Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Welcome to the place to find your story

Hello. My name is Charles B. French and I want to help you find your story. We all have a story, and eventually there comes a time when we need to share it. That's where I come in. I can help you unearth that story, polish it, and tell it well. Whether this is as a public speaking coach, a writing coach/consultant, a ghost writer, a speech writer, or anything else that you need, I will help you find your story. Already I've helped so many people connect to the world and share their stories. I helped them, and I'll help you, too.

I have over fifteen years of experience and want to share that with you. All you have to do is tell me how. If you are in the Houston area, we can meet face-to-face. If you live farther away, we can easily meet over Skype.

Below are links to how I can help you. See what meets your needs and we will find your story.

Public Speaking Coaching - I am an award winning public speaker and professor of public speaking. I've helped hundreds of people find their voice and tell their stories. I can help you every step of the way, from finding your idea to fine-tuning your delivery. I've helped beginning speaker,s professional speakers, keynote speakers, and Tedx speakers.

Writing Services - Do you need a speech writer, a script doctor, an editor? Are you looking for a ghost-writer? I've been a writer for many years, and not only am I well versed in speech writing, I've also written books and plays. My years of experience will serve you well for whatever you need.

Guest Speaker - Are you looking for an emcee for your event, a keynote speaker, or someone to host an educational seminar? I am at your service. I've spent years entertaining crowds and leaving them with something to think about. As a college professor and professional trainer, I know how to engage a crowd. I'd love to speak at your event.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hair Like the Sun - Working with Claire Mix

When I first began writing the script, I was all on my own. I created the first draft in a three-week span of intense and inspired writing. I'm proud of that first draft, because if nothing else it sold Claire on the idea that her mother's story could indeed be produced as a stage play. It also demonstrated that this play would treat her mother's story with the care and respect it deserved, all while ensuring that it was a quality play that audiences would enjoy.

Of course, I feel I should point out that Claire had no idea I was writing this play when I set out to do it. Writing the play had been her goal, but she'd never been able to crack it. She, by all accounts, hit the roof when she found out about it. I can't blame her. Not only was someone writing the play she's intended to write, he'd already produced a completed draft. It was stunning news, to be certain.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Hair Like the Sun - The First Draft

This is a story about something that I wrote that you will probably never see: the first draft of 'Hair Like the Sun.'

I wrote that first draft in early 2013. It only took me about three weeks. I can be a fast writer when properly motivated, and this project motivated me. I watched Claire Mix's documentary and read her book in a day. The story immediately grabbed me and demanded I write it. I had no choice but to comply. (My fellow writers will back me up on the notion of being held hostage by a story.)

After three weeks, I had something. I was proud of what I'd accomplished in such a short amount of time. I was under no illusions that this was a finished product, you can't write a play in three weeks and not need revisions. That said, there's a lot in that first script that did survive to the final one. More importantly, it proved that Ruth's story could be told in a play.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hair Like the Sun - The Writer is Least Important

I've been mesmerized watching rehearsals of 'Hair Like the Sun.' I spent over three years with this script, but seeing it in the hands of actors, being guided by the director, make me feel as if I never really knew my own script. What I'm seeing, from the director's understanding of the script, to the actors' interpretations of the characters, goes far beyond my mere words. That's when I understand this harsh, but necessary truth.

The playwright is the least important person involved in the play.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the playwright is unimportant. After all, that's who created the play in the first place. No, it's not that this person doesn't matter, it's just that the actors, directors, set builders, costumers, and crew are more important. They are turning the words on the page into something magical. The make it real.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hair Like the Sun - Why this play matters

Today. March 1, is Super Tuesday. Millions of Americans are going to the polls as part of the process of electing the next President. One of those candidates, a surprisingly popular candidate, has spoken of Muslim Americans in the same manner people spoke of Japanese Americans during WWII.

There are those alive today who remember what life was like behind that barbed wire, including celebrated actor George Takei. While America came to understand the tragic mistake we made after Pearl Harbor, far too many forgot those lessons in the aftermath of 9/11. Those who forget, or ignore history are doomed to repeat it. We cannot let that happen again in our great country.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Hair Like the Sun - Why Ruth?
While I'm certain that Hair Like the Sun will prompt many questions, it's one of the things I'm hoping for, there's one question I'm certain will come up. Why is the main character in a play about the Japanese Internment Camps a white, teenage girl? That is a fair question, and I'd like to answer it now.

The first reason is that this play is a true story. Ruth Mix really was a white, teenage girl who spent the majority of World War II volunteering in the Gila River internment camp. Obviously, Ruth's story isn't the only story to come out of this tragedy. But it is one of the stories, and it is a story worth telling. Hopefully this will be the first of many such stories about the internment camps.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hair Like the Sun - Table Read

The cast of 'Hair Like the Sun'
Maya Angelou tells the story of the first time she heard someone read A Tale of Two Cities aloud. She'd read the book before and found it adequate, at best. She didn't understand what it really meant until a mentor of hers took the book in hand and read it, using her voice to illuminate the meaning and delve beyond the ink of the page. it was only then that she truly understood what the book was about and what it truly meant.

This is a little how I felt when I sat down for the first official table read for my play. I thought I understood what these words truly meant. After all, I was the one writing them; I'd been writing and rewriting them for the past 3 years. A huge chunk of my life has been dedicated to these particular words. So you'd think that I, the author, knew what they meant.

As many writers come to understand, it is often the human voice that gives meaning to the words we write. Last night I saw a group of seven amazing actors bring these characters to life, giving voice to people I'd only heard talk in my head. For the first time, I felt like I truly understood who these characters are and what their story truly means.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hair Like the Sun - Author Interview

Back in 2013, Claire Mix passed away. I was blessed to have been able to work with her on the play, and it is my hope that she would have loved this finished product. That summer, I flew to California with one of my collaborators to attend her memorial service. It was a beautiful ceremony that celebrated Claire's life and legacy. She truly was an amazing woman.

While I was there, when the play was still deep in development and years away from the stage, we filmed some short interviews about it. I must admit, watching the footage now, I think I come across pretty well. (My hair leaves a lot of be desired, I had cut it short and was growing it out - it's at an awkward stage.)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hair Like the Sun Part - It's almost here

A little over three years ago, a friend handed me a book and a documentary and asked me if I thought there was a play in this. The documentary and book were both about a teenage girl named Ruth Mix who volunteered in the Gila River Internment Camp during WWII. I found her story compelling and knew immediately that it would make a great play. Three years later, that idea is now reality. In a little over a month, Hair Like the Sun will premiere at the Texas Repertory Theater.