Steve B. Green

Steve B. Green

Steve is an actor/writer/director and an extremely experienced improv/sketch comedian. He is the co-author of the best-selling humor book, “Assholeology”, and many screenplays, some one act plays, many comedy sketches, and TIMESHARE. As an actor he has appeared on Tour, Off-Broadway, TV, film, commercials, industrial shows, and for many years with the Gotham City Improv Company in NYC and LA Connection in Los Angeles. He teaches acting and improv to kids and animals both at home and at the LaValle Actors Workshop.  Steve lives at home in mountains of Los Angeles with his wife, three children, two dogs, and too many freaking cats.

Writing, Producing, and Directing a Show With No Budget: The Timeshare Experience

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by STEVE B. GREEN

[dropcap]The[/dropcap] idea for Timeshare came during a short-lived survival job I had selling timeshare memberships. Like many, our family business had imploded during the “Great Recession” and I needed a paycheck. Then, a few months in, an “incident” unfolded involving a disgruntled customer, a pit-bull sales manager, some crazy sales people, and a knife. I remember clearly thinking, This is a play! And what’s more, Look at all these crazy characters I’m working with. It’s like a workplace You Can’t Take It With You. The incident had all the makings of a dark comedy about making a living in America today — the system, the ethics, the compromises. It was a story that was almost universal. The protagonist was me, twenty years younger… and handsomer, and somewhat better at sales.

I like to write my first drafts fast, and Timeshare took about three weeks. It wasn’t finished, of course, but the spine was there. Writing is re-writing, so I set about it. For me, it’s like sculpting: cutting and adding, and adding and cutting, and often, happily laughing out loud at my own jokes, hoping someone would hear me and ask, “What’s so funny?” I’m such a nerd.

We had the first reading of Timeshare at the LaValle Actors Workshop where I teach. I cast some terrific actors there, and they brought their best game. The reading was funny! My wife Dianne was so impressed that she insisted I get Timeshare produced. (Sometimes it takes a village, sometimes it takes a wife.) So I joined The Eclectic Company Theatre (ECT) in Valley Village, Los Angeles — a producers company without an artistic director, where members cooperatively produce their own work. (And it’s across the street from Shakey’s Pizza, too. Cool, right?)

Producing and directing Timeshare, I’ve learned a few things about making theater with no budget and volunteer actors and crew:

1) Have replacements/understudies ready. You’re gonna need them.

2) Be prepared to do anything yourself: sound design, house managing, fixing toilets, going on as a lead, etc. Did I mention fixing toilets? You probably will have to clean them, too.

3) A lot of people hate playwrights who direct their own work! I think it’s a club. (But hiring a director is expensive. I knew someone who would do it for free: Me.)

4) Believe in your project absolutely but be flexible; great ideas can come from anywhere. (And once the play is up, you can claim them as yours! One of the very cool things about being a writer/director!)

5) Don’t cast age, type or ethnicity. Cast great actors first. Then… (See #1).

6) Producers have to think differently. As a writer/director, you want what’s best for the play. As a producer, you have to put fannies in the seats! Seriously, I don’t read the newspaper first thing in the morning anymore. I read the reservation list.

Finally, I loved all of it. If you’ve done it, you know what I mean. And, I’m already working on the next one.


NOW PLAYING: TIMESHARE, through January 31 at The Eclectic Company Theatre.

timeshare iconTrying to change his life and save his marriage, Tom takes a job as a timeshare salesman. He learns the latest sales techniques, and hypes himself up several times a day with the “One Minute Sales Talk”. As he struggles with his learning curve and the ethics of the Timeshare industry, he is tricked and threatened by his co-workers, harangued by his boss, and seduced by the sexiest salesperson of all.

 

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