Thursday, November 20, 2008

Edward de Vere - The Elevator Pitch

(Creative Commons image by Marco Wessel)

The case for Edward de Vere as "Shakespeare" is one without a smoking gun. It's a frustrating fact of researching, writing and speaking about the authorship question that our story lives or dies according to circumstantial evidence. You convince people by bombarding them with "awful funny coincidences" (as Orson Welles called them) between de Vere's life and the Shakespeare canon. And at some point you reach a threshold. Where that point is varies from person to person and audience to audience.

So it's good to have to really cut to the chase once in a while. In July, participating in a Shakespeare authorship debate (at Bally's Hotel in Vegas, no less), I had barely 20 minutes to make my whole case.

Tomorrow morning (Friday) at 9:30 eastern time, on the Bill Dwight Show on WHMP-AM in Northampton, Mass., another 20 minutes of airtime, at most, is what we have to tell the whole story of "Shakespeare" By Another Name -- and, with screenwriter John Plummer's help -- about the recent option of SBAN as the basis for a possible television series.

I'm a talker. I start off in one place and end up, who knows how many minutes later, way off in tangent-land. The kind of message discipline that the short-and-sweet format requires is really good practice. I need more of it.

It looks like Bill posts mp3s of his recent programs on the WHMP website, so although I cannot find a link for live-streaming from the station. I hope to be able to update this post with an mp3 link to hear the "Shakespeare" By Another Name chat as it played out.

Just need to remember three sentences: Keep. It. Simple.

UPDATE: Here's the link to the audio archive of the Nov. 21 Bill Dwight show. Click on the "Audio MP3" button and fast forward to the 23 minute, 30 second mark when the discussion about "Shakespeare" By Another Name begins.


Kathryn said...

In our last discussion of your book, I asked the group how they each would approach a TV series on Oxford's life; what they would include and how.

One man said that the advice given by the Economist magazine for an article would apply: "Simplify and then exaggerate." He also said the main thing most people would be interested in is the story of Oxford's life, the big events that challenged and shaped him.

In addition, I would stress Oxford's cathartic response to life events, via his writings, as his path to survival. He pulled all his interests together (including music, poetry, science,and his need to teach, persuade, and complain) through drama.

Keeping it simple and remembering to make a few main points, clearly, probably is the best strategy when you have so little time. People will get hooked by your presentation, and they will come to your book and the Web for details.

Best of luck!

Mark said...

Thank you, Kathryn. I passed along your comments to John Plummer and Jim Biederman, the screenwriters working on the television adaptation. Very good advice -- both for "Oxford TV" and for writing in general. Simplify and then exaggerate: Hadn't heard that one before. Nice.

neufer said...
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Michael J. Farrand said...

You may want to check out my narrative poem on the authorship question entitled "The Man Who Wrote Shakespeare" at Maybe it could be read in an elevator, the one in the Washington Monument.