VENUS LIVES AND MONSTERS DIE / by Eric Emma

“We are the music-makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams”

 

            Most folks know this famous verse from Willy Wonka, but it is originally from the poem “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy. While writing the scripts to my latest project, “Calico M.D.”, I was searching for a quote that encapsulated the feeling/struggle of the story. “Calico M.D.” tells the story of an ally cat and her quixotic dreams of being a doctor. The quote has always struck me in that it manages to communicate that hope that we can strive for something better. However, reading the actual poem from where it came brought far deeper revelations that I did not expect.

             The poem describes in rousing detail the mystical power of story and art. Art’s ability to conjure grandiose empires from the past and its ability to move civilizations forward, but it also captures the deep sadness inherently in all art, and us: that it all must pass to dust. That all that is beautiful must fade. As we stare at the ruins of all that was once was great, we can really come to only one conclusion: striving for greatness for the sake of greatness is a pursuit for children. When I stare into the eyes of other artists… I mostly see death. Most of these undead warriors can be found wandering the graveyard known as Hollywood.  

            For the last several years, I’ve worked on a variety of projects in a variety of mediums.  Some highlights include helping produce a feature length doc that got picked up by PBS and being part of the writing team that adapted “Pretty Little Liars” into an interactive mobile comic book. In addition, I’ve produced quite a bit of my own content with two of my film shorts this past year having been screened at various film festivals around the world. I also work as a producer at a cutting edge new media start-up and I teach artists story at the International Center Photography’s New Media Program.

             All that to say, I’ve worked a lot of different ends of this story-telling game and picked up a lot of different skills. The question became though as I earlier mentioned, “Why am I doing this?” I am an empath. It is a struggle to get thru a day without taking on the pain of all I see in this world. Story is the only place that I can truly make sense of it all, while also having fun letting my imagination run wild. I do not want to validate the status quo with my work. Like most I want to scream at the top of my lungs at how humanity has let me down continually and yet, there is still hope in the individual. I want to tell MY STORIES no matter how weird they are. I want to find other people who want to tell stories that help them make sense of the world.  

            This was the breeding ground of THE VENUS RADIO THEATER CORPORATION. The time is now to do something big and it has nothing to do with money, success, or fame. It is about doing something meaningful and important. I am creating a radio theater podcast to help bring unique stories to life from not only me, but other immensely talented writers. The idea of a radio theater was born out of a want to continue to do something different, but to take a tangible step forward to a sustainable creative future. I wanted to create a place where exciting work could be incubated rather than hunted, killed, skinned, and displayed lifelessly.

            Our purpose at Venus stands antithetical to the market place’s purposes. We are not giving you what you want, we are giving you what you need/yearn for. It is fundamentally asking its artists, “Why are you doing this?” If there are no fans, there is no money, there is nothing, but simply, the creation, are you committed to this? It’s asking us to value our work and to dive into creation without a safety net.  And in that truthful place, it is where we want to create. My journey is inward. Each project that I take on is simply my trying to get better at my craft as a storyteller to better express myself and to take my audience on an intimate journey, and to understand the world better.

            The Venus Radio Theater name was inspired by the great Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater. Currently, we are hard at work at releasing a podcast series that will present a variety of different stories in a theater-like format. Some of the stories will be written by myself, but they will also be written by other extremely talented writers that I’m very honored to be working with. We currently are finishing production of the three-episode story, Calico. M.D. and prepping scripts to enter production in early 2019.

            The future is bright with projects and opportunity, but, I am reminded of the ending of “Ode”, “For each age is a dream that is dying, Or one that is coming to birth” I consider this the end of the road for Neurotic Monsters Productions and that era of my life. When I graduated Tisch in 2012, I left without a clue on how or what I was doing. Neurotic Monsters was a bold initiative to create and more importantly, figure out how to create. However, once you figure that out, the next question is why are you doing what you’re doing.

            I have developed a confidence and a rhythm to my work. The work has elevated another step and with it, more changes. The Venus Radio Theater Corporation is an actual tax-paying company. The projects are bigger in scope and, there is a plan on how everything is to be released. There is no going backwards, only going forwards. With that, I say good bye to monsters and hello to Venus.