Craft Work and Magic Pennies

Craft Work and Magic Pennies

Phew. This summer had roller skates. Creatively, it was wonderful, and then whoosh! There I stood, messy making everywhere I looked, enough mucky creative output to dance in for months!

And so. Back to school, while devouring new drama on t’telly, in the wicked playhouses and yet more in those moving picture theatre halls.  And here, in the imaginarium?

  1. Draft Two (caps intentional) of the spec TV pilot I’m obsessed with (an elite public school in the Scottish wilderness is the battle ground for parental titans, demolishing the society around them as they war over their dead son’s legacy.)
  2. Tour planning for Glitter Knickers in 2017 – a wee show I might have mentioned once or twice.
  3. Sleeve-rolling collaborations with writers, makers, and creative entrepreneurs.

There’s two tunes playing in my mind that I want to inject into yours: the beautiful clockwork of dramatic structure, and the joyous Play-Doh Barber’s Shop game that happens from generous collaboration.

First of all, I’m just loving learning how my craft makes my writing so infinitely better.  PEGGY’s first draft grew from a well-critiqued treatment, and then ten pages (thanks to script editors Philip Shelley & Yvonne Grace respectively). I left it well alone (very tough) for 6 weeks and have gone back to edit like a mad editing monster.  I could now see the problems, the (very) weak spots, the frankly cringe-making things that needed sorting.  And then I set myself the kind of challenge I could never have done without (a) a lot of learning from cleverer people than I, and (b) that 6-week break.  Eh? What? Or, yes, sorry – to solve the problems!

  • THAT’s no good as an excuse for his behaviour – WHY?
  • Oh, come on – his character is weak! What’s he up to? Make him work!
  • Ah. Great antagonist motivation. But now your heroine is nothing by comparison! Even out the score – fight that fight!

The first draft’s OK…BUT, nowhere near good enough. But I’m confident enough to know it’s still like a wobbly clockwork thing. It needs several wheels taking out, binning, replacing, moving…. Heck, I might have to lay the whole thing out on the kitchen table and put it all back together again. But that’s OK! Because if this story is worth telling – and it is! – then getting it right is going to make it absolutely marvellous!

Now, the other thing. The magic pennies of the title. I;m going to save that for my next posy (a) because you’ve read enough and (b) there’s more stuff to do before school pick-up and this is the luxury!

Taking the helm of the Rondo Writers’ Group

Taking the helm of the Rondo Writers’ Group

Rondo Writers NetworkWhat IS the collective noun for a group of writers? A murder of crows, a sleuth of bears, a flange of baboons and a flight of dragons. Take your pick what would we like? A blot? A tippex (for writers of a certain age)? A row? A bin?

But that’s merely an intro… I’m very, very happy to announce that I’m leading the Rondo Writers’ Group in Bath this coming term.  We’re under the aegis of the brilliant Rondo Theatre (Bath’s new writing home and local home of touring comedians such as Mark Thomas, Robin Ince and Rob Newman), but will be cranking up our writing brains elsewhere in the city.

You can get info on us in various colours:

The Rondo Brochure (which just happens to have a show called GlitterKnickers in it, too – see the post before this!)

The Rondo Writers’ Facebook page
And you can book yourself in here.  What a superb New Year gift to give (yourself).
First night, 18 Jan – venue tbc.
Raising cash with Upsy-Daisy & the Quantum Suicide Rifle

Raising cash with Upsy-Daisy & the Quantum Suicide Rifle

I made a film!

ImageI’m relentlessly asking people for MONEY!

And it’s all about that terrier of a play on quantum mechanics (what? you missed me talking about it? Let me help you out:

So – here’s the skinny.

If this was a play in development with a theatre, they would give me/it some dramaturgical (script editor-like) support as well as time with a director and actors to try things out.

I’ve already paid for a brilliant dramaturg, David Lane, to support me through the various drafts (you can read Hannah Silva talking about her similar work with David here.) But I can’t pay for directors, a cast and a rehearsal space. So, I have some choices:

  • ask actor mates to do it for free, one night after their day jobs, but knowing there can’t be time for proper thought / exploration
  • just send the script as it is to theatres (my best version, but without input from a director/actors), cross my fingers and hope they can see the potential
  • get out the sock puppets
  • raise the dosh to pay professionals.

So, as you will see in the crowd-funding film, I got out the sock puppets. It didn’t go too well. So I’m fundraising.

If you, or anyone you know, can help me pay real actors – instead of putting a quantum rifle in the hands of a drunken Upsy-Daisy – this script has a far better chance of being the best it can be. AND the wonderful backers / theatre angels get rewards! (Am very happy to talk about extra reward options to anyone!)

Thanks for reading – please, PLEASE feel free to share this page online, pass it or the talent backer page to anyone you think might be interested! Thank you! I’ll be back…..

PS – HAPPY CHRISTMAS and all the v best for 2014.

Keep the Buses Coming!

Keep the Buses Coming!

…Which is another way of saying, I feel as though all the buses have come at once. Check out the news pages for a detailed update, but I have been extraordinarily fortunate the last few weeks and months to have great people working with my scripts, and I’m learning (I hope) a great splodge of stuff as I go.

A fortnight ago, two were being performed as scripts-in-hand, with audience (and of course, cast!) feedback. The scripts (Away with the Fairies and Water’s Not So Thick) are very, very different, and so were the rehearsal and performance experiences.  I learnt an enormous amount from the actors and directors, and with Water, went through a good rite of passage: defending your intention, while being able (I hope) to adapt and bend, to find better writing, but to stick to your guns if need be. I am always impressed – and grateful – at how actors can get to the nub of a line so quickly, and in both cases, they had two days or fewer to get the snipings, the unspoken, the fun and the entertainment squeezed from the pages.

And then last week, the Ustinov Writers’ Forum ran its second Script Exploration Day – 4 scripts, a pool of actors, a lot of exploration. And these guys stuck their fingers deliciously and vigorously into a third, less developed, script which has been haunting me for a good couple of years, but hasn’t been allowed air time for about a year. After a great reading, there was much debate, and I come away with pages of enthusiastic notes, liking the thing more than ever, and hopeful for its future.

But first, I have something else to work on. Of which, perhaps, some more another day….