Congratulations on surviving the 15 Minute Musicals Launch! The road ahead will be intense, but rewarding. Stay focused, respectful, and above all - COMMUNICATE - and you'll have a great experience.
A reminder that the online hub of activity and information on the 15 Minute Musicals is at the NMI website. Here is the procedure for logging on:
1. Go to http://nmi.org and click the login link; and login with your NMI credentials
2. Find the section called 'Your Project Page Links', and then click the link to the page '15 Minute Musicals Project Page'
This is also where you will be uploading all of your files, starting with your OUTLINE which is due in 48 hours.
**This is an UPLOAD deadline only**
Deadline for bookwriter to upload outline to the appropriate folder on the NMI 15-MM page - in correct ANMT format - and also email it to email@example.com and collaborators. DO NOT PROCEED WITHOUT GREEN LIGHT ON OUTLINE.
Please remember to use the SAMPLE OUTLINE FORMAT, and to list which actor-type you intend to play which role. Also remember the simple but powerful adage: Musicals are about people who want things, what they do to get them, and whether they get them or not.
A gentle word of warning: please do not be surprised if your outline requires four or five or even six revisions before it receives a green light. We are well aware that the longer it takes to receive a green light, the less time the lyricist and composer have before their deadlines. However, experience has shown us that without a rock solid outline, the entire rest of the process is on shaky ground. As maddening as it is not to receive a green light, please trust the process.
HINT: READ the WARNING from your DRAMATURGE for tips on how to get a greenlight faster!
And PLEASE: take our admonitions about character descriptions and use of props seriously.
Regarding the characters – we asked you NOT to specify their physicality for a reason. We can’t promise you a balding, fat, skinny, wrinkled, whatever kind of trait you are describing. What you want to do is create character with PERSONALTIES – not physical traits. I invite you to be creative here. Rather than having someone’s self-esteem issues revolve around the fact that they are fat (which is just overdone) – why not have it revolve around something that they PERCEIVE to be an issue that isn’t necessarily even true and/or can be ACTED rather than needing to be physically true (like one leg is longer than the other one; or they are color blind; or they are afraid to look other people in the eyes – or ANYTHING that can be PERFORMED but doesn’t need to be CAST with a specific character type).
And finally – always remember that you want a lead character with a STRONG WANT (not something generic or non-specific) – and it needs to be something they can ACTIVELY PURSUE. You remember my Book Lab, right? If your want is to “be happy” – you can’t do anything specific to pursue that in this room at this moment. If your want is to be kissed for the first time – that is something you can actively pursue. Be specific. And make sure that the important pivotal moment of the show – in which your character gets what he wants; or decides to want something different; or learns something – make sure that moment happens IN FRONT of us (not in between scenes) and that your lead character is an ACTIVE PARTICIPANT in making it happen. In other words – make sure your lead character doesn’t just have things HAPPEN TO him. Make him an ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN HIS FATE.
**This is an UPLOAD deadline only**
Once you've received a green lit outline, it's time for the bookwriter to write a rough draft of the book. This is a ROUGH draft. Write it quickly. Don't agonize over polishing this dialogue -- there'll be time for that later. All you need to do is to accomplish the outline and explore the characters.
NOTE: At this point in the process, we have found that it is NOT useful for you to become 'inspired' and to deviate from the outline because you feel you have a better idea for how to realize your 15 minute musical. If you start deviating from your outline, you run the risk of following your inspiration and winding up with a new idea that, although potentially promising, is structurally unrealized and this will ultimately slow down your process. If you feel your inspiration is so great that you simply cannot accomplish the green-lit outline - then write a new outline and submit it for green light before you proceed. More likely, the better advice would be to make a note of your inspiration, and save it for your next draft, and keep focused on your goal at this moment which is to ACCOMPLISH YOUR OUTLINE.
Once the rough draft of the book is done, the whole team should get together and work on song spotting to come up with a proposed song list (no greenlight required for either the rough draft of the book or the song spotting!). Remember that the WHOLE TEAM should take part in this process, not just the lyricist and composer. Your bookwriter is a vital tool for making sure the song choices have a strong story function.