Screenplay for Children and Teens

Here is the cover for my screenplay as an eBook.

Can a handful of kids defeat a cyborg army — and their parents? “The Fiendish Plot of Doctor Cyclone” is a lunar comedy, orbiting your funny bone. When parents on a Moon base start acting funny, it is up to their kids to unravel the mystery. Is their teacher really a spy? Why are workers disappearing? And why does every clue lead to Cyclone Industries? The answers force the kids to battle a mad scientist with a heart of titanium.

This comic screenplay is perfect for screen or stage and suitable for family viewing. It was first produced in 2011, in Toronto, Canada. Today I published it as an eBook on Smashwords. Click on the book cover or look at my Smashwords author profile here: MaajaWentz.

Student plays and drama: Fun to write, direct on stage or shoot on video

I enjoy writing and producing student plays and videos so much that I plan to share the experience with others on this blog. There isn’t much here yet. I’ve been too busy creating to record the experience! So far I’ve written and produced four comic school plays with music and one student film. My play titles are:

 

YDoru and the Bubble House: the time travel tale of a brave heroine with a fragile immune system. She saves the world with a group of international friends, all without leaving her bedroom.

Space Brats: Like army brats, but in space, these kids steal a space shuttle and make first contact with aliens!

 

Invisible Aliens Stole My Gym Shorts: A high school comedy of galactic proportions. This one has an environmental message, buried deep in a screwball comedy.

 

 

Mozart‘s ‘Mystic’ Flute: Mozart’s ghost reassures a frustrated teen on the eve of a difficult piano recital. When the powers of the ‘mystic’ flute are used against him, Mozart, teams up with the teen and her band to stop Salieri from stealing Mozart’s legacy for himself.

I also wrote and shot a Science Fiction comedy with my Media Club students called “The Fiendish Plot of Doctor Cyclone.” It’s really amazing what you can do with students in grades 6-8!

Word on the Street — Books and some Street Theatre

Here are my video impressions of Word on the Street 2011. It’s my favourite annual celebration of booky goodness. This little video was taken with a Flip video camera and edited with Adobe Premiere Elements.

Self-Publishing Plays — A Helpful Idea or Publishing Suicide?

Focus is supposed to be the key to success, in art, business, hockey, anything. If you lose focus, you are bound to make mistakes. Lately I have been reading too many blogs, tweets and self-appointed online experts. They all say, follow the John Locke method. Publish an ebook. I even spent a couple of days reformatting one of my plays to publish on SmashWords. Is this procrastination? I should be polishing my manuscript, “Marmalade, Cat Detective.”

Self-publishing is tempting, but not for the novel. I have a backlog of school plays which I know work because I have produced them. It’s fairly easy to see what works with multiple audiences of 250 or so kids when you can observe directly. The problem is, children’s’ plays are notoriously difficult to get published, especially for someone like me who has not produced my plays in a professional venue.

The rational solution would seem to be self-publishing. It seems low-risk. My plays are written and collecting dust. I’m more interested in writing new plays than remounting my old ones in bigger venues. I direct my plays for the love of working with kids. If I self-publish my plays, it will be to share them with other teachers and get their feedback. I doubt they will make money.

There is just one problem. I have a novel almost ready to send to agents. It’s a YA novel which might also suit imaginative adults. This is where the warnings begin. I’ve heard that once you publish anything with an ISBN number, publishers and agents look you up every time you submit a project. When I try to interest them in my novel manuscript, will they will look up my sales figures, see my plays aren’t selling and take a pass?

Does it have to be a catch-22? I’m pessimistic about publishing my plays through the usual channels because the demand for kids’ comedy scripts is small. I’m optimistic about my novel because I’ve read many children’s novels and I haven’t seen one quite like mine. I think it might attract readers of Sherlock Holmes novels, and of Shane Peacock‘s excellent boy Holmes mysteries. My story is also a spoof on gothic elements in mysteries, like James Howe but for older readers. Obviously, I’m not comparing the quality of my writing to these authors. I’m trying to give an idea of my story’s flavour.

Like any artistic hopeful, I believe in my ‘thing’ and hope other people will too. I just wish I knew what to do about it.