Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: My Year in Review

2014: you were a beast. A rollercoaster. A fatherfucking, piston-pumping, adrenaline racing, agonizing, triumphant ride of glory. I do these reviews to remember, express gratitude, review what happened, what went according to plan, what was a surprise, disappointment, and how to plan/allow/flow better.

JANUARY
-At the top of the year, my roommate said I had to move out because his mother was moving in. This was a huge relief. I knew he was lying but I was happy to go along with it because the last few months had been excruciating, awkward. I had to sit by and watch a downward spiral in his finances, and attitude. I welcomed the opportunity to leave the apartment and immediately began looking. It would take me until the first or second week of February to find a new place, with a lot cooler people: fellow artists.
- I started dating a guy who I vibed with emotionally, intellectually, and physically. The relationship would run its course for the next 6 month and end mutually when I was going away for the summer. Very happy, because it's the first time in years I've been in a somewhat stable relationship for an extended period of time.
- My first biz trip to LA: YAY!! I actually really enjoyed this. Paradigm set up the meetings, I plugged them into my calendar, did my due diligence/research and mounted my best charm offensive.  I wasn't faking it, wasn't forcing my smile, or suppressing my NY judgmental cringe or sneer. I actually liked the people, but I might be rose-color glassing it. But nearly 11 months later, I still hold that I enjoyed myself, the people, and the interactions. It was good to see some of the execs at the major networks, to drive around in a car, enjoy clean food. Met up with Dylan for the first time in years. Good times.
- Finished edits on the "Generation Debt" video. Results are mixed. I liked some of what came out, but I thought other areas looked sloppy, particularly some of the lines and the audio. It was a rushed project that was rescued in the editing room and through savvy acting and some improv. For some reason things didn't gel as well as I envisioned. I need to revisit this and learn from the experience. The client appeared to be happy...overall. They, too, were distracted with other projects. It just felt like we were all overbooked, over committed at the start of the new year. But what we ended up with was a B+ results...which is fine but not my best.
- "Hansberry/Baldwin" selected as a semi-finalist for the O'Neill Conference.
JANUARY HIGHLIGHT: My drama "Freefalling" won 1st prize at the InspiraTo International Short Play Festival in Toronto. Prize money and key spot in the festival during the spring. 

FEBRUARY
- Moved into new apt. The building is busted but the people are great. I tell them that I will probably only be here for 6-12 months. If I move out it will either be at the beginning or end of summer.
- I finished "The Green Hills of Cambodia" on Super Bowl Sunday aka the day that Phillip Seymour Hoffman passed away from a drug overdose. I ate at Potatopia (yum), lamented on the loss of a great talent, and then made my way to the Juilliard computer labs. Nirvana: the lab was completely empty and the Super Bowl was a blow out so I focused 100% on finishing the script. I was crying, pacing, getting worked up over the scenes. When I finished I knew I had something. Now, the question is will anyone give a black man a chance with a script about the Cambodian genocide? Maybe 2015 will reveal more. But I know the script is banging and important.
-my first time celebrating an actual Valentine's Day with an actual Valentine. Niiicccee!!
FEBRUARY HIGHLIGHT: Finishing rough draft of "Beasts," Revise the following month to present at Juilliard in the spring in class and playtime lab.


MARCH
- Belarus Theatre and my play "Article 119-1 is presented in a few different countries this month.
- I get to sit in on a dress rehearsal of "Lady Day at the Emerson Bar and Grill" with Audra McDonald in the lead. Glorious. Broadway glorious.
-plays "African Americana" and "Don't Smoke in Bed" are selected from readings and workshops in London and Amsterdam respectfully.
-bring my first draft of Beasts" into Playtime and then Juilliard class. It's well-received. Now to the rewriting cave!
- "Freefalling" selected to be published by DPS. I sign contract.
MARCH HIGHLIGHT: 20th anniversary celebration of Marsha and Chris leading Juilliard's Playwriting Fellowship. Gala, speeches, I get to sing (yes, ma'am). Agents Rich and Andrew come out from LA, even though I warned them that this was just a one-day celebration.

APRIL
- "Africana Americana" goes up at Theatre 503 in London. Thanks to Lydia Parker and so many others.
- finish first act of musical "Mandela/De Klerk."
- "Don't Smoke in Bed" has a reading at Orange Tea Theatre in Amsterdam. Well received.
- my birthday and I get to go to the Whitney to celebrate. Yaasss!!
- binge watch "Breaking Bad." Best. thing. ever.
- email "Beasts' to agents. Surprisingly, everyone reads it very quickly and responds back in a positive way.
- I get to see Jen Silverman's play at Cherry Lane and Brandon Jacobs Jenkins' "Appropriate."
- Broadway plays: "Act One, Cripple of Inishman. Bullets over Broadway." Loved it all, although I migh've been drugged into positive vibes for "Bullets."
APRIL HIGHLIGHT: going to Bennington College for presentation of "Article 119-1" followed by talkback. Nice trip. 

MAY
-my play "Morehouse Men" selected in Fade to Black festival in Houston. Yes!
- "Freefalling" goes up in Toronto at InspiraTo Theatre
- I decide to move back to Queens apt. Old roommate is leaving.
- end of Juilliard semester
- reading excerpt of "Obama-ology" on Juilliard's Playwrights night.
- "Obama-ology" selected for Juilliard's New Play Festival in September.
- I get to see "An Octoroon!"
- wrote pilot for "The Book of Kings."
-nominated for Sundance TV lab
- Athena Theatre does a table reading of "Beasts." Very powerful and helpful. Now to rewriting.
- go to the Gauguin exhibit at MET. Love it.
MAY HIGHLIGHT: my play "Defacing Michael Jackson" wins Lincoln Center's Act One Contest.

JUNE
- my Juilliard e-publishing proposal selected for emerging business program at school. Given mentor in the fall for development.
- move back to Queens
- leave and go home to Miami
- have to come back for BAX artist-in-residence final round interview
- talkback with Lama Chunzom about 3-year retreat and experience.
- JUNE HIGHLIGHT: selected as artist-in-resident at Brooklyn Arts Exchange for 2014-2015.

JULY
- go back to Miami to write and plan
- 2nd business trip to LA: meeting production companies. Get linked up with a few cool companies and producers. Another fun trip. No complaints, good meetings, good vibes.
- JULY HIGHLIGHT: selected for the "I Am Soul" fellowship at National Black Theatre for 2014-2015.

AUGUST
- more LA meetings
- Ferguson erupts and white people become aware: 'hey, these cops are beating up and killing blacks. Huh. Who knew?' Black people did.
- rehearsal for "Obama-ology" at Juilliard begins.
- Uncle Ben passes away and I go back to Miami for the funeral.
- met with theatre producer in NYC through agent.
AUGUST HIGHLIGHT: selected as fellow for the Dramatists Guild's 2014-2015 program


SEPTEMBER
- back at Juilliard for fall semster and last year of fellowship!
- "Obama-ology" has workshop at Juilliard.
- "Obama-ology" selected for workshop production at Finborough Theatre in London.
- start regular BAX AIR meetings
- start BAX AIR rehearsal for new writing
- go to Dramatist Guild Gala in honor of last year's fellows
- start Dramatists Guild fellowship
- TV development deal in place
- start and finish "War and Peace."
- go on month-long Facebook hiatus until I finish War and Peace. Glorious
- weird stomach ailment appears for a few weeks and then disappears
- start going to dance classes at Juilliard
SEPTEMBER HIGHLIGHT: gratitude of health and love. Start taking creative non-fiction class.

OCTOBER
- publishing of "Freefalling" in DPS anthology
- bring in "Running on Fire" to Juilliard class. Well received. Start revising.
- meet with Atlantic Theatre Company
- meet with Williamstown Theatre Festival
- saying goodbye to John Adams: producer, surly patriot, friend.
- OCTOBER HIGHLIGHT: Oberon  signing on to publish "Obama-ology" as a book.

NOVEMBER
- "Running on Fire" goes up in lab.
- write short play "Mississippi Goddamn" for ATC in Chicago.
- interviews for BBC and The Independent for "Obama-ology" in London
- Radio City's "Christmas Spectacular."
- also get to see "Whiplash" "Dear White People" and MET exhibit on first African American films.
- meeting other London artist via google video and connections.
-see Lypsinka and too many incredible plays to list.
NOVEMBER HIGHLIGHT: work in progress presentation of "The Gospel According to F*ggots" at BAX goes very well. And I get to see other resident artists and their incredible projects.

 DECEMBER
- "Boxing the Sun" selected to be published in Proscenium Journal
- bring in full-length version of "A Family Manual for Kwanzaa" to Juilliard. Very well received. And back to revising!
- great reviews for "Obama-ology" continue to come in.
- finish bringing first act of "Storytown, USA" at DGA.
- finish rough draft of "The Zoohouse" for the National Black Theatre.
- saw too many great plays to list but enjoyed almost all of them.
- Maxamoo Year in Review Podcast. A lot of fun, reliving the year with other theatre people on-air.
- fun meeting with Erika in Gramercy. Yay!!!
- get to go back home to Miami
- plan out next act of "The Gospel According to F*ggots"
- met with directors for "The Zoohouse."
- flurry of submissions to 15 different fellowships and contests before the end of 2014.
- "Obama-ology" mentioned as 'little gem of a play" in British Theatre Guide's 2014 Highlights of London Theatre.
- offered writing gig at The New Republic.
- finish second short play for ATC: "Putting Wings on a Pig."
DECEMBER HIGHLIGHTS: Reliving this year and having gratitude for it all. 









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