Thursday, October 25, 2012

I do declare, I am a playwright

Standing in my (postage-stamp-sized) kitchen the other night, talking with my best-boyfriend-ever as I prepared dinner, I declared:

I am a playwright.

This may seem like an overly obvious thing to declare, when I have been labeling myself as a playwright for a few years now.  But it was a recognition of where I see myself right now, and, most importantly, where I want my priorities to lie.  

I have been musing lately (silently and aloud) that I fear that, by pursuing all these different creative avenues I love at once (acting, writing, singing), I risk doing none of them well.  But then I meet people who manage to do more than one thing - to be both successful actors and writers, for example - so I keep trudging forward, hoping that i can be one of those people who does it all.

And one could argue that I am one of those people, I *am* doing it all.  BUT.  But i am not doing any of these things - acting, singing, writing - at a professional level.  I speak not of the quality of my work (I'll let others determine that) but in the literal sense that I am not making money from my endeavors.  I am not achieving any level of commercial success.

I'm ok with that as an actor and a singer at this point in my life.  I'd like to be on Broadway, sure, but I'm not really interested in doing all the work it takes - the endless slogging to auditions and networking with casting directors and such - to get there.  I'm content to do readings, and little shows at ESPA, and hope for the occasional opportunity like I had last year when a writer friend asked me to perform her piece.  

But I am not content with that when it comes to my writing.  Especially not this play.  I quite honestly feel that this play is the greatest achievement of my life to date, and I want it to live.  Out there, in the world, on stages, maybe even in movie houses.  This baby I have created deserves every bit of attention and focus and drive I can devote to it and more.  It deserves to run and play in the sunlight, to be known by the world.  Like many parents do with their flesh-and-blood children, I will give up my own ambitions for success to allow my baby to flourish.

Oh how I can't wait to share this baby with you all as she grows up. She is going to be beautiful.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rosie's first talent show

I sent my new baby off to its first competition today.  I was so nervous walking to the post office - I can only imagine that it might be something like what a mother feels when sending her daughter out on stage for her first talent competition.  After having prepared her as best you can, once she leaves your hands, there is nothing more you can do.  And while you, of course, think that she is the most wonderful, talented, perfect thing in the whole universe, other people will be judging her now.  And they may or may not feel the same way.

Does this make me like one of those mom’s on Toddlers and Tiaras?  God, I hope not.  

The preparation leading up to today’s submission was intense and challenging.  As with most every submission, I had to include a synopsis along with the script.  "What’s the big deal?", you might be thinking, "it’s only a couple of paragraphs, you just wrote a whole play, how hard can it be?"

The writers amongst you know just how hard it is.  Summarizing the plot points isn’t so hard, but summarizing them in a way that doesn’t read like a list of “this happens, then this happens, then this happens, then this...” is hard.  All the while giving a sense of the tone of the piece, of your skill as a writer, conveying the theme(s) of the work, and telling them just enough but not too much so that they are compelled to go on and read the whole work.  It is an incredibly tall order.

I think I nailed it though.  But only thanks to some masterful input from another playwright, Sheri Wilner*, with whom I consulted.  She pointed out that I needed to hit all the points I mentioned above, and also had some great ideas as to how to do it.  It was like I hired a coach to help little Rosie prepare for her interview questions. 

And now, off she goes.  She is on that stage, waiting for the curtain to rise (i.e. the envelop to be opened), so she can deliver her song to the judges.  I hope they find her as enthralling as I do.

*If you are a writer looking for a mentor to consult with you on a project, I heartily recommend Sheri for one-on-one consultations!  Insightful, nurturing, and affordable. Let me know and I’ll put you in touch.