A quick blog update… and my first script reading session

Happy Monday everyone! As you might’ve noticed, I haven’t been blogging much. Well, this weekend I caught a nasty cold… y’know, the constant sneezing, runny nose, etc. Luckily I don’t have a fever or cough but still it sucks and my nose is raw as I forgot to buy Kleenex w/ lotion on them :\

Well, some of you might’ve heard about my screenplay that I finished last July. On the spur of the moment I made this graphic just for the fun of it… little did I know I end up using them for the script reading months later.

So, I thought I’d share a bit about the reading. It pretty much came about when I met Joanne (JoJo) Liebeler at one of the TCFF after parties, who happens to be the president of MNWIFT (I mentioned in this TCFF recap) She kindly offered her beautiful home for the reading and almost immediately we started planning for a reading in mid January. Thanks to my dear friend Kirsten Gregerson who helped me with casting, and she also did a splendid job reading a few supporting roles!

I had gone to only one reading before and it was a pretty big one. I’m glad my friends and I decided to do a small reading, there were only about 23 people, including the talents. It’s such a privilege to have Lucinda Winter from MN Film & TV Board, and Andrew Peterson from IFP MN among the audience. I had been fretting about the weather as MN Winter is so unpredictable, but thank the Lord that Sunday ended up being pretty warm and sunny!

Top (from left to right): Shawn, Peter, David, yours truly, Kirsten, Sam, Holly, Noah and the narrator, Remy) – Thanks to my hubby Ivan for taking the photos!

We were so blessed to have been able to cast the seven talents plus one narrator. I’m especially thrilled to have Remy Auberjonois, an accomplished actor/filmmaker who’ve been in major Hollywood films and did theatre on Broadway with the likes of Philip Seymour Hoffman narrated the reading. I had featured him on my blog when he did the MN indie feature Blood Stripe (in which Kirsten also had a supporting role), one of my top 30 picks 0f 2016. I’ve also just seen him as Col. Brandon in Guthrie Theatre’s Sense & Sensibility last October. Remy added such gravitas to the reading with his commanding voice. The narrator is such a crucial role in the reading, and I couldn’t imagine anyone better to do the job.

The female lead Lily was played by Sam Simmons, a local tv host for EVINE Live whom I met back in April at MSPIFF. She happens to be from the UK who moved to MN a year ago. My story is set in the UK w/ British characters so it’s cool to get an actual native Brit as one of the leads. She’s absolutely brilliant as Lily. Not only does she look like who I pictured Lily to be, she also sounds lovely and conveyed the emotions of the character very well.

The handsome leading man Peter + gorgeous leading lady Sam
The handsome leading man + gorgeous leading lady

Again, thanks to Kirsten we somehow landed a massively talented Twin Cities actor Peter Christian Hansen as the male lead, Jacques. He’s starred in a bazillion plays in town in which he won two Ivey Awards, as well as a few film projects. He did such an amazing job as Jacques… he’s got a bit of a bad boy edge that makes him perfect for the role. Given his extensive theatrical background, he also gave a very expressive performance, complete with gestures, instead of just reading the script! There’s such a scorching chemistry between Sam and Peter too, which is electrifying to watch.

If you’re interested about the actors bio, you can view the flyer here

I absolutely LOVE every single actor who read the script… THANK YOU Peter, Sam, Kirsten, David Coral, Noah Gillett, Shawn Dunbar and my lovely friend Holly Peterson! It’s quite surreal to see my story came to live thanks to their performances. Thanks to Ted and D.J. for taping the reading. I’ve watched it a couple of times already and I’m still amazed at even the subtle performances of the supporting cast… even just saying a simple line of ‘Would you like a playbill?’ gets everyone laughing, well done Holly! 👍

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Now my plan is to make a short film of Hearts Want… hopefully to have it wrapped this year yet. It’d be awesome have the same cast from the reading, so fingers crossed that would happen.


We did shoot the short film in mid April. Here’s the blog update… and you can always follow the Hearts Want journey on Facebook!

In terms of blogging, well I will try to keep posting about once a week. But you will see more guest reviews for the coming months. Suffice to say, I may not be blogging about Oscar nominations tomorrow… it’s just too much going on for me right now to do so.

Wish me luck with the short film project, we will likely do the crowd-funding route to help with financing, so hopefully I can count on you kind and generous people to help out 🙂

Well that’s the scoop folks. You could say I have my work cut out for me.

53 thoughts on “A quick blog update… and my first script reading session

  1. Excellent, Ruth! So happy you are following your creative path. I’m sure I speak for most of your readers and contributors in that you have our utmost support! Keep at it. It should inspire the rest of us to follow our art wherever it leads us.

    1. THANK YOU Vince! And thanks for introducing me to DJ who’s super awesome. If he’s there, tell him about the post as his pic is there 🙂

  2. PrairieGirl

    Hey Flixy, it was an awesome reading and loads of fun! I was so happy to be a part of it, I’m still thinking about it a week later. Now on to the short, best of luck!

  3. This is AMAZING Ruth! I’m so happy for you. I know this is something you’ve wanted for a long time and I’m so happy that you not only finished your script but that you’re having such success with it.

    1. Thanks Drew. I actually never imagined to have a script reading until my friend JoJo mentioned it, let alone seeing it come to life in such a way. It’s truly exhilarating, I feel blessed that it all came together the way it did.

    1. Thanks Shivani! Really appreciate your support on the blog, you are a doll! Well, one of my characters said ‘I don’t give a f*ck about the Oscars!’ ahah, but y’know, I still might post my thoughts on it, though it’s probably a short post 🙂

    1. I posted it in the flyer actually, there’s a link to it in the middle of the post 🙂 But here it is again:

      “Two actors who were once intimately involved reunite seven years after they parted ways… for a limited-run play by the director who first brought them together. Old feelings resurface, but moral obligations and a secret from their past complicate matters.”

      It was perfect to have theatre actors among the cast, esp. Peter who actually shares a lot of similarities with Jacques in terms of his passion for the stage.

    1. Oh that would be great Paula! Oh actually, I only stole the title from my own pitch ahah, the synopsis for this one is entirely different. That one would be too difficult to film for a newbie like me. I forgot to mention about the title, but hey, I’m flattered you remembered! 🙂

        1. Did you read the synopsis of the new Hearts Want? It’s on the comment I posted to Cindy above. I think there’s not enough romantic dramas being made these days. So it’s an homage to classic, heartfelt, character-driven love stories, set in the world of theatre 🙂

  4. This is fantastic news Ruth; congrats on getting to this stage of the project. You’re doing something I wish I’d done back in the day (one day, maybe…); I’m chuffed for you. Keep us apprised of what happens next 🙂

    1. Hey Mark, yes it’s beyond what I imagined how far it’s gotten. Hey it’s never too late to start Mark, I mean I’m gonna be 42 next month, surely you’re much younger than I am. Well, there’s already progress since the reading, I’ll keep you posted if you’re interested.

  5. Holy crap Ruth!! This is so awesome!! Congrats congrats! I’m so jealous of your connections 😛 Though my story is still unfinished. And it isn’t a screenplay which will make it harder to ‘sell’ in any way =/ But, first I gotta be able to say, I’ve finished it!

    But seriously, major congrats. This must be such an awesome feeling!!

    1. Hi Jordan, long time no chat 😉 Well thanks man, I am truly blessed to have found such amazing people through film festivals along the way. They undoubtedly helped me put everything together, from opening their home to casting the talents… I never thought I’d ever make it this far. I’m fortunate that so far the feedback on the script has been positive, but hey as they say, it’s never really finished. Well, I’ll definitely be doing a short film this year… I never thought I’d be doing that either, it’s so overwhelming but super exciting. I live on adrenaline 😛

      1. Long time no chat indeed. I’ve been a bit unwell for this month.

        That is so cool Ruth, I’m so, so happy for you!! 🙂 Curious, how did you learn to write screenplays? Cos I’d much rather write something like that than a novel, a) because I love film so much, but also b) its the more popular medium.

        I can’t wait to hear more about your project!

        Again, congratulations. You deserve it!

        1. Hey there Jordan, sorry it’s been a hectic weekend, hope all is well w/ you.

          Actually, just a year and a half ago I had no idea how to write screenplays, ahah. In fact I started my initial script in Google Doc 😛 But I downloaded a whole bunch of them and studied ’em, I pretty much studied everything online. This site is a good resource to learn about screenwriting https://screencraft.org/ (where I got the screenwriting software from) and https://www.stage32.com/lounge/screenwriting has some great discussions. I’ve tried writing a novel and it’s about 65% finished but I struggled with the ending. Now that I’ve done a reading, I know I’d rather write screenplays than novels. To see my story come to life being performed by such talented actors, nothing could be more thrilling. I’m still reeling from the wonderful reading, and it’s been over two weeks! 🙂

          Well I can email you more as the project progresses, it’s on to the short film now, hopefully I can get it done this year yet! #fingerscrossed

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  9. This brought back memories of first readings with many young playwrights I have worked with on new theatre plays over the years…it’s so nerve wracking and fun, that first time you hear them spoken by actors I think. Fab blog.

    1. Hello Martin, sorry for the tardy reply. How cool that you’ve had script readings sessions as well. I wish I knew how to write plays though my film script is quite dialog-heavy. I nearly spontaneously combust the first few minutes of hearing my script came to live, it was really exhilarating! Thanks for the kind words.

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