SWEETHEART COME. SWEETHEART is a story that has grown very dear to me over the four or so years I've been working on it, and I've wanted so badly to see it produced. I figure so much out during rehearsal. And I've got a lot of good responses to the play, at the same time that no one has committed to producing it.
A couple of weeks after my initial email, I got a response from Fran Pruyn (PYG's artistic director). She said everyone on the board had read the play and loved it (when has that ever happened to me???) but they had concerns about the budget to put the show up. I met Fran for lunch and we talked about workshopping the play (which I have been wanting to do anyway) and working with a director to figure out a way to do the show without crazy amounts of set. She agreed to the workshop, which would culminate in a staged reading, as well as to the possibility of producing the show not on this season but on next.
Well, tonight I attended PYG's biannual fundraiser WHEN PYGS FLY. And as part of the plug for their next show, Fran announced the reading of SWEETHEART next month. She also announced, from the podium and in front of an audience, that SWEETHEART would be produced next season! I'm just excited. I love and adore this play. I think it has some of my best stuff—the kind of stuff actors love to sink their teeth into. It's been a little heartbreaking to send it out so many places and not have it get in anywhere for development, let alone production. I'm so glad it will finally happen, and I hope there are more shows to come.
My latest play is the result of my misunderstanding a(n) historian. And it's being read tonight at Plan-B Theatre here in Salt Lake by some really great actors, helped out by a great director and sound designer/stage manager.
I am a nervous mess, but that is to be expected knowing me.
Several months ago, almost as soon as tickets were made available, they were gone. People got on the wait list, and the wait list soon filled up.
The wait list is full. Do these people not know what they're in for? Draft 2.5 of a meditation on sin, memory, and loneliness in the American West. Ha. How's that for a thesis title? Perhaps I shouldn't make light of it now, considering people could read this and decide not to show up tonight...
Who knows what is going to happen? This play is both stranger than anything I've done before and just like a lot of things I've done before. Poor Emilie Starr, playing the protagonist, is on stage the entire time. I do not give her a break, and she runs through the full gamut of emotion out there, alone on the frontier that will someday be Nevada. Haunted by the wind and talking to God.
While it's weird, I do like the play and I would love to see go to the next level because it's different than other stuff out there (at least, I hope it is). I have been applying to a lot of workshops with it in hopes that someone somewhere else might read it and see potential in it. So far, though, that hasn't worked out; I've got a pile of rejections that's probably only going to grow. I don't quite know what to do with this play, but I guess for the moment I'll go to the reading and see whether or not an audience of 66 people thinks I'm totally nuts.
2017 is the year that I published my first book and contributed roughly 120,000 words to another; received my third commission; wrote two and a half new plays; had two workshops and two staged readings; rewrote a feature screenplay that will get made in the next few months; had an original concept and commercial produced for the Better Business Bureau; helped out a tiny bit in the writers' room on a TV series; and was a featured writer in an online journal.
I also got flooded; went to my first pen show; made countless perfect grilled cheese sandwiches; returned to my second home in London; and, after thirty-ish years of waiting, finally got to see WONDER WOMAN on the big screen.
2017 was good. 2018 will be better. I say bring it. #amwriting
Rachel Hunt Steenblik has assembled a pretty great group of books for holiday giving. And THIRD WHEEL is on the list! Check it out.
"If you have not read (or watched) these plays, please run to go get them. They make up some of the best writing I read all year, and I am pretty sure they made me cry and laugh in equal measure. The first play in particular, really, really moved me."
If you need to pick up your own copy of THIRD WHEEL or grab a couple to give as gifts, they are pretty affordable (and pretty cute).
For the past several months I have been working on a new project that I'm really excited about. Utah Valley University has comissioned me to adapt Kelly Barnhill's 2016 Newbery Medal winner, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, as a play for their 2019 season. If things go according to plan, that season will be UVU's first in their spanking new performing arts center, currently under construction. Over the course of this semester I've been working on my first draft and bringing pages into UVU's New Script Workshop, taught by Janine Sobeck Knighton (Janine and I have collaborated before, and she is officially the dramaturg on this project). The students read my pages aloud and give feedback on them, which is always useful. The class culminates in a staged reading, which will be happening in UVU's Noorda Theatre this coming Wednesday, December 6th, at 5 p.m. The play is still very much a work-in-progress, but it's coming along. The reading is free and you should come if you can!
Be aware that parking is a little crazy because of the construction. There is a garage close to the student center, but that's a couple of minutes away.
All of BCC Press's titles, including THIRD WHEEL, are marked down for Black Friday; I believe the sale continues through this weekend. They have several exciting new titles coming soon as well. For more information: https://bycommonconsent.com/2017/11/23/bcc-press-announces-a-new-book-by-adam-miller-and-so-much-more/
If you haven't purchased THIRD WHEEL, you can use this link to go directly to the book's page on Amazon:
If you like what you read, please feel free to leave a review. Thanks!
When Third Wheel was first published, Wm Morris of the Mormon Lit site A MOTLEY VISION invited me to do a interview promoting the book. It was a fun interview, as Wm doesn't ask typical "let's talk about the book" questions. Anyway, if you're interested, you should check it out:
I have been wanting to do a performance of PILOT PROGRAM in Utah Valley for a while. The publication of THIRD WHEEL provided a good opportunity. BCC Press is presenting a staged reading of the play this coming Saturday, September 9, at 7 p.m. in the Ragan Theatre at UVU. Mette Harrison will also be there, reading an excerpt from her novel THE BOOK OF LAMAN. We have a great cast. It should be fun. Come, come, come!
A few weeks back I had the chance to talk with Brian Whitney and Brandt Malone on their new podcast, MORMON NEWS REPORT. We had a great time talking about the launch of my book, THIRD WHEEL, as well as THE EDIBLE COMPLEX, FREETOWN, and my love for Wonder Woman. We also chatted about my most recent project, a screenplay called JANE AND EMMA.
Here is the link if you want to give a listen: https://overcast.fm/+JiYMKkvcg
The Kindle versions of all five of By Common Consent Press's most excellent offerings are currently on sale for $3.95 a pop, including my own THIRD WHEEL. If you love reading on your tablet or phone, this sale is all about you.
Other available titles include:
THE BOOK OF LAMAN by Mette Harrison
THE BURNING POINT by Tracy McKay-Lamb
SCIENCE THE KEY TO THEOLOGY: VOLUME ONE: PRELIMINARIES by Steven Peck
MOTHER'S MILK by Rachel Hunt Steenblik
Order THIRD WHEEL for Kindle here:
If you have already purchased the hard copy of the book from Amazon, you can get the matching ebook for just $0.99.
Please read and enjoy! And if you enjoy what you read, please leave a review on Amazon! I'd love to hear what you think.
It's so crazy to think that this is happening, but I have a book and it's all finished. It will be released and available for sale a week from tonight. Next Tuesday, the 25th, I will be on a panel with two other fabulous writers (Mette Harrison and Rachel Hunt Steenblik) and a fabulous artist (Ashmae Hoiland) whose books are also being releated by BCC Press. If you would like to atend the panel—the four of us will be discussing each other's work and then I'm guessing there will be time for questions—it's at the Writ & Vision gallery in Provo, Tuesday, July 25th at 7 p.m. All three books will be available for sale, and you may even be able to get all three together in a bundle (I heard something like that anyway). You may want to come early to claim a seat.
We are also setting up a staged reading of PILOT PROGRAM in Provo near the end of August to promote the book. I have been wanting to do a reading or a performance of PILOT in Utah County for a while, so this makes for a nice opportunity. So far I have stellar actors lined up, so it should be fun. More info as we get closer.
Launch event information.
Writ & Vision
274 West Center St.
Provo, UT 84601
I didn't want to write about the election. I was too stunned by the outcome. But it turns out that those are the times I need to write—when things are tough or just inexplicable. I need to try to sort through them. Figure them out, even if it's in a semi-fictional situation, so that I can better understand what's going on.
But as necessary as it was, I wasn't keen on the idea when Jerry and Cheryl at Plan-B proposed that the Lab playwrights each write short pieces responding to the election. The goal, as I understood it, was to take a walk in someone else's shoes and really try to get a sense of where they are coming from—to look at some of the stark political divides troubling our country and try to explore them fairly from all sides. At first I grumbled. There were rules, and a deadline. It felt like homework. The rules: 1) none of the candidates could be mentioned or even alluded to because when they are mentioned, listening ceases; and 2) everything had to be rooted in real-life experience.
I struggled and I pouted. It was a difficult assignment. But now, somehow, I have 2 5-minute plays—one from a conservative character, and one from a liberal—and they go together. Both halves are necessary. They are a complete story together, and that's life. Real and hard and complicated. Hopefully interesting.
Now all of these short plays, written by some incredibly smart and cool individuals, have been woven together in an evening of reader's theatre directed by Jerry Rapier. Tickets are free but need to be reserved in advance. Performances run June 8 - 11 and 15 - 18 at the Studio Theatre.
More information at planbtheatre.org.
Reserve your free tickets at Eventbrite. I think there are a few left for the run, which opens this week Thursday. Better grab them quick if you haven't already! And hey—even if tickets aren't available, chances are good you can come at 7:30 and waitlist.
SEGULLAH is an online journal featuring the writing and art of LDS women. From their mission statement: "We publish insightful writings and images which explore life’s richness and complexity while reflecting faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our aim is to highlight a variety of women’s perspectives within a framework of shared beliefs and values."
Earlier this year I was excited and flattered when Segullah asked me to be their featured writer for the spring quarter. They are completely online now, and they were totally open to publishing excerpts from several plays. I also did an interview with them to get the ball rolling. Here are links to the pieces they published. But you should wander around on the site and check it out; there are a lot of lovely things to see and read.
April 2017 - Little Happy Secrets excerpt
May 2017 - Sweetheart Come excerpt