#Santa Table Read

Yesterday afternoon writers from our critique group, local actors, and friends joined us at Laura’s house for a table read of our #Santa screenplay. Laura’s terrace was decorated with a crab pot Christmas tree, and a small tree graced the table. The weather was perfect with a light breeze off the Miles River.

#Santa tableread

Our critique group members had read some of the screenplay over the last few months, but for others at the table, it was their first exposure. It was wonderful to see the expressions on their faces as the story unfolded. We were interested in which lines got laughs, and which got sighs. After the reading was finished, we had more critiques about the pacing, the characters, and the unexpected ending for a Christmas movie.

I was particularly pleased by the comments of Mike, a local actor (one of the fabulous leads in the recent Easton production of Kiss of the Spider Woman), who thought the lead character in our script, Scarlett Cross, was strong, independent and feisty. Would Laura and I write any other kind?

After the reading, we feasted on burger and dogs on the grill, drank some wine and had good conversation. Then we cut the cake!

#Santa cake


Log Lines and Stale Sandwiches

Log lines don’t really have anything to do with stale sandwiches except in my universe. On her way to my house to work, Laura stopped by the local convenience store and got a sandwich and chips for lunch. She booted up the computer she leaves at my house and while we waited, she opened her ham and cheese on white bread. She said she’d really wanted a tuna salad sandwich, but there weren’t any.


I’d have to be starving before I’d eat tuna salad from a convenience store, but she never seems to get sick. However, today the bread and cheese were dried out and she deconstructed her sandwich as we settled in to work on a log line for our latest Christmas movie script titled #Santa. (She ought to just ask me to make her some tuna salad. It would have vegan mayo in it, but I get terrific tuna in oil at Trader Joes. However, she’d have to bring her own bread ’cause we don’t eat gluten and never have bread in the house. Maybe that’s why she goes to the convenience store.)

It seems like writing log lines should be easy. We’d finished the script so we knew the story, but the process of telling it in a few words was painful. Two and a half hours later we had something we liked: A cynical “reputation manager,” with a roster of crazy celebrities and a staff of social media savants, is arrested and sentenced to community service answering letters to Santa – or go to jail.

We’ll sleep on it and see how it looks in a couple of days.

p.s. It’s now two days later and it still seems pretty good.

Download Speeds. Bah, humbug!

Ten year ago I never gave a thought to download speeds. I’m not sure I even knew what they were. Now I know more than I want to, and the bottom line is mine suck.

We have Verizon DSL which in the past has seemed okay. We live in a rural area of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and DSL was better than the dial-up I had when we first got on line with email.

Our download speeds seem to have gotten slower and slower over the last six months and I finally had our Staples tech guy, Travis, out to take a look yesterday. I thought it might be our router, my computer, something I’d done to the mechanics of my set-up. Why I would even think it might be something I had done is a whole other blog post. When I was in therapy years ago, I actually did figure out why I “rush to guilt”, but knowing and not going there don’t always mesh.

Anyway, Travis checked everything out and the problem is the incredibly slow dsl. 2.5 megabits per second. He said it should be at least 25 megabits per second. I had Verizon on the phone to talk to Travis while he was here and they were totally unhelpful. Their tech person didn’t seem to know the difference between megabits and megabytes. The final conclusion was that’s the best I can expect because of where I live.

I wouldn’t have worried about it so much except that I’m responsible for the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference website and most days can’t get on Homestead to fix it. The other afternoon, by some fluke, I was able to get on and make most of the needed changes to the website. As dinner hour approached, I told my husband it was a YOYO night (You’re On Your Own). I knew if I logged off, I might not be able to get back on for a week. Then at the end I got a message that my changes couldn’t be saved. I opened a bottle of wine.

However, the next time I was able to get on, the changes were still there. I am grateful for small and large miracles. This was a big one.

I have been checking options. I have two. Cable (Atlantic Broadband) or a hotspot. I’m probably going to give Atlantic Broadband a try since there is no contract and no caps on downloads. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, I may try a hotspot. Or move to Easton where Travis tells me Easton Utilities has good internet connection service.

None of these problems were on my radar fifteen years ago. Has my life improved? As a writer,  having Google to use for research is incredible, but spiking my blood pressure may not be a good trade, so I called Atlantic Broadband and they will send somebody out to see if we can get hooked up. Just internet. Not doing phone or cable with them. They got lousy reviews when I googled them.