NaNo The Musical!

Hey Guys! I thought I would share this cool video I first heard about on Nanowrimo site. I am sure some may already be aware, but I thought it would be fun to share:)

Also, I will be posting a quick note soon about my own NaNo experience, with a little sneak peek! Coming soon…hopefully!:O)

It is a web series based on the NaNowrimo experience!

Taken from the NaNo WriMo site

Yes, you read that right, the day has finally come when a NaNoWriMo Musical walks the earth. The first two installments of this six-part series are already up, and we asked the writers and director to give us a peek behind the scenes:

Tell us about how NaNoWriMo the Musical came about! Why now? Why NaNo? Is there someting intrinsically musical about writing 50,000 words in 30 days? Is there a song counting down the time like Seasons of Love?

Errol: Back in 2008, a bunch of people got together and made a CD about writing a novel for NaNoWriMo. It was a lot of fun, and song was a great way of encapsulating the experience of doing NaNoWriMo. After that, I started writing silly parody songs about NaNoWriMo because I liked to procrastinate.

However, the month of NaNoWriMo itself is so fraught with stress, drama, conflict, and romance, that I figured it’d be a great backdrop for a musical! When June came around, I wanted a project; I thought three months should give me enough time to write a musical to release for NaNoWriMo! Boy, was I wrong.

And I should have written a song at least about 43,200 minutes.

Manda: Errol and I started working together earlier this year and a couple of times he brought up the idea of writing a musical together. I’ve always wanted to do one but lack any actual musical skill, so I was happy to leave the music to him.

When Errol suggested writing one about NaNoWriMo, I was all for it. It was a subject we were both passionate about. NaNoWriMo has been a big part of my life the last few years and has changed the way I look at writing.

The funny thing is, we’ve both been doing NaNoWriMo for years but have had very different experiences. I’d never actually really met Errol until last year even though we’d both been participating. I didn’t really go to events because I was, well…writing.

Errol: No! You were shy and introverted and scared of people. But that’s okay!

Manda: …Thanks, Errol. Yes, I was a bit shy as well. Anyway, we only had a camera and a couple of lights, but that was enough for us. I had actor friends who were talented and willing to help out. And somehow in three months, we had slapped together a musical. It’s been an insane time but also a lot of fun.

How was writing a musical different from your previous experiences  novel-writing? Did you learn anything you’ll be applying to your NaNo-novel this year?

Errol: Admittedly, it was great for me. Writing a script is easy because you don’t need to worry too much about what characters look like. Of course, things like motivation and backstory are still important, but considering we were well aware of the stress of NaNo, that part wasn’t too hard.

Manda: Ha, it wasn’t easy either!

Errol: Furthermore, it’s great having a co-writer! The way Manda and I would brainstorm is that we’d set up the scenario and then Manda and I would improv for about 10 – 20 minutes. If we liked it, we would improv again, and keep doing it until we’d honed it to something usable.

She’d write it down for us and the actors to learn. And then finally, when it came to shooting the scene, I’d scrap the script and improv different things.

Manda: It’s a good thing I’m not sensitive about the lines being changed. It’s always an adventure acting with Errol, that’s for sure. Thankfully, more often than not, he makes things funnier. He’ll never give himself enough credit.

For myself, I’ve written short plays before but had never actually written a full screenplay. Writing a novel is a different beast from writing a script. There are things that are challenging about both. The difference with a script is that you always have to consider that things will be said out loud. Sometimes dialogue that looks great on the page sounds incredibly awkward out loud.

That’s why it was so great to be able to improv it with Errol before actually committing it to a script. We were able to get a good flow going and shape it from there. Like a novel though, we had to make sure that everything remained true to the message and story we were trying to tell. I think that learning to do dialogue in script form will help me form my dialogue for my novel this year.

If The Book of Mormon is South Park meets the Church of Latter-Day Saints, what is your musical a melting pot of?

Errol: The Muppets Take NaNoWriMo?

Manda: Yeah, that sounds about right. There are actually a bunch of musical styles we end up parodying.

Kelsey: Hahaha, yes, Muppets—if Woody Allen and Jim Henson had ever collaborated but had no money whatsoever, this would have been the result.

Errol: Oh Look! It’s Kelsey! She’s our director!

Your musical is released to great fanfare. It goes off-Broadway, then to Broadway, then to a movie musical. What travesty-like changes does Hollywood inflict upon your initial pure-of-heart musical?

Errol: It was meant to be insane, and crazy, and cheesy. If they could make it more cheesy, that would be awesome. If they made it bland and took it too seriously, I’d be sad.

If they cast Jackie Chan to be my character and added martial arts bits, that’d be totally awesome.

Manda: Yeah, my fear is that they would make it too serious. I love comedy, and I love—

Errol: How it allows her to meet boys!

Manda: Errol! Back on track. Anyway, I’m of the school of thought that nothing should ever be too serious. The best comedies are those that are rooted in reality. It makes it stand out more and resonates more with an audience. Obviously, we loved writing the jokes, but we had an important message at the heart of it. If they took the comedy away from this musical, it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

Kelsey: If they made the characters vampires, that would suck and be illogical. Mostly though if they got rid of the “nerd” or “weird”—what gives the piece heart is that it’s quirky. Also, if the movie was made with a Hollywood budget and there wasn’t a crane shot, I’d be pissed. I really wanted a crane shot. I didn’t even get an origami crane—my producers are jerks!

What was the stand-out memory of writing, performing, and shooting this musical?

Errol: There is an energy about doing something every day at an intense rate with the same bunch of people, which is what comes with NaNoWriMo, too. It would be hard to pinpoint one thing, but one part that I enjoyed was swapping parts for one silly take. I had been playing the comedic relief the whole time, and Luke, who played the main lead, wanted to get his chance at actually poking and prodding at me. It was hilarious.

Manda: It’s hard to pick a stand-out moment. There were quite a few. It was an incredibly intense and quick process, sometimes I’d have to take a moment to wonder what on earth I was doing.

I’m going to list a couple stand-out moments. One of the first was during the writing process. Errol was gone on vacation with no wireless connection and barely any cell phone reception. He managed to get a signal near the piano at the camp he was at, and one day he called me to play a couple of the songs he was writing. The reception was scratchy and Errol had to yell to be heard, but when I heard the songs I remember getting really excited about the fact that this was actually happening.

Another thing that sticks out, during filming, uh…

Errol: When you were nervous about everything? When you freaked out? When you were having fits of doubt?

Manda: No! Go eat some wings or something.

No, there was one shoot where Errol secretly swapped places with our friend Lyf, one of our chorus members who happened to be wearing the same colored clothes as Errol. When we were about to film, I noticed Errol hiding behind the couch, but didn’t say anything, figuring that when he popped out from behind the couch singing the director would yell cut seeing as how Lyf was bald and not Asian, and Errol…was the opposite.

Errol: I’m not bald… and quite Asian.

Manda: But when Errol popped up and started singing the song along with everyone else no one yelled cut, and they finished the take. Then he swapped back and they went on to the next take. Nobody had noticed that he was in the take until about five minutes later, and even then only when we had blatantly brought it up. We spent valuable shoot time laughing about it, and it was one of my best memories of the shoot.

Kelsey: The fact that I did not notice just shows how color-blind I am! That’s one of my favorite moments, too. Also, I was shooting a scene in the hallway of Manda’s building and noticed that one of the light flickered and made it look like a horror film. Manda sings this song “Cannot Edit” that is totally the villainous “Be Prepared” number from The Lion King. When I saw that light, I ran home and completely redid my shot list for that number, the whole thing looks like The Shining now. I think that’s my favorite number just because I got to play stylistically so much, and it was such a happy accident because there was no way I could of forced the lights to do that.

Finally, pitch your movie to us like we’re seasoned financiers, bored with the world, and all the money we’re sitting on.

Manda: This question scares me. Someone else can answer… no one? Okay!

A writer plagued with writer’s block, a girl new to the big city, an organizer who is constantly stressed and… Rick, who’s happy. Together, these four friends will tackle friendship, love and chips all while participating in one of the most famous writing challenges in history… set to music! With action, comedy, drama, and very bad dancing: you won’t want to miss it!

Kelsey: It’s Whip It meets Empire Records. A group of quirky misfits are brought together by their love for writing, but as the pressure mounts, budding romances, impending deadlines, and a little too much forced-together time almost sever the group for good.

The romance plot will give the story generic box-office appeal. The music bodes well for soundtrack sales. The setting of NaNoWriMo, and the quirky nature of the songs and characters will help move the film beyond teenage-date night revenue and provide a quirk that’s popular among the educated and hip 15-35 demographic. Also there is a reference to Gangnam Style…so we can probably get on Ellen.

Errol: I like Kelsey’s better, Manda.

Kelsey Goldberg (Director) – Kelsey is a writer, actor, director and producer and co-founder of Veruca Productions.

Manda Whitney (Actor & Writer) – This is Manda’s fourth NaNoWriMo. She is a writer, actor and one half of the comedy duo WE Tangent.

Errol Elumir (Actor & Writer) – This is Errol’s seventh NaNoWriMo and he is the co-author of NaNoToons. He is one half of the comedy duo WE Tangent, and also one half of the geek music duo Debs & Errol.

Keep up with NaNoWriMo: The Musical here:


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