So my friend Juan Carlos Hernandez, the actor-director-producer who gave me my first breaks as a bona fide screenwriter, texted me the other day to tell me about a project that he and his wife, actress-producer Adria K. Woomer-Hernandez, are currently working on.
“We’re doing a musical comedy revue about the COVID-19 pandemic that we call El Grande de Corona, and we would like you to contribute something to it. Interested?”
“Sure,” I texted back. “But I’m not sure what I can add. I’ve never done musical comedy before.”
“Well, just think of something. A joke, a visual gag….You come up with something, even if it’s just one line of dialogue, and you get another credit to add to your filmography.”
I wasn’t exactly brimming with confidence, but I was willing to give it a try. I mean, in the film industry, you don’t get “cred” without at least some credits in your resume. So I texted Juan back: “I’ll give it a shot.”
I still have not mastered the fine art of comedic writing; to be honest, if Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss is in any way funny, it’s more due to the tweaks and rewrites that Juan, Adria, and their son Anthony did than anything I did, although they still kept as much of my original concept as they could.
So I haven’t tried to add a crap-ton of new material in the way of complete scenes or dialogue.
I did, however, come up with a parody of Paul Anka’s song for the 1962 film The Longest Day that fits the theme of El Grande de Corona.
Now, I’m no Paul Anka…and definitely not a great parodist like “Weird Al” Yankovic, but I did give it my best shot.
I am not going to post the complete lyrics to either version of the song (Anka’s real one or my parody of it) here, but I will give you a “tease” to give you an idea of what it might look/sound like if Juan approves it:
I listened to a choral performance of Anka’s song while reading my lyrics, and happily, they not only fit the melody almost seamlessly, but they make sense!
As soon as I finished writing The Longest Days – I actually had the basic idea down a few days ago and came up with a first draft in less than an hour – I copied two sets of lyrics (Anka’s and mine) and sent them to Juan via email. Then I texted him to let him know what I was sending him.
“Tell me more, tell me more!” Juan replied.
“I sent you an email with the lyrics. Feel free to tweak them if you need to!”
I haven’t heard from Juan yet; I texted him some time ago, but it’s Sunday and he might be busy with the rest of the revue or simply enjoying some family time with his wife and son. So, stay tuned!
Juan texted me back around 3:30 PM Eastern and said that he likes the song. He even asked how he should sing it during filming. He could probably go for either a Paul Anka-style performance, or more like Johnny Cash. We still haven’t finalized that, but, ladies and gentlemen, he likes the song. Really!