Dramatic Adaptation

Jane Eyre – Live Virtual Performance

Jane Eyre – Live Virtual Performance

I had the an incredible opportunity to join the Elora Community Theatre’s Virtual Playhouse for their Live YouTube rendition of “Jane Eyre” this week.

This was an extremely ambitious virtual production, where each actor not only totally performed their part – each from their own home – but did so in full makeup, full costume, and with having to manage all of their own tech as well. In this production, not only was each actor responsible for their performance, they were also responsible for setting up their lighting and sound in the most clear way possible, and swapping their backgrounds around based on what scene they’re in.

In a regular theatre, there’s someone in a booth whose sole job it is to change the lights, cue scene changes, and run the sound board for music and SFX. There’s a stage manager to oversee everything happening on the boards, and a crew to change the scenes and hand off props, or help with quick costume changes. A regular theatre crew would consist of someone to oversee acquiring props, making or altering costumes, overseeing hair and makeup, and working as an acting coach.

For this production, the actors were in charge of all of that – except for the directing and the sound cues, both of which were run virtually from the home of the co-directors. And while I took the lead in hair design for the cast, it was up to them to make it happen.

It was an extremely ambitious project, with lots and lots of moving parts. My script was so colour-coded with cues for myself that it was like looking at a Pride Parade every time we rehearsed. And speaking of rehearsals, there were only eight!

I am so, so, so proud of what this team and all of these creators achieved. So proud. This is one of the only theatre companies in the world (that I’m aware of) that is doing full-set, full-costume productions of plays virtually via Zoom, streaming live on YouTube. And this is especially incredible because this is an amateur troupe of volunteers.

I hope you enjoy watching what we worked so hard to achieve. (There were some technical glitches in the show, but that’s the joy of live theatre, isn’t it?) Happy watching!


JM FreyJane Eyre – Live Virtual Performance
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ANNOUNCEMENT – “The Skylark’s Saga” has been picked up!

ANNOUNCEMENT – “The Skylark’s Saga” has been picked up!

There’s a saying in the military which is also particularly apt for the publishing business: “Hurry Up And Wait”.

It means things can happen in an instant, all of a sudden, and need your attention now now now, and when the rush is done you just… wait.

After a weekend flurry of emails back and forth, contract slinging and review, negotiations, and finally signing, I had to wait two whole months to announce this deal!

Back in November, I had a meeting with a television writer who had come to me to discuss the rights for The Skylark’s Saga . She’d read the first book (as well as some of my other work) and saw great potential for the tale to be translated into an older-teen/YA aged animated series, rather like The Dragon Prince or She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, but aimed at a slightly older audience.

We met in a pub and talked about all of her ideas for the series, and with my agent, hashed out things like compensation, deadlines, and contracts.

And I have been sitting on this news since then!

So what does this mean? Basically, a shopping agreement is not a dramatic adaptation option. The studio Alpaca VS Llama has secured the rights to make a package of materials based on The Skylark’s Saga  – treatment documents, series outline, character designs and illustrations, and a pilot script – for an animated series to take to production houses and networks. They ‘pitch’ this idea, and if someone picks it up, then it becomes an option.

Right now, I’m working with studio head Elize Morgan to fill in her questions about the backstories of characters and the worldbuilding (yes, she’s got book #2 already… no, I can’t share it with you yet. 😉 ) and from there she’s going to start working with an illustrator to figure out the best way to mock up our beloved characters.

I’m extremely flattered by AvL’s interest in the series, and wish Elize all the best when she heads out to start sharing the world of the Skylark with potential studios and channels.

JM FreyANNOUNCEMENT – “The Skylark’s Saga” has been picked up!
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