Lakers versus Celtics, Game 7 of the NBA Finals, in Los Angeles, California, and yet even epically congested freeways in every direction under the summer sun could not stop Grain, its live reading nor esteemed attendees: after all, the show must go on.
With the help of event producer www.logliners.com, Alejandro Seri was able to hold a table reading for his original spec screenplay, Grain, about “a struggling American photojournalist in the middle of a messy separation who goes on the road with an aging Mexican matador to document Baja’s gritty world of minor league bullfighting.”
The intimate table reading of the entire script was casted with professional actors by CAA, for an audience of 25 Hollywood executives.
Hosting the event was the Showbiz Store & Café, who provided the venue, food, and beverages. In addition to Logliners and the Showbiz Store & Café, other sponsors for the event were Patron, Script magazine, and Final Draft, Inc.
Due to the aforementioned “trafficus horrendous californicus”, the actual reading got off to a late start, which offered a wonderful opportunity for execs, actors, and others to shmooze beforehand in the store area, surrounded by various screens, multimedia devices, screenwriting and filmmaking books, and filmmaking software.
When the time came, all corralled together curiously to the larger room upstairs, above the store, where were set the seats and tables. On the far wall, a steady stream of large, projected images displayed constantly, silently—black-and-white images of a bullfighting ring, a matador’s costume, Mexican scenery, and other pictures to hint at the world of Grain.
Before the reading commenced, Seri addressed the audience, “This is a project that’s been with me ten years: it’s the movie I’ve always wanted to make. This is the film that made me want to be a filmmaker.” Practically tremulous with excitement and anticipation, Seri finally sighed, “Sometimes you have to roll the dice and say ‘fuck it,’ go after that dream.”
With that, the reading began. All eyes affixed to the long two tables at the front of the small room. While some actors only had a few lines, the two principal actors and the action narrator ably conveyed both the narrative and emotional arcs of the script. Audience laughter was frequent and genuine enjoyment emanated from the actors to be performing the material.
By the end, the audience was roused—downright jazzed by the story they had just experienced for two hours—an experience not quite movie, not quite stage play, but something entirely magical within the mind.
Soon, gods willing, the funds would be found to bring Seri’s vision to a far larger audience. And so, like a matador in the ring awaits the bull to charge, Seri now coils his body, eyes focused, ready for the next step—to “go after that dream.”