Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009

Janet Zweig's $1,000 Pedestrian Drama Challenge

By Russ Bickerstaff
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As I know all too well from participation in various Insurgent theatre projects including BERZERK!!! and 8½ x 11, it can be remarkably difficult to distill a dramatic narrative into a very concise span of time. Artist Janet Zweig has illicited a challenge that’s open to anyone who can think visually on a very, very limited scale.

  • The Challenge:

Come up with a brief narrative happening on a street corner in Milwaukee. There is no dialogue. There are no sound effects. And . . . the narrative must be less than a minute long.

  • Winning Entries:

will be produced with area actors and dancers and such . . . and will be featured on light pole kiosk flipbooks like these:

Unlike the flipbooks many might remember from childhood, these are motion activated automated things. Here’s an example of Janet’s work:

The theatre connection here, aside from the fact that there are local actors involved, is the fact that winning wntries will be staged in an upcoming performance.

  • The Prize:

Winning entries get $1,000. This is, of course, ridiculous. As a writer, it has come to my attention that the less work you do, the more you get paid for it. Here you're being asked to come up with a script for a an entirely visual script set to take no longer than one minute. And if they like what you write, you get four figures.

  • The Challenge of the Challenge:

Tell a very basic story with very confining restrictions. As you can see, there’s more space horizontally than there is vertically and has to be visually striking enough to make an impact in black and white.

  • The Deadline:

Entries along with name, address contact email address and phone number must be sent by September 15th to:

  • The Fine Print:

Far more detailed information can be found here.

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