The Afterglow of Success

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Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” -Francis of Assisi

The last of a three part blog about author/playright Jorge Avila will be featured on All Things Fulfilling today. Before Christmas I interviewed Avila about his newfound sucess as a playright. To read the beginning of the interview, please go to from Local Author to Playright and Advancing the Story.

Sue: So what does it feel like now that you have stepped away from all the excitement of seeing your musical played out on stage?

Jorge: There is a little bit of sadness and a let down because it is easy to get carried  away with all that goes with on in the world of L.A.  But we aren’t done yet. My vision for this musical is even more than that.  I have been offered a huge opportunity at the end of September and the first two weeks in October. The production will return to California as part of at the Hispanic Heritage Festival. For four weeks, in four different districts, I am told that 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 people will attend the festival annually. Do you believe that?

Sue: And I understand you received special recognition during the three day run of the musical. What night was that?

Jorge: On the  middle night of the performance, I and the director and musical composer, Caleb Encampos, were each given certificates of award from the City of Los Angeles for work in advancing the arts. It was very exciting.

Avilas certificate from City of LA

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Sue: What can you attribute to the success that you have had with Maricopa Men in Pink?

Jorge: It was a long five years but I never stopped believing that I had a quality product and it was a matter of getting it into the right venue or environment.

Sue: What’s on the docket for the future? 

Jorge: I have two more musicals I am working on and a book but, I would like to do something more with the local high school here in Steamboat. They did a Powerpoint presentation about my book’s storyline with the English as a Second Language (ESL) students. I’d like to put together some sort of workshop. We will see, I’ll have to put more thought into that. And I’d like to take the musical to Chicago. That’s where I’d  really like to see it.

Sue: You have been in a whirlwind for six months or more. Perhaps with a little time off, your visions will become more clear. Now that you have stepped away into a quieter environment, here in Steamboat, you can ponder it.

Before Jorge and I said our goodbyes  I told him how he is a shining example for other independent publishers to press on and not to give up. Although he mentioned feeling a little let down now that things were over, I saw a huge afterglow of success on his face and in his exuberant voice.

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow when we begin the countdown till the New Year! We will be fulfilling 2016 with new possibilities and opportunity!

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Advancing the Story

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We need to look hard at the stories we create, and wrestle with them. Retell and retell them, and work with them like clay. It is in the retelling and returning that they give us their wisdom.Marni Gillard

Avila and wife MaribelLast week I sat down with author and playright Jorge Avila, a member of We Write Steamboat, to discuss the gigantic leap of success that he has just experienced. To read a short summary of his musical, please go to the blog from last Thursday.

(Photo left: Jorge Avila and his wife Maribel)

Jorge had just returned a week previously to his hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado from a very busy six months in California. His live theatre musical, adapted from his book Maricopa Men in Pink had a three day run at the Plaza de la Raza, Cultural Center for the Arts & Education on Mission Road in Los Angeles. Avila was ebullient as he answered the questions I had for him to learn more about his experience. Here is part of our discussion about going from local author to playright in a very short few years:

Sue: Jorge, when was Maricopa Men in Pink published? 

Jorge: In 2010 it was published. A short time afterward I sent it off to a friend who is a stage designer in L.A. to get his opinion. He reviewed it and gave me some feedback about adapting it for a play. I decided that my vision for the work was a live theatre musical production. So I rewrote it exactly 2 years, nine months ago in script format along with song lyrics. Caleb Encompos, a resident who helps with the music program at the Christian Center here in Steamboat, composed the music to accompany the lyrics. I approached the Chief Theatre here in town, but it didn’t seem to be the right venue. So,then we sent it off to three production companies in California. 

Sue:  So, what was the response? 

Jorge: I’d like to say that there have been few  Latino or controversial political musicals that I am aware of other than In the Heights and Hamilton and the Book of Mormon. So I was happy to even get a response and it was positive response from two of them. I chose one of the production companies that I felt best understood my vision. I was offered a small sum of money from the production company, but I took half of that because I wanted to be directly involved in the entire process, so that the final product would be what I envisioned.

So, I began over the next six months going to L.A. one week out of every month. For the next six months, Caleb Encompos and I chose vocalists and actors for the live musical production. Once we heard my lyrics put to music and saw it performed by the actors we had chosen, there were some tweeks that were made before the opening.

Sue: So, tell me about the three night run.

Jorge: The turnout was outstanding compared to what I had anticipated. I was told for an unknown author/playright, typical sales would be 60% of the seats. The first and third nights we had 95% of all tickets sold, and the middle evening 75%. Surprising, considering I read in a New York Times article that out of 318 million Americans, 58 million agreed with Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s handling of inmates in Tent City Jail in Arizona. Seventy eight million disagreed, and the whole rest of the population knew nothing about the news story.

Sue: How did that feel? To see your musical come before live audience like that?

Jorge: Surreal! I feel flattered and proud but it was very stressful. I even started up a bad habit – smoking. I hadn’t smoked in six years and I ate too much and gained a little weight.

The musical was even mentioned on National TV on Spanish stations. While we were waiting for the production to begin on opening night, I stepped outside and there were 120 people in line to get a ticket – to my show! I couldn’t believe it and I counted every one of them!

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The rest of this interview on All Things Fulfilling will be posted the week after Christmas. Do return because we will be talking about Avila’s rewards in terms of personal fulfillment which were a result of his determination, persistance and his belief that what he had was fitting for a quality live musical production that still has great potential for future audiences. We will be sharing more about his special award from the City of Los Angeles also!

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

 

A New Musical: Allegiance

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Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved and differences resolved. ~ Bernard Beckett

allegianceHave you heard about the  American story now being played out on Broadway? Allegiance is a real and important tale of the Kimura family who came to America after World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Similar tales of family bonds, duty and defiance, hope, loyalty and the power of the human spirit could be told by 120,000 other Japanese-American families who fled their country in search of a new tomorrow in the United States of America.

George Takei and Tony® winner Lea Salonga star in this live theatre production. To read more about this live musical production, visit the website.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Film Friday: Grace Unplugged

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 “In the rhythm of life, sometimes we find ourselves out of tune.” ~ Azgraybebly Josland

grace unpluggedLet’s start the morning with a little movie trivia on this Film Friday. Alabama is the setting for Grace Unplugged, a new movie that will be released in theatres on October 4, 2013. Parts of this movie depended on a lot of extras, however, the producers found that Saturday filming made it difficult to recruit the people needed. Why? People were unusually disinterested – it seemed they didn’t care about getting their “mugs” in the shooting of a movie for cinema. That’s because the movie was filmed during football season in a state where the sport is King.

So, what is Grace Unplugged all about? A young musician who has found her audience yet outside of her community of fans, she is undiscovered. In her desire to become a top recording star Grace rejects everything she has ever known and moves to Hollywood in search for stardom. Are there elements in her previous life that will help keep her grounded?

The name of the Director, Brad Silverman, may be familiar from his other movies “No Greater Love” and It Really Happened: The Flight of Apollo 11 (TV documentary short).

Put this film produced by Lionsgate on your list for fulfilling fall movie viewing.

Click here for info & ordering Grace Unplugged
Have a good weekend, everybody.

Return on Monday to All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton LeonardClick for info on Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com . The space where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business.

Clearing the Way

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“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Are you person who has always had an artistic calling, yet you have never pursued your passion in earnest? You are not alone. There are many people, for various reasons, who have had to travel down other career paths feeling they have not fulfilled their God-given talents.

Matt Tommey book1The book Unlocking the Heart of the Artist: Practical Guide to Fulfilling Your Creative Call as an Artist in the Kingdom speaks to this issue for the new generation of people who seek personal fulfillment as a priority in their lives. He invites others to live fully, doing what makes them happy, and to become “unstuck” by expressing themselves creatively.

The author, Matt Tommey, is a successful basket maker and art consultant from Asheville, North Carolina. His sensible messages to other artists, through his publications, helps clear the way of self-doubt by providing hope and insight to individuals who wish to thrive and become fulltime artists. His book Crafting your Brand: Simple Strategies for Cultivating a Successful Creative Career, is also a good resource for anyone who wants to pursue their calling.

A well-rounded artist, Matt Tommey,  makes a living in a combination of ways, also offering workshops on the craft of basketry. To learn more about his workshops,  how to order these publications and to see his website,  http://bit.ly/1bpQhI9 .

Do return tomorrow for Film Friday, we will be featuring a film that is soon to be released that plays well into our recent topics of writing on All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Good News for an Indie Bookstore

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“Once a year, go someplace you have never been before.” ~ Dali Lama

In a time when brick and mortar bookstores are struggling to stay in business, there is good news in the northeastern part of the country. Northshire Bookstore, in Manchester Center, Vermont, an independent bookstore that has won top honors from Publishers Weekly Magazine, just spread it’s wings and has opened in a second location, in a second state.

Saratoga, New York, the site of the new Northshire Bookstore, is a thriving community, the home of SkidmoreCollege. http://www.skidmore.edu/ The town has a vibrant performing arts center (SPAC), http://www.spac.org/ as well as many shops and galleries throughout town. The SaratogaArtCenter http://www.saratoga-arts.org/ teaches workshops and hosts artists in residence. It is also the summer home to many horse racing enthusiasts.

There are many reasons to visit this region. Saratoga is in the Adirondack Mountains region with sparkling lakes nearby for summer recreation. The town boasts of seventeen healing mineral springs, which were first found by the Mohawk and Iroquois Indians.

Next time you are in the area, stop by 424 Broadway and see the newly opened Northshire Bookstore. http://www.northshire.com/ If it is anything like the retail store in Manchester, Vermont, it will be stocked with all kinds of fulfilling reading and it will be well worth your visit.

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Photo Above: Pre-Opening of the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga, NY

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. Tomorrow we will be sharing stories about art in a different part of the country. Do return to All Things Fulfilling.

Film Friday: Comeback of an Era

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Any good comeback needs true believers.”  ~ Unknown

drive-in-movie-theaterDo you remember going to the drive-in movies? I love looking back at those nostalgic times of going to the movies with my parents in my pajamas, car packed with snacks, and watching the big screen outdoors, with excitement, till I finally fell asleep in the back seat of the station wagon.

Most drive-in theatres have been demolished. There are only 355 left nationwide according to Las Vegas-based Drive-ins.com, which tracks the industry. In the State of Michigan there has been a resurgence of drive-in theatres. Think about it – with jumbotron screens, like those you see in sports arenas, at concerts, and in Times Square, reviving outdoor movie viewing may make sense in more ways in one!

Reliving a bygone era makes for a fun bonding experience with family and friends. Using land that has been sitting vacant, for drive-in theatres, must be cheaper than building behemoth buildings to house cinemas. Downside is the short season for outdoor movie viewing in some climates.

Zhivago2Imagine watching Dr. Zhivago with snow falling all around you (the real thing) as you watch the ZhivagoDVDmovie!

Interested in rewatching an old classic, Dr. Zhivago? Click for info & ordering

That would be a unique experience. Perhaps there is an untapped niche of people, like the “polar bear club” who would find going to drive-in movies year round fulfilling. Social networking groups, enthusiasts who appreciate the art of the drive-in movie experience, in all conditions, might be the next big thing to spring up. You never know in this creative and interesting economy, perhaps we shouldn’t put drive-in movies in the museum of dying giants yet! http://bit.ly/12GKFTK .

When was the last time you went to a drive-in movie? In Michigan there are people who might answer that question, “very recently.” To read about the comeback of drive-in theatres in Michigan, visit this link. http://on.lsj.com/13QDldB.

Come back on Monday to All Things Fulfilling, the space for independent thoughts, words and views from CFS (www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com). For information on author Sue Batton Leonard, Click for info on her memoir