Dec 22, 2021

***insert “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” melody here***

 “You better sign up,

You better not wait,

It took me 37 days but the Summit made me late

Santa School is coming to town!”

It’s the Hump Day before Christmas and we’ve waited a few weeks for just the right amount of Christmas spirit in the air to share PART 3 of our “30 Day Script Challenge: From Skeptic to Believer!” series.

If you don’t have time to go back and read Part 1 or our Susan Stroman-inspired Part 2, here’s the elevator version: I started work on my new musical (based on my adventures at Santa School- really, read Part 2!) on November 1st with the goal of taking November’s 30 days and turning them into musical theater tinsel. 

Let’s go ahead and get it out of the way if the title didn’t clue you in-  it took me 37 days. I’m blaming it on losing a week to planning my wardrobe changes for the Summit, because that is definitely where I lost a few days, and my general need for a day away from the computer each week. Add those up and we have about a week of time away from schedule. 

The victory in that for me personally is the commitment to still finish the plan as I saw myself missing writing days. To combat my guilt, I began calculating the number of days instead of dates and when I cowardly typed “FINALE SONG GOES HERE- THE END” instead of lyrics on December 7th around 11:56pm in an attempt to beat the clock, I was truly astounded. 

It worked. It TOTALLY worked. The first draft of That Santa School Musical! is complete.

Is it good? No. 

Is it done? Yes. (also yes I’m giving myself grace on those finale lyrics)

Will it be ready by December 2023 when it will have a WORLD PREMIERE? You better believe it will! After this experience with the 30 Day Script Challenge, I believe I can do anything. 

I have never been a fan of challenges (crippling fear of failure- more on that back in Part 1) so what mattered (to me) was not beating the clock, but beating my tendency to abandon plans. Don’t get me wrong- there is MUCH work to do. Act 2 is a mess, there are lyrics to develop, and at the time of this writing, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer has rejected 3 versions of the song I wrote for him. But the first draft is done.

Thank you Ken, you’ve made me a believer. 

Are you ready to take the challenge, TheaterMaker? January 2, 2022 seems like the PERFECT time to start, right? Give yourself a day to rejuvenate from New Year’s Eve festivities and jump in! Here are 2 tips from my journey to help get you going:



It was about Day 4 (of my writing days- not book Day 6) when I found the perfectionist in me wanting to go back and fix things instead of moving forward in the story. Day 6 I was stuck on trying to write perfect lyrics. Day 10- when I found “critical me” judging how cliché my writing was- I decided to just laugh at myself and write bad dialogue. “This is insane, who writes an original musical in 30 days?” I thought to myself as more terrible lines appeared on my screen. 

What I found was every so often, something magical would appear on the screen. Something beautiful, something that captured the joy of the Santa School I visited in October. I shared a few of these pages with the couple that runs the school and they called me in tears. 

Sometimes being bad gets you to something really good.



This tip is inspired right from Ken’s book. My BBBs (I needed an army) were my LIFESAVERS. Knowing I am prone to abandon, I enlisted several friends to check in on my progress with the show and read bits along the way- even to laugh at how bad it was. Most importantly- and Tip of the Week email readers will recognize this week’s advice from the late Michael Bennett- I am collaborating with the director from conception. I’m hoping to skip over a few drafts by having my favorite directorial mind shepherding the piece from page one. Especially with December 2023 looming. Two years may seem far away, but remember 2020? 

I’m not the only one celebrating this week! TheaterMaking master puppeteer Charlotte Anne Dore has the feel good story of the Christmas theatermaking season:

“Opening night of ‘Holiday Tree’ was live streamed, captured on a three camera shoot (and I) can’t wait to see the copy of it. I wrote the show in 2020 as part of the 30 day writing challenge. It has changed a bit in rehearsal but now is evolving as an audience starts to watch and enjoy!”

We’re thrilled something GREAT came out of 2020. Way to take on the challenge during one of the most challenging years of our lives. We love to see it!

And finally, Jaxson Mackling is on the TheaterMakers NICE list after this post from our Facebook Group:

 Okay TheaterMakers- challenge accepted, challenge completed, challenge extended. It’s your turn to see what all the FUN is about! We’ll be watching the Facebook Group in February for your victory laps. 

Have a great holiday weekend and check back next week for our final Tip of 2021!



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