The Velocity of Story

Just finished writing the score for a 30-minute holiday musical, and in record time, at least in my book.  Four songs (7 including reprises) plus curtain call music for a project that was just a germ of an idea exactly one month ago. Carissa Meisner Smit and I were presented with a sudden production opportunity for a holiday short —if we could come up with a concept and working draft of a script within one month.  She and I hammered out the story; then she went to work on the book and on I on the songs, and after a good deal of give-and-take we realized that we had a lovely little musical on our hands. 

It can sometimes take me a month to write a ten-minute play, and anywhere from ten minutes to a couple of weeks to write a good song. So, what was up with this one? How did it fall into place so fast? Of course, there is nothing quite like a deadline to sharpen one's focus. But, more than that, I think we lucked into a nearly irresistible story: a kid with a heartfelt wish who takes us on a compelling journey of the heart, and discovers something wonderful about himself along the way.

This just reinforces for me the importance of story as the foundation of playwriting. Without a fantastic story, it's so easy to spin your wheels and go nowhere fast.