Thursday, April 22, 2010

An Example of How to Make Bad Art

Last night I saw “Mike’s Incredable Indian Adventure” at Portland Center Stage. I normally don’t like to give bad reviews, but to be completely honest, the play wasn’t great. Even if I didn’t love the production, I did empathise with the story.

Here is the basic premise. A wannabe actor/director/producer grew up with a silver spoon shoved up his ass and never made any meaningful art for himself. He didn’t even manage to make any unmeaningful art. He basically just wasted a lot of time. Then he was invited to direct a Neil Simon musical in India. The producer was sleezy and it was obvious that the show would be horrible. So the guy agreed to direct the play and then hired a friend to film the entire thing, thinking he’d make a documentary fill about putting on a really bad play in India.

The play in India was really bad, but when he got home and watched the footage, he realized that the film footage was even worse. There was no theme to the documentary, no point at all really, just a lot of craptastic footage. So he started interviewing people and trying to learn about the rolls of America and India in the new global economy and frame his story somehow that way. That just gave him lots more footage, but still no real point. Then after 10 years of failing to pull a documentary out of all his footage, he decided to make a play. The play that I watched last night.

It was a play about a film about a play. And it really had absolutely no point. I felt like I wasted an evening watching it. But much more than that, I feel like this guy wasted a decade making it. I may not be a wannabe actor/director/producer, but I am a wannabe writer. I understand the way people can get caught up in an idea and stay caught up in it long after the project has lost its potential. So please, fellow writers and creative types, don’t be like Mike. If you have a craptastic idea, give yourself a couple of months to try and make it into something. But if it continually spirals further and further into pointlessness, learn to say goodbye and get yourself a new idea.

Joke of the Day
How do you shoot a purple elephant?
With a purple elephant gun.
How do you shoot a white elephant?
Hold it's trunk until it turns purple, then shoot it with a purple elephant gun.

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