Hook and Ladder actors’ edition now available online!

My latest stageplay titled Hook and Ladder is now available online. I’m terribly excited for this play since it combines my passion for journalism as well as my fanship for football. It also gives me the chance to voice my opinion on a controversial issue and bring awareness to other concerns which may not be generally known by most people (trying not to give spoilers).

Order a copy online and let me know what you think. Add to the conversation. Like, share, whatever! I appreciate everyone’s support as always.

Get your copy here!


About Hook and Ladder:

Hot shot sports writer Dunkin Scott’s career is on the rise as the top reporter at Sports Review Monthly magazine. His readership is at an all-time high and is a frequent guest on major sports radio and television networks.

As if things couldn’t be going better for him, Dunkin is about to get the opportunity of a lifetime when he is assigned to an exclusive interview with future Hall of Fame football linebacker Tony Backlund, the writer’s childhood sports hero.

However, Dunkin soon finds himself pressured by his publisher Rachel Montgomery to spotlight the gridiron great and humanitarian as a fraud because Backlund had taken a knee during the U.S. national anthem at a playoff game six months prior. Quickly, Dunkin finds himself struggling to write what is fair and truthful to his sports hero after he begins to find a disconnect of facts involving Backlund’s abrupt and mysterious retirement as well as his on-field protest.

The play culminates into a mess of journalistic malpractice, unworthy ideology and Dunkin caught at a cross roads to decide what kind of journalist, sports fan and person he wants to be.

Ego, the enemy of the first draft

I’ve said it before. The worst thing any creative writer could carry through his or her process is ego. Ego is the most formidable enemy when it comes to editing a first draft.

A lot of times, emerging writers need help even after they complete a first draft. When I first started out writing screenplays, my biggest adversity was editing the manuscript once I wrote the phrase Fade Out on the final page. Looking back, the main reason for this was I was using a typewriter, not word processing software on a laptop, and a lot of times I was just lazy to go back and retype so much to much edits.

However, having made the change to a laptop, editing has since become the favorite and most exciting part of my own creative process. If you feel lost after you have completed the first draft of your writing project, I would love to help you with the next step. Please feel free to Work with Me, and let’s get that first draft into a final draft so it’s ready for the world to see.

For now, here are some of the things I do when I’m editing my first draft of any script and keep the project moving forward to achieve its best version.

The biggest sword you can wield against your own ego to edit material of which you have become emotionally attached is objectivity.

Objectivity is the hardest thing for a writer working on a new project to maintain. When I’m working on a new script, obviously I’m going to be in love with it. If I wasn’t in love with it, I wouldn’t keep working on it. After my first draft is complete, that’s when the objectivity has to kick in.

Some writers that I’ve worked with have been so in love with their first drafts, they throw it out to producers trying to hook them for a production without ever really stepping back and seeing what they’ve truly put together. And then there are some writers who will actually take the disinterest in their work personally, maybe even forcing them to quit altogether.

Objectivity can save a writer from all of that. So this is what I do to make sure I give myself a chance to give the work it’s best chance. It’s actually a fairly simple process.

1) Finish the first draft. Print the manuscript out. Bind it. Write “First Draft” on the cover.

2) (and this is the most important step) LET IT SIT! Let the manuscript sit in a drawer, on a shelf, on the counter next to the coffee maker; doesn’t matter where. Just let it sit. And let it sit for TWO WEEKS AT LEAST. Why? That is the key to objectivity. Forget about what’s in that script. Start developing a new one. If you can start writing vivid scenes of a new project, start to find yourself falling in love with THAT one. Once you’ve gained distance from your first draft, then come back it like an editor not as a writer.

So give your first draft enough time for you to fall out of love with it. Then go back to it. Find a place where you can sit down undisturbed for a while, bring a pen and read your script from start to finish; maybe not in one sitting.

From there, mark the living crap out of it. Scrutinize like an accountant looking for missing money. Every description, line of dialogue, stage direction. Look for everything and anything that could be deemed confusing; voice, consistent character responses, word choice, congruence, angles, everything. For me it’s tenses. I always find mistakes where my stage directions switch from present to past tense and back.

Mark it up and be proud of it. Ask yourself with every scene, “What purpose is this serving the story or character(s) as a whole.” If you can’t find a reason, cut the whole scene and don’t look back. Put one big line through those pages and move on.

Recently, I listened to an episode of The Playwrighting Podcast by Ken Wolf, artistic director of Manhattan Repertory Theatre in NYC. If you haven’t subscribed to this podcast yet, it is well worth your time to do so. Wolf teaches much of the same writing process I’ve used for years and his philosophy is spot on.

In a recently episode of the podcast (Ep. 120-Words, Words, Words!), Wolf said something very interesting when it comes to editing dialogue after the first draft is complete. He suggests dialogue should be driving the story forward with no more than two lines each character, unless the character is expressing something emotional. If the dialogue is driving plot, it should only take one or two lines.

Wolf also said the editing process should be done in at least five rounds to ensure the material is congruent. He admitted five rounds of editing sounds crazy, but he swears combing through dialogue this many times will help ensure the script isn’t too wordy in its final draft.

Imagine that; editing your manuscript five times over before you could call it finished. This is I feel why playwrighting is a labor of love. However, I know some emerging writers have issues with this part of the process. Some feel it is mundane and as exciting as a root canal.

This is why I am here as Benn Farrell Freelance to help those writers who need an objective eye on his or her manuscript. Let me help you take what will be the final draft to the next level and save you the aggravation of the editing process. It excites me, and I’m excited to help you.

See two of my short plays this weekend in Colorado Springs, Theatregasm 11 starts tonight!

I can’t tell you how excited I am to share two of my short plays are being performed as part of Theatre d’ Art’s Theatregasm 11 festival this weekend, June 28-30, at the Zodiac Venue/Bar in Colorado Springs. It’s been quite a long time since any of my stage works have seen the footlights in Colorado Springs, over 19 years to be exact.

Theatre d’ Art is producing some great things and I’m so excited for anything I’ve put on paper to be a part of their stage for this event.

Please support the festival this weekend. There are about 10 short plays involved, I believe, and my short plays “Plan A for Martin” and “Makes No Census” were selected for the company’s Show Us Your America theme.

Visit http://www.theatredart.org for more information or search Theatre d’ Art on Facebook. https://m.facebook.com/THEATREdART/

Trouble getting started? Begin by writing what is most vivid (UPDATED)

By Benn Farrell – UPDATED: June 8, 2019

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. That’s a cliche I used to heartily believe, but when it comes to my development of a new stageplay, I find the cliche changes to “You can teach a old dog to do old tricks in a new way.”

When I began developing my latest stageplay, still only in its first draft, I fell back on a technique I developed in college. It still famously works for me, and because of it, I was able to pump out the first draft of Hook and Ladder within six weeks.

With my ghost writing services, I would love to help anyone having trouble getting started with their creative writing project. I’d be honored to help you get the ball rolling, and this technique I have developed to get started can be transposed to writing fiction, non-fiction, stageplays, screenplays, television, etc; possibly even instructional guides. If you feel I can help you get your special creative writing project on paper, visit the Work with Me or the Ghost Writing Services pages of this Web site to learn more and don’t be afraid to reach out.

For now, here is how I am usually able to get started on a new creative project.

Freelance writing services, Content Writer, Copy Writer, Ghost Writing, Playwrighting, Screenwriting, SEO content. All writing services to add a unique value for your publication, Web site and online presence from award winning journalist Benn Farrell.

With my ghost writing services, I would love to help you get the first draft of your creative project finally on paper.

When I was in college and aspiring to be a filmmaker, I took a couple of playwriting classes while I was immersed in the performing arts of the school and the community. By then I had already written a handful of screenplays and had my own methods of development, especially ones that were linear given I started on a typewriter and not a laptop like today.

However, when I had finally made the switch to writing my scripts on a laptop, I had learned a key technique in my creative process when developing a new play or screenplay which I still use today. Even after graduating, my former instructors invited me back to workshop their writing classes to share what I had learned and achieved by that point in my writing life.

The technique I had learned, having moved away from the non-linear jail house manner in which writing a screenplay to which a typewriter shackles you, was easy to convey to new students. Every aspiring playwright or screenwriter has a story to tell for the stage or screen. In either of these mediums, usually whoever is writing the play has one, two or several scenes played out in his or her head even before they start writing.

When I was younger, when I had a new play idea, I would take weeks writing the back stories of each major character so I had a firm grasp of their life by the point my story started. After that, it was about actually writing the script. Some stage and screen writers say the two hardest words to write when starting a new project is FADE IN. I agree. It is the hardest task to write the first words of a new play, whether you have done all your background homework or not.

So the technique I decided work best for me to get past this ended up being quite easy. Eventually, I learned to refuse to write the first scene of my script first. Instead, I focused on writing all the vivid, exciting and plot turning scenes I had in my head first. Sometimes, I would end up writing the climax of the entire show as an actual scene on paper. Sometimes I would write the last scene of Act I just so I knew where I would leave my story to have the audience come back from intermission interested in knowing what’s going to happen next.

Freelance writing services, Content Writer, Copy Writer, Ghost Writing, Playwrighting, Screenwriting, SEO content. All writing services to add a unique value for your publication, Web site and online presence from award winning journalist Benn Farrell.

If I had any scene which I could see clearly in my head and know exactly what was going to be conveyed as far as content, that is exactly the scene with which I started to write first. Now these scenes were hardly immaculate, and for the most part they would eventually be re-written several times over as the rest of the script started to come together during my development process. However, those scenes served a key purpose in my script writing process as a whole. Composing the rest of the script around my most vivid scenes made completing the first draft far easier than writing from point A to point B.

Think of it as designing a connect the dots challenge, which we all did when we were kids. You have a series of dots with numbers on them, and the challenge is to use a pencil to start from dot No. 1 and draw a series of lines connecting each dot in the right order until your entire picture is completed. When you’re finished, you’ve actually drawn something. This is now the cornerstone approach I use to writing all my scripts. The scenes which are most vivid in my head are what I write first. All the other scenes between them are simply me connecting the dots with necessary plot points to get to what are ultimately my strongest scenes.

Like I said, those key scenes were usually rewritten, because as I started to get into connecting them I would usually come up with little character tweaks or maybe a new subplot or a beat or two which didn’t exactly connect to my next vivid scene. However, it would improve the dynamic of the story as a whole.

One of the worst things you can do as a writer is have such a huge ego that anything you’ve written prior to your final draft is considered gold. I have written plays which started with what I thought was my strongest scene in the entire show, and by the time I got done with it, going through all my techniques, that first scene I wrote actually became the weakest and I inevitably ended up cutting it from the final draft.

Remember, your final work is a work of art. Art belongs to its audience not to you. If you get to a point where your art is now living on its own, do not make excuses for not cutting material which may have been the cornerstone of the whole thing. That is a move based on ego, not for what’s best for your finished product.

Once again, to get started, right the most vivid scenes that are in your head first. Then to get your first draft finished, all you have to do is play connect the dots.

If you feel I can help you with this technique and would like to have me be your ghost writer for your special project, please reach out and Work with Me so we can discuss how I can assist you with your start today.

Experience New York City without going broke

By Benn Farrell, June 6, 2019

New York City – Travel money, or a lack thereof, has never kept me from having an amazing time in the Big Apple. While any vacation can be expensive beyond what you had in mind as a budget, New York City, specifically midtown Manhattan can be one of the most pricey travel destinations one could have.

That is, unless you know how to experience New York City without making your credit card scream for mercy.

I personally love New York City and have loved every visit my wife and I have made there. We have taken family members to the Big Apple on occasion as well all of whom have been eager to see how we “do” New York City. The reason for this, my wife and I have developed key ways to keep the cost of our visits as low as possible while still having an amazing and memorable time.


Central Park in New York City. Photo by Benn Farrell

It has taken a few visits there to develop our strategy, but it works. Every time we go, we return with fantastic stories and experiences, but if you are planning a visit to Manhattan, here are just some of the ways my wife and I make sure we don’t go broke doing it.

Hotel location

One thing we have learned about traveling, location is everything. When my wife and I visit NYC, we have always stayed at the same hotel. The Park Central on 7th avenue is our favorite place to stay for several reasons. The hotel is a 1920’s building which has been renovated with rooms which are clean, more modern than one may expect for a building that age and plenty of quick food and coffee options around it.

For the way we do Manhattan, Park Central’s location cannot be beaten. First of all, just half a block away is access to the subway and its not difficult to find the right train to Times Square or the 9-11 Memorial/Freedom Tower or Chelsea Market, where my talented chef of a wife lights up every time. What’s more, if you decide most of your visit will be on foot, Park Central is a mere three blocks to the south side of Central Park, two blocks from Fifth Avenue, seven blocks from Rockefeller Center and eight blocks from Times Square. If you don’t mind walking, this hotel is a perfect central location.

Another reason we prefer the Park Central, there hotel offers regular promotions throughout the year and if you keep an eye on your email inbox for the latest offer, you could save quite a bit on a three-four day stay.


This is possibly my favorite part of visiting Manhattan. There are so many celebrity chefs whom have restaurants in NYC, it’s hard to choose which one may be best. If you decide to dine at a celebrity chef eatery like those owned by Scott Conant, Masaharu Morimoto and Geoffrey Zacharian and a ridiculous amount of others, be sure to make a reservation before you even get on the plane for NYC. Using an app on your smart phone called OpenTable is also very helpful getting a table at a time and day which works for you.

However, celebrity chef restaurants, in lieu of keeping cost down, are not the way to go. When my wife and I visit, we choose one celebrity chef restaurant to book a table during our stay but that is all. Instead, what we have done is take note of a multitude of places where the food is good and less expensive than a celebrity owned establishment.

Crudités at Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center building in New York City. Photo by Benn Farrell

One of my favorite personal options for a good quiet meal is a little corner bar which isn’t easy to find. It’s located near Columbus Circle, in the bottom floor of the Time Warner Center building, and within easy walking distance from Park Central Hotel. On the bottom floor of that building is a Whole Foods, and inside that Whole Foods is a quiet little eatery and bar near the gourmet cheeses. Now I won’t mention the name of the bar since the shell of the place seems to change on a regular basis, but it’s quiet, cozy and if you just buy a drink or two, you can bring in any food you get from the Whole Foods store or from its steam table cafeteria selections inside the bar to sit down and eat.

Usually, my wife and I will gather up a variety of crudite items, cheeses, meats and breads mostly, and put together a lunch from Whole Foods resembling a Swiss breakfast. However, one could also order something from the massive options in the steam tables at Whole Foods and sit inside the bar to eat as well. We’ll sit in that bar, enjoy a couple drinks and the quiet. Doing this is not any more expensive than a visit to the grocery store and its delightfully quaint.

Another not so expensive option is on the corner from the Park Central Hotel. The very first time we visited New York City, we got checked into the hotel late and were starving. Open just at the corner of the hotel was a delicatessen named Benash, which for a long time was my favorite deli in Manhattan until it was permanently closed, sadly. However, delicatessens along 7th Avenue between the hotel and Times Square are bountiful and not nearly as expensive as celebrity chef restaurants. There is also an Irish pub on 35th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, called The Playwright where my wife and I stopped in for a quick bite of Irish fare. Again, its a quaint little place with authentic Irish feel and decent pub food for reasonable spending.

To be honest, the least expensive option for anyone in Manhattan to find sustenance is almost on every corner of the city. You may be surprised and may not even believe me, but the hot dogs from street corner vendors in New York City are absolutely fantastic. I don’t know what it is about those street dogs, but those are hands down the best dogs I’ve ever had. I believe it is because the dogs soak for so long in product from the Brooklyn Water System. My wife and I always make friends with the vendor who is stationed closest to Park Central. Once, we visited NYC with our children for a couple days returning from Europe. We had them try the hot dogs as well from our favorite vendor, and my son to this day keeps asking when we can go back to New York City. Not because of the massive playground in Central Park or the Central Park Zoo, but rather he is begging for another hot dog from that street corner. You can’t get a lower cost for a quality meal than this in Manhattan.

Broadway and shows

Now if you are the type of person who wants to see what the professional theater community in midtown Manhattan has to offer, getting to see a Broadway show is fantastic but extremely pricey unless you book your seats months, maybe a year, in advance. I have paid out Broadway ticket prices for almost every visit my wife and I have made to NYC. Outside of celebrity chef restaurants, a Broadway show could be the biggest expense once you’re in Manhattan for your travel budget, sometimes hundreds of dollars for just two people.

However, there are options to get top quality theatrical experiences on Broadway without paying a hefty ticket price. First, let me explain the difference between Broadway, off Broadway and off-off Broadway productions; these are the three main categories of NYC theater. Although Broadway is the name of an actual street which intersects with 7th Avenue at the south end of Times Square, these production terms refer to how many seats are available within an individual show’s venue. A Broadway production means the show is housed in a venue with 500 seats or more. An Off Broadway show is housed in a venue with anywhere between 99-499. Off Off Broadway productions refer to shows in venues with 98 seats or less.

So with three different categories of Broadway production, there is usually three different tiers of ticket pricing. Now this doesn’t mean the productions are any less professional or spectacular. In fact, many celebrity actors, actresses and playwrights premier new plays in Off Broadway venues on a regular basis before opening to a Broadway size audience. However, if you are looking for a quality theatrical experience at a reasonable price, seeking productions Off-Off Broadway may be the way to go.


A scene from The Laugh Supper at the Manhattan Repertory Theater in New York City. Photo courtesy of Manhattan Repertory Theater.

For instance, located at 17-19 West 45th Street, No. 301, near Times Square in the heart of midtown Manhattan is an Off-Off Broadway venue called the Manhattan Repertory Theater. This theater company produces original works usually for their world premier performances of quality, so there is opportunity to experience a show and be a part of the play’s history by attending its debut to the world.

“We focus on new work and emerging playwrights,” Manhattan Repertory Theater artistic director Ken Wolf said. “We celebrate personal stories and believe that a script is not a play, just a map for a creative team to bring the play to life. Theatre is an emotional experience.”

What’s more, tickets to Manhattan Rep’s productions are usually only $20, offering patrons something different at an affordable price point, Wolf said. While tickets for Broadway size theaters are often difficult to get without booking seats months in advance to have a spot during the dates of your visit, Manhattan Rep tickets are far more easily available, especially from the theater’s Web site at www.manhattanrep.com.

“[Our productions are] intimate and thought-provoking new theatre in the heart of Manhattan,” he said.

Another inexpensive options for getting to experience live entertainment in New York City is comedy clubs. For comedy shows, tickets can be a little upwards at the door; however, the best way to get to see a comedy show during your visit is to simply walk through Times Square. There are several basement comedy clubs around the city and just outside midtown which host many up and coming comedians, and on occasion, a celebrity comedian may stop by to jump on stage and do a quick set.

However, these types of showcases in speak-easy comedy clubs aren’t very high profile and have to make an aggressive effort to get tourists in midtown to visit their venues. What my wife and I have always encountered, these comedy clubs send a street team of people into Times Square to hand out free passes to their showcases, inspiring anyone to get on the subway and see a good comedy show. Comedy clubs across the country have made a two item minimum standard no matter what the show, so be prepared to spend a little money once you’re in your seat. But you save much more by scoring free passes to the show from the clubs’ street teams. If a NYC comedy club sounds interesting to you, that is the least expensive way to get into one. Take a stroll through Times Square and keep an eye out for street promoters.

Site seeing

If you are like me, you prefer to travel to vacation destinations with hundreds if not thousands of years in its history. This is mostly because I enjoy seeing architecture with substantial age to it. I say, the older the better, and New York City is no exception.


Ellis Island in New York City. Photo by Benn Farrell

Site seeing can get pricey depending on what you have your heart set on visiting. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is a must. You can book a ferry to both locations, but you have to reserve your ferry tickets weeks in advance. Otherwise, there may not be room for you when you get to NYC.

Central Park will give you so many pleasantries to see just walking through it, you could spend a whole day in the park and still feel like you haven’t seen it all. There are several maps available at different kiosks to guide you to the key staples of the park. It’s not a lot of money to get one and it will save time and blisters on your feet if you know where these facets of the park are located ahead of time. There are also rickshaw and carriage rides through the park, but they can get quite expensive. However, if you have a good rickshaw driver, he or she will serve as a tour guide as well, giving you little insights and laughs into the views of Central Park and surrounding areas.

Another inexpensive sight seeing adventure is taking a simple stroll down 5th Avenue. The department stores along 5th avenue go full out when dressing its windows. Some of these window displays are almost a work of art in itself, and my wife and I always make sure to see what changes the stores have made to their displays when we visit.


The interior of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Photo by Benn Farrell

If you’re like me and architecture is your thing, one of the more breath taking sites on 5th Avenue is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just a block east of Rockefeller Center. I’ve seen quite a few religious structures during my travels including Notre Dame in Paris and the Duomo in Milan, Italy. I have to say, as far as cathedral’s in the United States, St. Patrick’s is maybe the most glorious and mouth-dropping I’ve seen. If you find the doors open, stop on inside. You can also visit www.saintpatrickscathedral.org for a list of masses and other events being held during the days of your visit. It’s inexpensive and beautiful.

Further south on 5th Avenue from St. Patrick’s is one of my favorite buildings in mid-town Manhattan; the mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library. This is the same library branch depicted in the action film The Day After Tomorrow, one of my wife’s favorite movies.


The New York Public Library mid-Manhattan branch. Photo by Benn Farrell

This is another structure which is completely free to simply walk in and see, and believe me I was staggered at how beautiful the architecture is inside and out.

Between the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park, 5th Avenue, St. Patrick’s and the New York Public Library, you can fill at least three days of your stay with inexpensive sight-seeing.

If you consider yourself a foodie, you can’t beat a visit to Chelsea Market. From mid-town, you will have to hop the subway south, but a stroll through the market is well worth the time and costs nothing just to window shop.

Now, the 9-11 Memorial and museum is one place everyone who goes to New York City wants to see. I will agree, this solemn memorial is impressive and worth seeing at least once in your life. However, the cost of admission is substantial and even by subway, from Park Central Hotel, a visit to the memorial can eat up most of the hours in that day. If you decide you are going to visit this memorial and museum, my only advice is to plan well ahead. However, this site isn’t exactly on my list of inexpensive New York City experiences.