If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the creative process, it’s that every show or film or artistic venture needs a hard-ass; meaning, someone who will look at the project with an outside eye and give a special kind of good, hard constructive criticism that can make the difference between producing something that is genius and something that is sheer ego run amok.
Today, in the harsh post-Tony light of day, I am forced to be my own hard-ass. And it’s time for my notes session on web...blah...log: the musical! I know, you all thought it was perfect... but Spielberg thought A.I. was perfect, too, and we all know how that turned out. So here goes:
HARD-ASS: Yeah... nice first draft.
ME: Thank you. Wait, what?
H-A: I’m just going to dive in with my thoughts from the top of the show. Do we need the chorus? A good chorus costs a lot, and I don’t know what we gain by having these warm bodies who seem to have no real connection to the protagonist.
ME: Well, I think that an opening number shouldn’t be a solo...
H-A: Good for you. That’s what I wanted to hear. Defend your choice with purpose. Still, we should work on defining the chorus somehow, and maybe have them come back midway through so they’re not just generic musical bookends.
ME: But midway is Andy Rooney.
H-A: I’m glad you brought that up. Kids today don’t know who that is.
ME: Yes, I know, but he’s the only person who really fits that “I gripe for no good reason” model.
H-A: Okay, so then you need to set him up better. Like when you hear, Hey! It’s TV funny man Peter Scolari! You should say, Hey! It’s Andy Rooney of “60 Minutes!” or Hey! It’s CBS News legend Andy Rooney!
ME: Did Andy Rooney ever actually do news?
H-A: 60 Minutes is a news show. He sits behind a desk when he does his bits. I don’t know... I’m just spitballing.
ME: Okay. I’ll do the Hey! It’s Andy Rooney of “60 Minutes” line.
H-A: And that’s how you could bring the chorus back -- as the correspondents.
ME: You mean like, I’m Mike Wallace, I’m Morley Safer, I’m So-and-So? All this and Andy Rooney coming up now?
H-A: I don’t think you can legally say that. But something like that. Or they could stand behind him and do the tick-tick-tick-tick sound during his song. You don’t have to say they’re correspondents. They can just wear suits.
ME: That’s not bad.
H-A: There are some lyric scans that could be stronger, too. Like, in that in the sad ballad that the Blogger sings right before Andy Rooney, it should be I could have made my blog into a whore, not I could have made my blog a whore. It lines up better with I could have done it all another way. Oh, and instead of how do you write a wrong, I think it should be how do you un-write a wrong.
ME: Yes. Oh, that’s much better.
H-A: Well, slightly. I still don’t like the pun, but anything to help an ingenue’s ballad.
ME: You do realize I only wrote the thing in a few hours, right?
H-A: I didn’t think it took that long.
H-A: Oh, and the blog character has no setup at all. Maybe you can add a song for a chorus of commenters, and that can be the impetus for the blog’s feelings of emptiness.
ME: You mean like this, right after the opening number?
BLOGGER: Gosh, blog! It’s so amazing to have you out there in the Blogiverse!
I write about soup and I say that it’s salty
My name is Kimmando, ur logik is faulty
(modulates a half step)
I’ll joke about film from the view of an actor
I am a fan... also am a detractor
(modulates another half step)
Here is an essay about how my prom went
I am the whole world and I have no comment
(modulates another half step)
A story about the minutiae of pie
BeeBuzzer08 says... pancakes!
BLOGGER: Don’t listen to them. I love you, blog!
And then it goes into the blog saying “I know” and all that. What do you think?
H-A: Um... sure. You know what? I have to go.
ME: Really? But we were doing so well!
H-A: Yeah. Yeah, kid. You keep at it. I’ll get back to you.
ME: Oh. I know what that means.
H-A: It’s okay. They can’t all be gems.
ME: Don’t I know it.
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.
You can view the complete revised musical here.