A table reading of my Flipper Girl script at the Gottwald Playhouse edged me closer to one of the hardest goals I’ve ever set: to sell this story about a webbed-foot, half-mermaid teen, which tackles bullying, diversity and environmental awareness with a sprinkling of magic.
It took several rewrites and many critiques before I could build the roadmap to the heart of the story. As I listened to a dynamic cast of actors breathe life into the characters, my heart could not stop smiling. The audience laughed at the right times. The actors read with conviction and nuance in a lovely 150-seat theater I never dreamed I’d sit in as a writer hearing my story unfold. My script was one of three presented by the Virginia Screenwriters’ Forum and its Actors Ensemble. Each writer had 30 pages of a script read.
To have actors excited about your story is a blessing. They created accents, spoke in unknown languages and read with passion. For 35 minutes, the actors helped the audience visualize a story that’s aimed at young teens but has universal appeal. At what age do any of us stop wanting to fit in? Or do we get better at it as we get older?
I experience a twinge of apprehension as I put my work out into the marketplace, where intellectual property rights are a slippery concept. But I believe in Flipper Girl and its themes of self-acceptance, family and environmental connections.
More than anything, I want to see Flipper Girl as a film or TV show. I join numerous others with that desire. I’m willing to put in the work, and the actors’ reading served as the momentum needed to keep moving forward. I have actors and audience members rooting for me.
Without a plan, goals are nothing more than dreams. I’m wide awake.