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' The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, March 10, 2011- 3B

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 3B

Scripting stage and cinema
Student playwrights and screenwriters
discuss their passion for the media
By Veronica Menaldi ( Daily Arts Writer4

IViva la Cuba!

How many hours does the
average student spend sitting on
the couch watching TV shows,
movies or even some form of
onstage production? Chances are
that even for the most devout fol-
lower of media, the time spent
watching a show is not even close
to the amount of time its writ-
ers have put in to create viewers'
Regardless of what type of
script is being produced, stu-
dents playwrights and screen-
writers spend countless hours
brainstorming, organizing and
restructuring their manuscript
to transform it into a beloved
LSA junior Minhdzuy Khora-
mi is constantly revisiting his
drafts. When working on scripts,
Khorami focuses the most on the
dialogue and the general flow of
the piece.
"I like to have that back-and-
forth between people; I crack
myself up with it," he said. "When
I'm talking to people in real life, I
like to script in my head what (I
think) they are going to say."
LSA senior Catherine Mac-
Donald enjoys developing her
characters to the max, gettingthe
nitpicky details mapped out.
"I will go through characters
like a therapist," she said. "I don't
think it's worth writing about
uninteresting people, so I like
writing about really compelling
characters that are a bit quirkier
or have something weird about
The characters are equally
important for Music, Theatre
& Dance freshman Tyler Dean.
When in the process of creating
a new script, he covers his room
with Post-it notes with ideas
about the journey his character
will go through from beginning
to end.
Though the generation of ideas,
dialogue and characters is similar
when writing for the stage and for
the screen, each has its own perks
and qualities that dictate what a
writer can make happen in his or
her proudest productions.
Penning for the stage
One of the treats theater writ-
ers benefit from is the immediate
* gratification of seeing their work
performed in its raw and real
Khorami has been interested
in scriptwriting since before he
started college. He has aspirations
to write for television but fell in
love with the art form of theater.
"It's something I can actu-
ally see right away," he said. "I

can get immediate feedback by
having it performed, so I started
working in that medium with the
stage and with actors instead of
onscreen since the stage is avail-
able to me."
Playwriting also allows lib-
erty in the writer's descriptions.
In the realm of television and
film, Khorami said, a lot more
attention needs to be given to the
visual aspects and what needs to
be shown.
Dean has always been inter-
ested in storytelling. Theatrical
scriptwriting also allows him to
exercise his interest in acting -
primarily musical theater.
"Music plays such a strong part
in telling a story," he said. "It's a
beautiful way to convey messages
that regular plays aren't able to do.
It also brings together different
sorts of art mediums."
Dean has worked on two full
productions as well as a short
one-act play.
His productions tend to be
full of intriguing characters and
out-of-the-box concepts. His first
musical was a parody on "Twi-
light" and the one he is currently
working on is about zombies.
But once the characters have
been established, the hardest
part of developing a script can go
beyond the actual idea generation:
What if you thought of something
that just can't seem to fit in?
"Editing is very frustrating,"
he said. "They say in writing you
have to kill your own babies. It's
really hard to do because you get
attached to every single aspect of
the show, so removing one tiny
joke or line seems like it can dam-
age the entire thing."
If there were to be a downside
to the scriptwriting process, it's
that it can be a rather daunting
and lonely task. But when the
script is actually finished, there's
a certain amount of collabora-
tion with the director and actors
- and this is when the script can
really grow and come to life.
"Once I've written it, it's kind
of out of my hands," MacDonald
said. "I like to see what happens to
it afterwards. You kind of have to
take the backseat once you're done
writing it,"
Though the skill of playwriting
is something that has to be devel-
oped, it can lead to many fruitful
"If you enjoy writing, playwrit-
ing is a really powerful way to tell
a story as a performance piece,"
MacDonald said. "It's something
that's difficult, but if you get it,
you get it. It's really fun, and the
end result is really rewarding and

LSA senior Greg Wachtenheim is working on a sci-fi film insipred by dolphins.

Writing for the boob tube
and the silver screen
Playwriting, of course, isn't
for everyone. Maybe the stage,
costumes and live audience don't
draw potential writers in, but
the possibility of having special
effects and creating something
easily distributable is more up
their alley.
LSA senior Jim Graessle, a stu-
dent TV scriptwriter who aspires
to enter the TV writing world
professionally, has always migrat-
ed toward screenwriting due to
his interest in having full control
of a story and being able to create
an entire world.
"Everyone wants to be a
director, but a director really
takes someone else's stories and
mutates them," he said. "The
writer creates everything; it's the
writer's job to create."
TV writing is a continuous job
that influences the storyline of
the show. Another aspect that
pushed Graessle 'into the field
is the possibility to work with a
group of writers, whereas film
scriptwriters tends to work on
their own.
Aspiring scriptwriter and LSA
junior Matt Kane, on the other
hand, is drawn to the particular
perks and annoyances of movie
For him, the most frustrating
part of scriptwriting is know-
ing that his works likely won't be
made into a full-on reality. But
that doesn't stop him from trying
to bring laughterto those exposed
to his works.
"I mostly write comedy," he
said. "Stuff that I can show to
anybody so they can chuckle or
get any sort of emotional response
- that way I know I'm at least on
the right track."
LSA junior Caitlin Northcutt
prefers writing for film over tele-
vision because it allows her to
recount something from begin-
ning to end.

"You get to tell the full story,"
she said. "You don't have to break
it up and hope you get another
season to tell your story. You also
get a bigger budget on movies, so
you can do a little bit more than
you could on television."
Her experience with script-
writing has also given her a new
perspective as she watches TV
shows and movies. She said she
now sees more than just the story,
but what went in to making it look
the way it does.
LSA senior Greg Wachtenheim
has worked on both films and
television scripts and is current-
ly writing a science fiction film
inspired by dolphins and a televi-
sion series focusing on the rela-
tions of random people in a co-op.
In order to make his scripts
as real as possible, he has done
outside research to back his con-
cepts. For instance, Wachtenheim
visited his friend's co-op and
spoke with some of the residents
to get a feel for the dynamics in a
typical house.
According to Wachtenheim,
one of the most frustrating parts
of scriptwriting is knowing when
some joke or scene that the writer
loves has to be removed. The goal
for having a successful film is to
make sure the script is as good as
it can be.
"If you don't shoot something
the right way, the humor might
be lost," Wachtenheim said. "You
want your script to be as good
as possible because the trend is
that it's only going to go downhill
from there. Since the best stories
are written, it's hard to align your
visions properly."
Despite all the differences
between theater and screen, most
scriptwriters are content work-
ing for either medium. Aspir-
ing student scriptwriters might
find the career field competitive,
but with patience, the right con-
nections and baby steps into the
profession, they could end up
making it big.

Whitewashed from
the inside out, Frita
Batidos onW. Wash-
ington St. must have been some
Tom Sawyer of a job tocomplete.
The new-
est venture-
from former
"Top Chef"
Eve Aronoff,
this self-
"snack bar"
has been LILA
stirringup KALICK
buzz since
In January, Aronoff
announced that her other restau-
rant, French-influenced Eve in
Kerrytown, would be closing. But
ever-resilient, she decided to go
against the old "Top Chef" adage,
it's time to "pack up your knives
and go."
Instead, she has blessed us
with her newest project - a
Cuban-inspired eatery that even
in its infancy seems to have
enough steam to carry itself past
the ephemeral stage of restau-
rant-hood. Frita Batidos's relaxed
atmosphere and host of unique
flavors provide the perfect com-
bination to suit the cosmopolitan
tastes of its Ann Arbor clientele.
Inside, customers order at
the bar, then take a seat at the
communal-style picnic tables
where waiters bring meals on
individual trays. People seemed
to be complaining about the seat-
ing style, which to be honest, was
a bit uncomfortable, but not a
The choice of white walls,
fluorescent lighting and stain-
less steel serving platters might
have proven oppressive, buta
series of tropical touches, like a
large painted flower, fresh limes
cradled in net hammocks hang-
ing at the edges of the tables and
a floor-to-ceiling window lin-
ing the entrance save the space
from feeling too sterile. In fact,
the whiteness is surprisingly
enjoyable. It contrasts pleasantly
with the colorful food before
you, allowing the meal to take its
rightful place as the main event.
In terms of cuisine, Aronoff
cooks up her take on some
Cuban classics. The eatery's
featured dish, the frita, is akin
to a burger - but beyond. A tra-
ditional Cuban frita consists of
ground chorizo grilled in patty
form, served on an egg bun with
shoestring French fries on top.
Frita Batidos's interpretation of
the sandwich is available in the
conventional chorizo form but
also in turkey, fish and vegetarian
black bean versions.
Aronoff's frita comes with a
lovable portion of shoestrings
on a brioche bun. Mayonnaise

spreads in sweet chili, lemon-
scented and chipotle varieties
accompany and can be ordered
on the side. If you're bold, you
can order it "loco" - adding lime
salsa, a fried egg, coleslaw and
Muenster cheese to the mix. It is
Fried plantains are the perfect
addition, tossed with cilantro
garlic butter. A pitfall of plan-
tains is that they're often too oily.
These aren't - they're surpris-
ingly light, almost tangy. One
order will cost you $6, but they're
bigenough for three to share.
Frita Batidos also prepares
some other notable sandwiches,
like the "Inspired Cuban," which
features lemongrass-roasted
pork, thick-cut bacon, ham,
Gruyere cheese, cornichons and
their chipotle mayo on Cuban
bread. The open-faced grilled
cheese, an equally exciting
option, is made with Muenster,
tomato and red onion on brioche.
Batidos, the other half of the
joint's name (so they mustbe
important), are shakes made with
fresh fruit and cream milk sweet-
ened with honey. They come in
avariety of flavors, like mocha,
sour orange and cajeta - goat's
milk caramel, which is also used
to make some of the restaurant's
coffee drinks. The coconut cream
batido is not to be believed.
Each comes with its own mini-
umbrella. Who doesn't love a
mini-umbrella? Impractical but
appreciated - feels like being at
the beach.
Eve Aronoff's
newest venture.
Also impractical, and a little
misguided, is the way Frida Bati-
dos serves its juices. Ginger-lime
juice comes in a plastic bag with
a straw. But the juice inside is
great - spicy and sweet, simulta-
neously. It will leave you wanting
more of it and less of its absurd
A diverse breakfast menu
contends with the regular fare. I
choose the veggie Cuban omelet
- stuffed with black beans, Pica-
dillo and Muenster cheeses. The
dish was served atop a banana
leaf with spicy potatoes, guaca-
mole and rum-soaked pineapple.
It was, in aword, heavenly. Also
worth complimenting is the
coffee. The drinks available are
unique and flavorful, a good
break from the regular routine.
All in all, breakfast was the per-
fect speed, snazzy without trying
too hard.
Despite minor kinks in pre-
sentation, like faulty juice pack-
ing and picnic table seating that
See KALICK, Page 4B

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LSA senior James Graessle hopes to become a professional TV screenwriter and likes the continuous and social nature of TV writing.

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