Thurs. Feb. 28, 2013: Rehearsals Begin!

Thursday, February 28, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a flurry of many things. I wrote, edited, and sent off another article. I worked with students. I cleared out the living room and set up for the rehearsal. I worked on the script, so I was properly prepared for rehearsal.

The rehearsal went well. The actors are enthusiastic and good in the roles. I feel like a huge burden’s been lifted off me, and I can concentrate on the actual play instead of the admin around the play. I need to do some tweaking on the script, which I will do tomorrow. We got Act 1 blocked, which is good. We’re blocking Act II & III on Sunday afternoon.

I also had to do some errands, including some stuff for my other play, which goes up as a reading tomorrow night.

I’ve got to do a lot this morning, before I head out for a meeting in the early afternoon. The migraine is still there, although better. And I overslept this morning, missing yoga. But I needed the rest.

Better get going — there’s a lot to do! Plus, I have to find an important prop in the basement — I know it’s down there somewhere, but those are a lot of boxes!

Devon

Registration closes tomorrow for “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”, running March 4-8. Don’t miss it! Information and registration here.

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Published in: on February 28, 2013 at 8:26 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. Feb. 27, 2013: Migraine & Frustration

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs and frustrations — I’m having a rough Saturn retrograde and a rough Mercury retrograde. I’ll have to ride it out. Hopefully, I won’t have this migraine stabbing me through the left eye the whole time, either.

Didn’t get enough of my own work done. Can’t really discuss the frustrations in detail, because there’s no way I can be diplomatic about them — I’m better off venting privately and getting on with it.

Made chicken and dumplings for dinner last night — needed comfort food!

Meeting last night was good — lots of laughter and fun.

Have a stack of books on Impressionism for research, and rejuggling the priorities of the longer project.

I can take on one more critique/editing client this week — if it’s booked this week. So email fearlessinkworkshops-at-gmail-dot-com if you’ve got something you need edited or critiqued.

Also, these are the last days to sign up for “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”. Information and registration here.

Rehearsal is here tonight, so I’ve got to rearrange the furniture in the living room and set up the props. Should be fun!

Devon

Published in: on February 27, 2013 at 8:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Tues. Feb. 26, 2013: Ebooks and Rehearsals

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and milder

Yesterday started off as a good day — knocked out a review and got it to my editor; typed up the article I’d written the night before, edited it and pitched it; pitched two articles to a publication into which I’ve wanted to appear for years; started on another article; worked with students. Most importantly, I had an excellent writing session on my own novel, which put me into a pretty decent mood.

Frustrations started happening in the afternoon, everything from checks that were supposed to be here last week still not showing up to casting problems with the play. We lost an actor to a series pilot — understandable. An actress flaked, and she wouldn’t even have let me know if I hadn’t checked in with her about something about last night’s rehearsal. I was NOT amused, especially since she doesn’t seem to think it’s an issue, just to bail without notice. Needless to say, I won’t be using her for anything else. Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. I found someone else who really wants to do it who ended up having to race to the hospital on a family emergency, so last night wasn’t a possibility, and we’re trying to figure out if we can make it work.

So, we were down two actors for the hospital tour and the read-through. But we coped, and the three actors we have are awesome. Completely the right choices. And they seemed very interested in the workings of the hospital. Townsend is emotionally ready to go, I think. He’s restless. Hopefully, we’ll be able to release him soon.

We loaded up my car with props afterwards, and I came home to work on leads for the other two actors. I have a meeting with one today — hopefully that will work out — he seems eager, and I know he’s really good.

I was exhausted by the time I got home, but so keyed up I couldn’t sleep.

Woke up with an excruciating migraine this morning.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about my non-fiction E-books and the Topic Workbooks.

I have a lot to get done today, and a meeting tonight, so, deep breath and jump in. Migraine or not, it all has to get done.

Devon

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 9:52 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 26, 2013: Ebooks and Rehearsals  
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Mon. Feb. 25, 2013: Rehearsals Begin on a Full Moon

NMLC_Murder_Seals_the_Deal_LR-1

Monday, February 25, 2013
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold

We had more snow overnight, but it was a coating, no big deal. I like snow a lot, but even I am getting a little weary of it.

Busy weekend working on casting the final role in the show and setting up the rehearsal schedule. I met some really interesting people during this process, and I think it is opening up some doors for collaborative projects down the road. We have our first meeting/read-through tonight.

Read the materials for the next assignment from Confidential Job #1 and have to do the write-up today. Drafted an article last night, which I will type up and edit today, and hopefully get out the door. Turned around a client project in 24 hours — much faster than I thought, but a block of time opened, and I seized it. The client had paid me FULLY in advance, not just half, so it was worth it to quicken the promised turnaround time.

Creative Stimulus Cover

CREATIVE STIMULUS has released — a new workbook a little more comprehensive than the regular “Topic Workbooks” — this one combines updated material and exercises from the “5 in 10” workshop, the “Sensory Perceptions” Workbook, the “Writing Rituals” booklet and the infamous Tip Sheets, all in one place. It’s $6.99, over on Smashwords.

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK drops next Monday — I’m looking forward to it, and am doing quite a few guest blogs in the coming weeks to promote the release.

This is the last week to sign up for “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”. Putting together the materials for this class has been terrific. I’m very excited about it. More information on how to register here.

Read Anna Devere Smith’s LETTERS TO A YOUNG ARTIST. Terrific book for artists at any stages of their careers. Developing an idea based on some of Manet’s Paris cafe paintings. Reading a book called CREATIVE TIME AND SPACE: MAKING ROOM FOR MAKING ART, which is also very interesting.

I can take on one more full manuscript critique and/or edit or 3-5 short projects for a slot, but it must be booked this week. Please contact fearlessinkworkshops at gmail dot com for more information on rates and to set it up. Once I get deep into rehearsal, I cannot take on any more projects until the show is done.

My other show, SEVEN OF SWORDS, will be read this Friday at Tilden Art Center. That should be interesting. It’s definitely not a comedy, and it’s a raw piece that could go in several different directions.

I have to get a proposal for an arts festival out today or tomorrow — I have to figure out what I want to do for it.

Great morning’s session on the Dickensian steampunk.

That’s kind of where things stand, going into this week. I hope you have a good one!

Devon

Fri. Feb. 22, 2013: Life Inspires Art — Sometimes For the Wrong Reasons!

Friday, February 22, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Tough day yesterday. Still working on casting issues. Managed to work with students, but didn’t get CREATIVE STIMULUS finished, so that is today’s priority.

I emailed the author of an article I really liked (who happens to live in Boston); I heard back from her, and she gave me an idea for a new piece. Love when that happens! I did some work on it this morning, although I may be still too close to the situation that inspired it for the piece to work best. I may just sketch it out and do more on it in a couple of months. It’s a mystery, and yes, I plan on “killing off” everyone who is currently working my last nerve! Ah, the transformative power of art.

So sick and tired of late-paying clients I could scream. The people I have to pay (utilities, et al) still expect their money on time, and this attitude that my freelancing “should” just be a hobby and I should get a “real” job infuriates me. Writing is a real job, and I’m a damn good at it. Time to up myself to a better client tier, which is a process.

And then, just after this rant, a payment comes through from a new client — not only on time, but early! Which just brightens the world a whole lot more for me today.

Hope I can clear a lot off my desk and get some rest this weekend. I need it!

Devon Ellington

Don’t forget to sign up for “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series” from March 4-8. Developing the class has been a terrific process, and I think you’ll get a lot out of it!

Published in: on February 22, 2013 at 7:16 am  Comments (2)  

Thurs. Feb. 21, 2013: Every Title I’ve Given This Post Was Way Too Snarky

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Worked hard yesterday. CREATIVE STIMULUS is almost ready to release — the Table of Contents is working my last nerve, with all the hyperlinks, etc. The ebook contains updated versions of the booklets for “5 in 10”, “Sensory Perceptions”, “Writing Rituals” and also contains the Tip Sheets I use in a lot of the classes.

I also did a lot of work on “Prolonged Engagement” — I’m excited to teach the class. I’ve gathered some good information in it.

I’m still on the fence about teaching anything in April aside from the “Setting as Character” I’ve got at NECRWA, and I’m not sure about May. In June, I’ve got the other RWA class, “Supporting Characters”, and I’m hoping July and August will be off. I need the break.

Hop on over to The Writers Vineyard, where I talk about “The Chance to Apprentice.” This goes back to online classes, where, unfortunately, too many aspiring writers look at online classes as a “service” rather than an “apprenticeship”. Classes are not services. They’re challenges, and they require commitment and work AND classes are done the way the teacher wants to run them, NOT the student.

Still dealing with casting; have a couple of dilemmas to resolve, which I hope to do today and tomorrow. We go into rehearsal on Monday, and, hey, guess what, we’re expected to get another snowstorm this week. Oy!

The Writers Night Out dinner was last night, and lots of fun, lively conversation (as always) and some readings. I also found out one of my closest friends here is moving to Amsterdam in a few months. It’s such a wonderful opportunity for her! And yet, I’ll miss her a lot. But that’s why there’s emails and letters and blogs.

Yoga was good this morning, I stopped at the beach on the way back and met a person walking two Scottie dogs (so cute), and I’m trying to clear off a few things before the 11 AM audition.

Also have to figure out how I’m going to resolve a delicate issue with a manipulative person who, while probably not actively wishing me harm, does not wish me well, and wants to be central to a particular situation for kudos, but not actually do any of the work. Which I won’t tolerate. I don’t care about the kudo bit, but if you’re going to be here and claim you’re a part of this, you are going to fucking do the work.

Busy day.

Devon

Wed. Feb. 20, 2013: Recovering from Corporate Ineptitude

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I lost most of yesterday due to an issue that should have taken fifteen minutes with a competent individual willing to do her job. Instead, an aide from my congressman’s office had to intervene. This is NOT acceptable.

Incompetent individuals who hide behind “company policy” and pretend they’re “doing their jobs” MUST be held accountable as individuals as well as company representatives. With all the competent people out of work, the incompetent need to be fired and replaced. However, competent people need to be paid what they’re worth and tend to think for themselves, which is why so many companies retain the incompetent. We wouldn’t need so many regulations if individuals and corporations would behave with integrity. However, since so many are incapable of that, that’s why we have to have regulations, and that’s why they must be enforced.

So, in short, yesterday sucked, but today will be better!

I managed to get the next draft of MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL done and send it to the actors and the people behind the production who need it. I even managed to work with students. That was woefully inadequate for everything that needed to get done.

I did manage to refresh my hair color in and around all the chaos (I couldn’t stand it anymore), and that made me feel better about everything.

Today is a truncated work day because of a Writers Center event tonight, and tomorrow I have yoga AND a mid-afternoon meeting.

So I have to be focused today.

If you’re writing a series or thinking about it, I hope you join “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series” running March 4-8, which covers the wide range of things you need to think about in relation to the series. Information here.

Devon

Tues. Feb. 18: Hard Work & Frustration with Corporate Morons

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Before we get into it all, hop on over for Anne Lange’s outstanding post on “Quality in Writing” over at A Biblio Paradise. Anne took several classes with me, and was a joy as a student. I’m delighted she’s doing so well.

Tough weekend. Got as much done as possible on Friday, despite many obstacles. Between the morons in customer disservice at N-Star and Verizon Wireless, far too much time is being wasted. Individuals who break the law and/or cause harm to customers CANNOT be allowed to hide behind so-called “company policy”, especially when those policies clearly violate state and federal laws. The companies need to be held accountable, but so must the individuals who implement such policies. If you’re too stupid or too cowardly to refuse when someone tells you to do something wrong, you are a danger to society and should be treated as such.

I had to spend way too much time dealing with stupid people, all across the board. How do these people even leave the house or tie their shoes, much less earn a living, when they can’t comprehend the simplest of instructions? I have no patience with them.

Worked Saturday, too, not sure if the power would stay on with the storm coming, and wanted to clear off a few things from my desk, including material for Confidential Job #1 and starting to work on some essays I need to get out this week. They’ve both been percolating for awhile, and since they are based on my own emotional experience (hence the “essay” bit), they take longer to develop.

Had an idea for the Dickensian steampunk that I want to play with, although I’m worried that the cast is getting too big. I think I have to do some work on individual arcs. I hadn’t looked on it as a series, but the way I’m building the characters and arcs, it sure seems that way. Which means I have to settle on a book-specific arc for this one to make it satisfying to stand alone, while still being a part of a series.

Which brings me to my course, “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”, running from March 4-8, which will help you develop your own series. Sign up here.
And please do NOT send administrative questions to my personal email — they go to the Administrator of Fearless Ink Workshops, which is why we have one.

I had a fabulous audition with the actress to whom I’ve offered the role of Joye in MURDER ‘SEALS’ THE DEAL, and I’m working on Teri casting today. I’ve got to get some tweaks into the latest draft, and then send it out later today. We go into rehearsals next Monday.

Sunday, we had another 8 inches of snow here. I wasn’t feeling well, so I spent most of the day on the couch, reading. I needed to replenish. I read a couple of John Dunning novels.

The opening to THE BOOKWOMAN’S LAST FLING is brilliant: “The morning was angry but I was cool.” What an awesome opening line! I’m going to use that as an example in classes. Now THAT is a line that keeps me reading.

Monday, I woke up at 4 AM, thinking it was 6 AM(don’t ask) and was on the road earlier than I expected. There wasn’t much traffic, at least until Providence, and it being a holiday Monday helped. I made great time to CT, picked up my mom, we turned right around to get back, stopping for gas, to eat, and to sell some books at the Book Barn in Niantic. Yup, as I’m going through some of these 250 boxes of books in the basement, I’m culling some to sell. I’m keeping most of the non-fiction and reference books, but the fiction — especially if it’s something I don’t really like or find memorable — is going out, so that someone who’s really enthusiastic about it can enjoy it.

Back to work today — I am not looking forward to what the day holds, but when it’s done, I will feel better.

Devon

Published in: on February 19, 2013 at 8:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 18: Hard Work & Frustration with Corporate Morons  
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Fri. Feb. 15, 2013: Rough Days

Friday, February 15, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Wednesday was a tough day all the way around. I can’t get into details, but the past few days have been very difficult.

I’m glad I made myself go to yoga yesterday morning. Although I had to be out there at 6 AM, shoveling 4 inches of snow! Still, getting to yoga was worth it.

Worked flat out yesterday, but I’m frustrated, because I’m not getting a pay-off, either financially or emotionally for a lot of this work. Financially, it’s a bit down the road (although I need it NOW). Emotionally — let’s just say I need to make some changes in my overall plan.

There are many things in my life right now for which I am extremely grateful, and, in most ways, I am happy with my overall life. But there is one section that needs some massive changes. I’m not sure how to do that yet, but I’m working on it.

More snow tomorrow — I’m suffering from snow fatigue.

I hope you sign up for my workshops, “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series” March 4-8. Information here.

The journal workshop winds up this weekend — I extended it a few days due to the storm. I’m delighted by the quality of the work in there — the students really take the concepts and run with them, in beautiful ways. This workshop has been a joy to teach.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Published in: on February 15, 2013 at 9:05 am  Comments (4)  
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Wed. Feb. 13, 2013: Auditions and Writing

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Worked flat out yesterday. The good mood from the good first writing session (on the Dickensian steampunk) supported me through quite a bit. I had a lot of catching up to do — amazing how much piles up when you CAN’T get online for a few days, isn’t it?

Caught up with students, which is the important thing. The Journal workshop had a rocky start due to the power problems, so I’ll keep it open through the weekend, making sure everyone can catch up.

Bill Keating’s office was very receptive to my views on the power issues, and I have a person to deal with directly. I’ll be submitting a proposal early next week to them with ideas on how to improve the situation in the future and prevent this from happening again — with consequences for the utility companies if they don’t start making improvements. It’s good to know that my elected representatives are actually representing me.

I’ve hit the point in the Dickensian steampunk where I need to sit down and outline the whole book. Some interesting subplots came up as I wrote the chapter I need between the first chapter and what I’d originally thought was the second chapter, but needs to be the third. I need to make sure I’ve got a coherent whole. A title would be good, too, but until I know more of its shape, I can’t give it an appropriate title. Hopefully, that can be handled today and tomorrow. I also need to do some work on the wacky proposal and take that to the next step, although my gut is telling me to take a more traditional route with it for creative freedom. The marketing-savvy approach will limit the creative portion, and there’s no telling which way will be more lucrative in the long run until we try it. So I’m approaching my top choice for the marketing-savvy option, and if it doesn’t interest them, I’ll go the more traditional route that gives me more creative freedom.

I need to print off the audition sheets and sides for tonight’s auditions for MURDER ‘SEALS’ THE DEAL — if you are a Cape Cod or South Shore-based actor, I hope you come by. Details and character breakdowns here. Hopefully, we’ll get a good turnout. I’m eager to get to work on this piece.

If you’re writing a series or interested in writing a series, sign up for “Prolonged Engagement”, from March 4-8, which deals with how to create/evolve a series. Details here.

Better get going — lots to do today!

Devon

Tues. Feb. 12, 2013: Home Safely, but Lots To Do

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Greta van der Rol has a wonderful article up on A Biblio Paradise about “Series and Sequels.” Check it out!

Exhausted. The blizzard hit on Friday. As of noon, there was a travel ban in MA (lifted late Saturday), and mass transit shut down by 3:30. We all hunkered down and let it snow. The trip to CT was postponed, thank goodness.

I managed to get as much work done as possible on Friday, while we still had power. The power went out about midnight-ish Friday into Saturday. Temperatures dropped pretty rapidly. The gas stove still worked, but the gas heat is run by an electric switch — which is crap, if you ask me, but no one did. We kept the house liveable by cooking on the stove and using the fireplace, and wrapping up in layers. We could have warm drinks and warm meals, which was a big help. We read all day, and went to bed early.

Saturday morning, a neighbor came over with the snowblower to help clear the driveway of the 15 inches or so of heavy snow that fell overnight. I couldn’t have done it on my own.

By Sunday morning, we could see our breath in the house. NStar was both rude and unhelpful. I got up early and got the stove going again, and the fireplace on, and we got the temperature up to a bearable level. I went out and shoveled the additional 8 or so inches of snow — this was light and fluffy, so it wasn’t bad. Then, I went and helped neighbors dig out, and they said I could have some of their firewood if I ran out. In other words, we all looked after each other.

The weather was clear up here, and our destination in CT had power, so I stocked up the feeders and waterers, had boosted the temperature up to comfortable, and left hot water bottles and down comforters for the cats. We loaded up the car and left just before 2, with the neighbors keeping an eye on house and cats.

The drive in MA and RI was fine. It was CT that was a disaster. On good days, CT’s DOT’s incompetence is astonishing to behold. This was out of control. The roads were barely plowed — the fucking idiots had let the plows get snowed in. How much brainpower does it take to place your shovels inside garages or warehouses so they can actually go out and do their jobs? Only a moron leaves them outside to be snowed under. On top of that, the plows weren’t shovelling the snow — they dragged on the pavement, sending sparks towards the gas tanks for the cars on the road. Add the glare of the descending sun, and it was a miracle we weren’t killed.

I was so stressed out I had McDonald’s for dinner. Was miserable three hours later, but it was good while I ate it!

Set up the computer, connected, and got some basics done that needed to be done — namely, cancelling yesterday’s auditions. If we have to cancel tomorrow’s, I don’t know how the hell we’re going to cast this piece. But I’m certainly not going to ask people to come out in dangerous conditions to audition in a building with no power.

Collapsed in exhaustion fairly early Sunday night. Up early on Monday. Managed to get out a deadlined piece before shutting everything down and getting back on the road, in rain and fog. Another nightmare of a trip home — I couldn’t make any time, CT was still a mess, and I had trouble getting gas in RI. Buzzards Bay was still in the dark, but I found a gas station and could refill before going over the bridge and heading home. Then, there was a problem on 6, so I had to take 130 & 28.

But I got home, and there was power. I unpacked, fed the cats, cleaned the litter boxes, let everyone know I arrived safely, and collapsed on the couch with wine and mac ‘n cheese. I was incapable of coherent sentences by then. The power was intermittent, going out a couple of times overnight, but this morning, I hope to catch up with everything, especially my students.

I had a good morning’s writing session the Dickensian steampunk, thank goodness, and I’m trying to reshuffle the projects to get everything done.

The cats won’t let me out of their sight.

What irritates me about days getting power back on is not the line crews — they are working their butts off. But management KNOWS there will be problems, yet doesn’t do anything to create ways to prevent problems. Their solution is to clear cut and get rid of all trees, which is total bullshit. Why aren’t they coming up with de-icing coatings that can be sprayed on power lines, or new technologies to prevent outages in the first place? Because there aren’t any consequences for long power outages and suffering, and their fat cat executives still get to collect huge paychecks, while the people who actually do the work are put in the same poor situations over and over again. The contract the power company has with the population is to provide power — not just when it’s easy or convenient. But to provide it ALWAYS. They should be innovating better ways of doing that, but as long as the top brass can collect their inflated salaries while regular people freeze and suffer, there’s no incentive.

I am in contact with my congressman’s office, because I have some ideas on restructuring.

Overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, but all I can do is work bit by bit.

Devon

Stay tuned for information on audition updates for MURDER SEALS THE DEAL.

Sign up for “Prolonged Engagement”, the class on how to develop a series, March 4-8, here.

Mon. Feb. 11, 2013: Tonight’s Auditions Cancelled

Tonight’s auditions for MURDER ‘SEALS’ THE DEAL have been cancelled due to the blizzard and subsequent power outages.

We expect to hold Wednesday’s auditions as planned and hope to see you then.

More information here.

Published in: on February 11, 2013 at 8:37 am  Comments (3)  

Fri. Feb. 8, 2013: Hunkering Down for the Blizzard

NMLC_Murder_Seals_the_Deal_LR-1

Friday, February 8, 2013
Day before Dark Moon
Blizzard Coming!

I was very stressed out yesterday, trying to get everything done. Originally, I was supposed to hit the road this morning to go to CT, and then come back Saturday. Well, it was pretty obvious I wasn’t going to go anywhere on Saturday, much less get back home, so I figured I’d stay down there until Sunday. Fortunately, the trip’s been postponed.

I’d much rather ride out a blizzard safely at home, with the cats, then be on the road, or, even if I outran the storm, somewhere other than home.

It means doing some work through the weekend in preparation for the auditions on Monday that I planned to do Monday morning, but that’s okay.

Worked as fast as I could yesterday morning, got my students all set up for next week, etc. Annoyed with a late-paying client, especially since this is someone who got in just under the wire on a special deal.

Had a great conversation with my director for SEVEN OF SWORDS. I’m excited about the whole thing!

Good meeting at NMLC — everyone’s excited about the play.

I’m hunkering down for the storm — plan to do lots of reading and writing this weekend!

Stay safe!

Devon

Last day to sign up for “Journal into Fiction”, Feb. 11-15. Information and registration here.

Sign up for “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”, March 4-8, here.

Cape Cod/South Shore actors, come audition for MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL Mon. & Wed. Feb. 11 & 13, 5:30-7:30 PM. Details here.