The Writer IS a Performer

Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

Today, something a little different. Screw the accountants! Let’s put on a show!

The first thing that I have to decide is the type of show that I’m interested in producing. And frankly, I have a ton of options, but I’ll use a shortlist:

  • Stand-up Comedy – Golden Rule: Be funny and don’t break the microphone.
  • Sketch Comedy – Okay, I’ll need an assistant, or two, or five. Maybe, that pretty girl from human resources would be interested.
  • Local Theater – What a range! School Christmas pageant to dinner theater. Am I hungry? Can I eat roast beef while watching ham?
  • Off Broadway Theater – Exactly how far off Broadway is Cincinnati?
  • Broadway – I made it! Stardom or bankruptcy!
  • Television – Must remember to be more interesting than the commercials.
  • Ye Olde Documentary – I’ll pretend I know something.
  • Feature Film – According to Hollywood’s IRS filings, there has never been a feature film that made money. Still, I might meet famous people. That’s worth it, isn’t it?

Don’t Forget Genre
I have to decide on genre. Am I going to produce the next Star Trek or do I want to be Sleepless in Seattle? Maybe I need a showdown at the OK Corral, or want to line up the dancers for A Chorus Line.

Book Cover image


Even stand-up comedy, basically a one-man (or woman) show, offers numerous choices. Am I going to be a rapid-fire jokester or a storyteller? Should I be angry, friendly, a sad sack, or the only one intelligent enough to see the world clearly? How much am I willing to share with my audience? Or, do I want to work the crowd so they become participants in my show?

Oh, crap! What if my parents are in the audience?

Form has limitations, too. I knew that.
Broadway has limited scenery compared to film, and it’s highly unlikely that I’ll have many underwater scenes. No Jaws music! Local theater has a significantly more limited budget for…basically everything…compared to Broadway or a Hollywood studio. What sacrifices am I willing to make to produce my show?


Do I really want to be involved in producing a show?

What if I just want to tell a good story?

Let’s forget all about budgets and agents and lighting. Let’s just get this story down on paper, a short story or a novel or just a script of some sort. Let’s keep things basic, and do away with all the unnecessary bits like:

  • Actors – I’ll call them characters instead.
  • Scenes – I’ll just use a master plot that covers everything. Well, maybe a few scenes. We’ll see.
  • A narrator – I’ll just use a third person POV. People get that.
  • A director – I’ll make all the decisions.
  • A budget – All I need is paper and ink.
  • Reality – Who cares if no one has a real warp drive, or if my character falls for the guy who she’s hated since grade school, but changed her mind because he carried her groceries in from the car in the rain. That should be real enough just because I say so, right?
  • Anything else – I’ll work around it…somehow.

I don’t need to produce a show.

No need to invest in anything that costs money. Who needs to see a performance? I mean, realistically, I’m playing all of the parts. I’m directing all of the action. I’m the star, all the supporting actors, the director, the producer and the gopher! I’m deciding how many millions, or billions, or trillions of dollars will be spent on my production.

I don’t need to see my show performed, do I?

All I need is a keyboard!
Okay, now, my main character is up a tree and I’m throwing rocks at him. He’s good-looking, so I’ll throw Wiffle balls.
Now, how would I get out of this mess?
Wait! I’ve got it! I can see it all now…

Parting Funny: USA Today has come out with a new survey: Apparently, three out of four people make up 75% of the population.David Letterman

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Next Up: Funny Relationships


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