BATAVIA – With guitar in hand, Rebecca Strand of Batavia performed an original song, "Press On," in front of the judges at the Batavia Public Library on Sunday in the hopes of landing a spot on BATV's new reality show, "Project Publish."
While the judges applauded Strand on her musicianship, they gave her another challenge – to make a song out of a short story written by another contestant. Strand said she was up for the challenge.
"I've never written a song on the spot before," the 22-year-old Strand said. "I've always done it at my own tempo. But if I don't step outside my comfort zone, I'll never grow."
The auditions will continue next Sunday at the St. Charles Public Library for the 14 participant slots that are open for "Project Publish," a seven-week episode show that will be broadcast live from BATV on Sunday afternoons, Feb. 10 through March 24.
Each week, a performer will be randomly paired up with a writer.
"They can bring somebody else's work to life," said local writer and St. Charles resident Richard Graves, host and creative director of the show.
Graves had bemoaned the fact that writers have a hard time generating an audience during open mic events in a humorous poem he wrote titled "Open Mic Mania." BATV community television station intern and Project Publish producer Kimberly Kozar heard Graves read the poem during last year's Art in Your Eye festival in Batavia, and decided to bring his idea to life.
"It's very exciting," Kozar said Sunday outside the audition rooms. "What I like most about it is how we have so many people from the community getting together to pull it off."
That includes Patrick Moynihan of Waveform in Batavia, who is producing the show's theme song and sound elements, to local resident Karl Lescelius, who made the show's logo. About a dozen people auditioned Sunday, and Kozar said she expects even more people to audition next Sunday.
That included Andrew Schroeder, 25, of Batavia, who read a piece called "And A Bright Light Caught Us Standing There," that revolved around a real-life experience about how he got arrested after climbing on top of the roof at Rotolo Middle School the summer after he graduated from high school.
"I figured I would give it a shot," Schroeder said about auditioning for "Project Publish." "I figured it would be a cool thing to be a part of."
Donald Bingle, a published area writer and a judge for "Project Publish," viewed the piece favorably.
"It's a nice frozen moment in time," Bingle told Schroeder. "A little more detail would have made it more vivid for me."
Bingle said he wants to offer constructive criticism to the contestants.
"We're not here to be mean," he said. "I think we are here to be honest with people about their strengths and weaknesses."
More information about "Project Publish" is available by going to BATV's website at www.batv.us.