Garrett Batty and Melissa Larson Interview – Episode 3.6

Visit the official Freetown site to find a local theater.

Garrett Batty:

Garrett Batty is the Writer and Director of The Sarratov Approach, and his latest film is Freetown. He graduated from BYU and has been a part of the developing LDS Film market in other capacities with his production company, Three Coin Productions.

Melissa Larson BIO:

Originally from Hau‘ula, Hawai‘i, Melissa Leilani Larson is a writer presently based in Provo, Utah. The award-winning author of a number of plays and films, she holds an a BA in English from Brigham Young University and an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Mel’s plays have been produced all over the country. Little Happy Secrets received the 2009 Association for Mormon Letters Drama award and was published in August 2010 as part of the anthology Out of the Mount: 19 from New Play Project; after the 2013 production, Mel was nominated as an Outstanding Community Production Member by the Utah Theatre Lovers. Her produced plays include Martyrs’ Crossing (IRAM Best New Play; KC/ACTF Meritorious Achievement; Best of Utah Valley 2006), which was published in the anthology Saints on Stage and received its international premiere at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe; A Flickering (Trustus Playwrights Festival Finalist); Hope Falls; Standing Still Standing (Mayhew Contest Winner); The Church of St. Pinky at Katy, Texas; and Lady in Waiting (KC/ACTF Region VIII New Play Fest participant; Lewis National Playwriting Contest for Women winner). Persuasion has enjoyed several productions and positive audience responses. Mel’s first commission, an adaptation celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, recently enjoyed a sold-out run in Brigham Young University’s Pardoe Theatre. Mel has helped co-write the book for The Weaver of Raveloe, a new musical inspired by George Eliot’s Silas Marner, conceived and composed by award-winning composer Erica Glenn; Weaver premiered in May 2014 at ART’s Oberon. Mel’s newest original play, Pilot Program, will premiere in April 2015, directed by Jerry Rapier, as part of Plan-B Theatre Company’s upcoming season.

Also an accomplished filmmaker, Mel is currently collaborating with Garrett Batty (the award-winning director of The Saratov Approach) on a new project, Freetown, which recently completed principal production in Ghana. She wrote and co-produced the independent feature The Lilac Thief and has written, produced, and/or directed a number of short films including “Cherry Pie” (writer), “Iscariot” (writer/co-producer), “Traces” (director/producer), and “4:53” (writer), which was included in the LDS Film Festival’s inaugural Best of Festival tour. She’s written a screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy As You Like It, and is has several film projects in progress. Mel adapted her own play Standing Still Standing for film, winning the LDS Film Festival’s screenwriting award.

Works in progress include Sweetheart Come, about a young mother suffering through the onset of schizophrenia; a wacky Victorian comedy, The Mummy Play; a biographical drama about Russian poet Alexander Pushkin; adaptations of Thomas Hardy’s Under the Greenwood Tree and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, as well as a musical version of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South; a retelling of the Nordic fairy tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”; Island Rose, a screenplay about Ka‘iulani, Hawai‘i’s last princess; a Hawaiian history cycle for the stage; and several young adult novels (Mel loathes the term “juvenile” but she loves talking about herself in the third person).

An AEA EMC stage manager, Mel has stage managed at all levels, calling shows for Actors Repertory Theatre Ensemble, Brigham Young University, Utah Regional Ballet, Provo Theatre Company, Iowa University Theatres, Iowa Summer Rep, New Play Project, Utah Valley University School of the Arts, Sundance Summer Theatre, the Echo Theatre, and the Utah Lyric Opera. She is presently working with choreographer Graham Brown on his devised work You, which will be staged at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in January 2015.

Mel was recently invited to be part of Plan-B Theatre Company’s Playwrights Lab, and to serve as a Dramatists Guild of America ambassador for the Utah Region. A certified KC/ACTF adjudicator, she occasionally serves as adjunct faculty at Brigham Young and Utah Valley Universities. She was one of the original Utah Theatre Bloggers, writing regular reviews for three years. Her favorite things include melty cheese, Hawai‘i, the UK, history, musicals that don’t suck, nice paper and even nicer pens. Oh, and just about anything sung by Audra McDonald.


Adam White Interview – Episode 2.1

Adam White was born and raised in Gilbert, AZ. Adam started making movies when his Dad bought a VHS camcorder all the way back when he was 11 or 12 not ever considering it a possible career path. He dreamed of one day playing in the NBA played college basketball at Eastern Arizona college which is where he met his wife. Later he went to BYU and graduated from ASU with a degree in Business Administration.

Adam now lives in Lehi Utah with his wife and 5 children. He enjoys creating. Writing movies, writing songs on the piano, creating businesses. Adam White also started several online businesses and sold them all to pursue his dream of being a filmmaker.

Adam secretly wishes we could go back to the olden days where one could wear a cloak and have a sword strapped on their back and no one would think anything of it. Adam is now the writer and director of the movie, Inspired Guns hitting theaters January 24th 2014.


Paige Sorensen and Alicia Hill Interview – Episode 152

Alicia Hill was born in Northern California as the fifth of six kids. Her family moved to Sandy, Utah when she was 11 years old. She served a mission in Detroit, Michigan. Following her mission, Alicia graduated from BYU with a degree in Social Work. That led her to LDS Family Services where she put her heart into the work for several years as an adoption/birth parent case worker. She currently resides in Florida with her amazing husband and three children.

Paige Sorensen is originally from San Diego, California. After high school she also served a mission in Detroit Michigan. In the 10 years she has been home from her mission she has served exclusively in the Young Women’s organization. Paige has served in wards in San Diego, Utah, Indiana, and now Florida.  She has been married for 9 years and has 3 young kids.  Paige has spent her professional career as an entrepreneur.  She owned and operated a successful clothing store, and is currently an Independent Product Consultant in the health and wellness industry specializing in skin care.

Alicia and Paige are co-authors of the book “Best 18 Months- The Unofficial Handbook for Sister Missionaries”