Would you like to read this screenplay? Buy a copy for $15:
Here are some illustrations from the screenplay:
Above is an overhead view of “Heaven” by day. Below is “Heaven” at night.
SCREENPLAY READING PARTY
As part of the screenplay writing process, a public reading of the screenplay was done on November 23, 2010.
Here is the press release about the event:.
PETALUMA SCREENPLAY READING PARTY 11/23
Petaluma entertainer Christopher Linnell is hosting a Screenplay Reading Party at The Aqus Café at 189 H St. at 2nd in downtown Petaluma on Tuesday, November 23, 2010, from 7:30-10:30 p.m. The event will feature a cast of live actors reading roles in Linnell’s new, original screenplay, “Hell in Heaven” (Draft 9). Food and beverages will be available for purchase, but the event is otherwise free and open to the public.
“HELL IN HEAVEN” is about a young man who attends an annual art festival in the Nevada desert with his family and friends. He’s looking forward to music and costumes and lights and art and sex and fun! He gets all that, but he also gets more excitement than he bargained for, and must come to terms with death, destruction, violence, and his own concept of himself and what’s truly important to him. Will he collapse and give up, or will he have what it takes to get himself and his family and friends through life-threatening ordeals? Find out by attending this free reading party. Note that this event is for ADULTS ONLY, as the movie to be produced from this screenplay will be RATED R.
CHRISTOPHER LINNELL, proprietor of Christopher & Co. Celebrity Impersonations at http://www.HireAStar.net, has been a professional entertainer since 1974, performing at private parties, corporate events, county fairs and festivals, and throughout 14 of the United States. He worked as a Sonoma County radio and television personality in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, and joined the Screen Actors Guild in 1992. Linnell has worked as a model and actor in San Francisco, and, to date, has written, directed, produced, and performed in thousands of radio and television commercials and programs locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, as well as a variety of feature films shot on location in San Francisco. Linnell has also worked as a tour guide in the Wine Country, Yosemite, and San Francisco, and as a freelance writer, reporter, columnist, and commentator.
Linnell began his first screenplay back in the 1980s, and in the years since has sketched out treatments for a variety of others, but was never able to devote the time necessary to complete a screenplay. He was recently inspired by one of his entertainment clients, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (Flashdance, Basic Instinct, Sliver, Showgirls, etc), to put a story idea he had at the Burning Man festival in 2009 into screenplay format. Hell in Heaven is Linnell’s first completed screenplay.
A cast of local actors will read parts in Hell in Heaven, as Linnell hosts and reads all the stage directions. Screenplay reading parties are frequently used by screenwriters as part of the writing process, to give voice to the writers’ words, provide feedback from the actors and attendees, and to provide an exposure opportunity for the screenplay, the screenwriter, and the actors. Invited guests at this reading include actors, writers, illustrators, directors, and producers, as well as Linnell’s colleagues, friends, relatives, and those of his cast of actors.
The performance location, AQUS CAFE, at http://www.AqusCafe.com, is a well-known local venue for artists displaying their work, and co-owner John Crowley’s nightly line-up includes a wide variety of musicians, plus poets, comedians, yoga instructors, open-mic and trivia nights, and all sorts of community gatherings, including Saturday Morning Music and Tuesday Afternoon Philosophy. Aqus Café was created to foster community; it is a watering hole, a gathering place, and a conversation room.
The Aqus Café’s impressive menu includes soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches, paninis, all with an international flair, plus gluten-free and vegan specialities; beverages range from coffee, tea, cocoa, and juices, to beer and wine. Prices at Aqus Cafe range from $3.75 for soup to $9.25 for the Sonoma Smoked Duck Panini and $9.50 for entrees ranging from Eggplant Parmesan and Meat Lasagna to Polenta Pie and Chicken Enchilada Casserole.
While this event is free and open to the public, space is limited, so it would be wise to reserve seats by sending an RSVP to HellInHeaven@HireAStar.net, because the door will be closed when capacity is reached. Please include your name, phone number, e-mail address, and the number of seats desired. Also, to reiterate, this event is for ADULTS ONLY, as the movie to be produced from this screenplay will be RATED R; the story contains violence, some implied sex, alternative lifestyles, and the script itself includes language not appropriate for children.
For more information about “Hell in Heaven” or this event, contact Christopher Linnell at 707-762-2596 or Christopher@HireAStar.net.For information about Aqus Café, contact John Crowley at 707-778-6060 or John@Aqus.com.
The press release above attracted the attention of http://www.Petaluma.Patch.com journalist Rayne Wolfe, who took the opportunity to interview Christopher and feature the “Hell in Heaven” Screenplay Reading Party on the very first day of her brand new blog:
Shooting from the Hip: Local Writer, Improv Comedian Hosts ‘LA-style’ Reading
Celebrity impersonator, comic, actor and writer Christopher Linnell unfurls his new script. Audience participation encouraged.
Celebrity impersonator, comic and actor Christopher Linnell has convinced Aqus Cafe to go Hollywood for a night.
Linnell is hoping that a professional “L.A.-style” screenplay reading will get the ball rolling on selling his first movie. The event is free and the bar and cafe will be open.
He admits he’s more calloused than brave about the project.
“I’ve been a professional improv comic for 36 years. I’ve had at least 34 jobs since 1976 and I’m on my third marriage,” Linnell said. “So taking a chance on rejection is not a concern for me.”
A Petaluman since 1977, Linnell’s most recent gig was as a San Francisco tour guide. After attending last year’s Burning Man, a trip on which he read “The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God!” by Joe Esterhas, he decided being a screenwriter was a must for his epitaph.
“If I died last year, they would have said ‘Christopher was an entertainer and actor and broadcaster and tour guide … and a writer who never finished a manuscript.'”
But if, heaven forbid, he dies this year, he dies a proud screenwriter.
“I chose Aqus Cafe for this event because at a larger venue a small turnout would look bad to all concerned. At a small cafe, the worst that can happen is a capacity crowd,” he said.
The cast includes local thespians Karen Aviles, Eli Vogt, Theresa Champagne, Isa Magomedov, Mark Bellinger and Domenique Sanders. An additional 16 small speaking roles will be cast from the audience the night of the performance.
The storyline of “Hell in Heaven” focuses on a young man attending an annual art festival in the Nevada desert with family and friends. He’s looking forward to the music and costumes and lights and sex and he gets all that, but also a bit more.
“I started thinking what if something really went wrong at an event like Burning Man. I wrote the plot out and then it sat on my desk for an entire year while I did tours,” he said.
This August, the project took a serious turn when Linnell realized he had enough money in the bank to take six months off from work and concentrate on his writing.
“My first screenplay took me three months, six months, a year, 25 years, or most of my life, depending on how you look at it,” he said.
THANK YOU TO THE CAST
I would like to thank all of you who participated and attended the “Hell in Heaven” Screenplay Reading Party Tuesday at Aqus Cafe for helping to make the event a success!
We started late, and the event ran long, and most of the “audience” was gone before we reached the end; however, the point of the event was NOT to start on time, or even to hold an audience, but to give our actors exercise in their craft, to create publicity for the screenplay and its cast (and its writer), and for me to gain additional input before the tenth and final version of “Hell in Heaven” is completed. Well, we did all that and more: we all came away with new friendships!
My thanks to my husband, Juan, for his stoic months of emotional support and feedback as I wrote and repeatedly revised the screenplay and planned this event (he also took the six pictures embedded below); my mother and father, who gave me the talents and skills and education and background necessary to make me the person I am (especially my dad, who, unbeknownst to me, silently and dutifully missed a birthday dinner with his wife that night for my step-sister, Lisa, with my step-sister, Erin, her husband Bill, and their baby Scotty, all from Arizona…he drove alone all the way from Rodeo to be there for me, and without a word of complaint); and John Crowley and Sadie and Patrick of Aqus (plus the hirsute gentlemen who set up the mic for us and whose name I didn’t get) for giving us the excellent venue and food and beverages for our event.
I want to thank my fantastic cast, including star Eli Lucas Vogt (aka “Virgil Goes to Washington”), who, at the last minute, jumped into the role of CRAIG and did a FANTASTIC job, even though he was not heretofore an actor (although he makes a GREAT one); darling trooper Karen Aviles (KRISTI), who made both rehearsals and the performance, driving each time all alone from Vallejo, and improving with each performance; Mark Bellinger (RANIL), who made both rehearsals and the performance, and, like Eli, despite having no acting experience, performed FANTASTICALLY and with great skill and great accents in a number of roles…you should be an actor, too, Mark.
Also thanks to my angel of a friend, Tree Champagne (ROSE), who has been working with me for 25 years on one production after another and STILL somehow seems to enjoy the experience each time; Isa Magomedov (ALEX), who drove all the way from Silicon Valley for a rehearsal and the performance and had my mother in tears as he lay gasping in blood and cursing in Russian, turning a simple reading into fully-blocked high drama on the floor of the cafe; Domenique Sanders (ROCHELLE) who is a DYNAMITE performer and the best part of the whole movie, if you ask me, and traveled to the rehearsal and a performance from WAY down in the South East Bay, bringing her gorgeous mother and darling sister with her; Ann Scott (SAJEEVI) who drove from a similar distance to play a part with no rehearsal in an unfamiliar accent, and doing it like a real pro!
Greg Davis showed the biggest balls of all by taking on a LEAD ROLE (CHAD) with NO notice, NO rehearsal, and NO prior reading or knowledge of the script. In fact, his galpal, decorative artist Roberta Aherns, said to him just a few hours before, “Hey Greg, you wanna go to Aqus with me? There’s some kind of reading thing there that might be fun tonight.” And Greg agreed, and ended up in a starring role! Also doing outstanding impromptu jobs in our smaller roles were my roller-skating buddies Laura Robinson, Esq. (PARTY GIRL 2), who drove all the way from Oakland after a full day of defending the accused in court, did it just to be there for me, AND agreed to read a role, as well; and Kernan Jang, who, on the spur of the moment, and with no prior acting, performing, or public speaking experience, agreed to play NILHAN and SU LIN, a male AND female, respectively, AND in the same scene…and they talk about Olivier, Brando, Burton, and Gielgud! Marin Skate buddy Yvonne Roberts and boyfriend Mark carpooled with them for moral support (to us ALL).
Also excellent were Eli’s buddies, Michelle (HENRI HUDSON; far too cute to play a whiney dwarf) and Matt (JEFF HUDSON; absolutely PERFECTLY cast, though a bit too tall, as the dwarf with the naughty wit) and Mike (PARAMEDIC 2/DEVIL GREETER; Who wouldn’t entrust his or her life to him?), as well as veterinary receptionist Melody (PARTY GIRL 1; who got to say what every other girl in the place WANTED to say to adorable Eli: “CRAIG, get back down here and finish what you started!”), AND my bestest galpal, “Fancy” Katy Gorman (PARAMEDIC 1/ANGEL GREETER), who sat through the whole reading just to read 4 lines and 32 words in 2 separate roles…what a doll!
And I must thank my Duck Captain buddy, Jim Sheehan, who also drove all the way from Vallejo to be a FAT NAKED MAN and BOTH MISCREANTS; all that driving just to be a total prick…3 pricks, in fact! Thanks, Jim! Also I want to thank our internet reporter, Rayne Wolfe of Petaluma.Patch.com, who wrote a fine article about our event on the very first day of her website’s history.
You all made this culmination of five month’s work something truly special. NOW, let me ask you ALL to e-mail any reaction, ideas, critiques, and/or suggestions you may have for “HELL IN HEAVEN.” Because now begins the hard part: I have to SELL the thing! When I print Draft 10, I want it to be as perfect as possible, so I’m interested in your feedback. I want producers to read it and say, “Wow! This script is ready to shoot!” Any input you have would be appreciated…
..as is your participation in the project up to this point. Thank you all very much, and I’ll see you in the cinema!
Entertainer, Actor, Voice Artist, Writer, Photographer, Tour Guide
Christopher & Co. Celebrity Impersonations at http://www.HireAStar.net
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