Thus I reach the end of phase 1 of this project. More on that later.
First, I want to acknowledge the great support I got throughout the Jump mentorship process, particularly from Jan and David at Canberra Contemporary Art Space, and of course, my mentor Colette, who warned me of the Dark Side but then trusted I had enough of the Force to be able to decide myself whether or not to cross over. She’ll shortly be rewarded with an utterly heinous Scandinavian snow globe, which I expect will take pride of place on her mantelpiece.
|Not this snowglobe though, sorry Coda.|
Here’s what I’ve learnt:
• Dream big
• Work hard
• Have integrity
• Take up every opportunity you can
• You can’t please everyone all the time (so instead: write a good play).
Yes, they’re all platitudes and yes they’re things I already knew. Not to sound like a know-it-all. I think they’re things most of us know—but putting them into practice is often a different story.
The biggest accomplishment for me this year is the way I view my craft. I still want to be more disciplined and structured. I keep telling myself that I want to write for at least an hour a day—but that often doesn’t happen. Instead, I’ll spend hours on the laptop researching, editing, planning —because often, those types of things consume more of your time.
So I’ve learnt to write when and where I can. I’m very fond of 30-minute creative bursts. In fact, on my lunchbreak today I jotted out an early draft of a scene in my notebook sitting in the grass at the park across the road from work.
I also feel like I’m getting more involved in the arts community, and I’m definitely spending a lot more time at the theatre. That’s where I’m headed tonight.
So I no longer view myself as a hum-drum dabbler. I don’t think I’ll be getting Nobel prizes anytime soon either, but I do feel like I’m slowing clawing my way out of the metaphorical womb to one day become an ‘emerged’ (past tense) playwright. Though I don’t think the development journey is ever really done.
So, where to from here?
I’m still researching and am meeting an interview subject this weekend. Following a successful reading in Albury in October, and good feedback from actors and audience members, I’m working on the third draft as we speak.
I’ll be workshopping that with some actors and a director and then we’ll be having a reading at the Street Theatre in Canberra, in front of an invited audience.
From that—well, I’ll then start work on draft 4.
Early next year, I’ll start development activities with HotHouse Theatre, which will produce the pyjama girl play almost exactly 12 months from today.
It seems like a long way off, but part of the beauty of writing plays is the collaborative aspects and partly because of this, the development process can take time. For me, the average length of time I spend writing a script is a year on average. The last one was closer to 2.5 years. It was an epic though, to be fair, and what I’m terming my ‘apprenticescript’.
I learnt a stack from that. I’m learning a stack more from this one, and I know there’s more exciting stuff waiting for me next year.