So I’ve sort of fallen out of the habit of posting things here, but there’s a very good reason for it. If I’m not wasting the hours away writing self-indulgent stuff on my blog, I’m probably doing something, y’know, actually constructive. Or alternatively, I’ve discovered Twitter. Actually that part is true, but it does nothing to undermine the amazing escalation of things in the past few months. I guess the tricky part is where to start.
Firstly, I want to talk about the recently concluded production of Hometown by Centrestage Youth Theatre out in Ferntree Gully. At the time of their decision to take it on, I was very, very excited to see the finished product, but as other things began to sneak up on me the notion that a well-established theatre company working under a very experienced director were performing one of my scripts kind of went to the back of my mind. As such, when the performance rolled around it sort of came as a surprise. Of course, I was terrified going in to the show, but I really had no need to be. Hometown was a well-produced, polished and fantastically performed production. The cast took it above and beyond what I had written on the page and I walked out feeling seriously elated. I cannot thank them enough for their hard work.
The thing is, any elation I felt that day was compromised by a bigger looming terror. See, the main thing that distracted me from Hometown was the fact that, while it was being put together, I had been developing my own show, Reunion, which just so happened to be opening the same day I went and saw Hometown. Hometown was a matinee show and Reunion was on at night so I had both in one day and it was huge. By the time we got to Reunion I was a nervous wreck, but ultimately, it went well. There were laughs at all the right places, no rotten tomatoes thrown and a couple of positive reviews to boot. There is one more show of Reunion this weekend, and after all that, I’m pretty sad that it’s ending. It’s been a lot of fun and a really amazing experience unlike anything I’ve ever done before.
More than anything, though, Reunion proved a point. It proved that there is room for people like me to take projects they are passionate about and, with the support and help of the right people, produce them for an appreciative audience. The first review of Reunion, while critical of some characterisation aspects, was mostly positive AND written from the perspective of a reviewer who knew nothing about the show, the people involved or who we were. To this critic, it was a piece of theatre like any other. They had no obligation to write anything nice about us and yet here was this random guy talking about the strengths of the dialogue and potential of the characters. If anything, he seemed to think that it needed to be longer and more fleshed out, which insinuated that he wasn’t sick of it by the end of the hour. That’s a pretty good sign as far as I’m concerned.
So I’m coming now to the crossroads of deciding whether I go on to do further study next year or devote the time to doing what I love with my new production company, Bitten By Productions. Ultimately though? Study seems pointless. Why sit in a classroom and have people tell me HOW to write and WHAT to write when I can just do the projects I want to see produced myself? Between us the group at Bitten By have so many strong ideas just begging to get made, that the next few years alone will not be enough time to realise them all. But I’m itching to do it. I want to make all of them and make them well and prove just what we can do. I’m not flying solo anymore; I’m surrounded by a team of passionate, brilliant people who inspire me and bring me down to earth at the same time. This has opened up the doors for some exciting new stuff.
So what’s next? First up we have a script I’m very proud of; a futuristic thriller called Below Babylon. Imagine if Reservoir Dogs and Blade Runner had a bastard love child that was subsequently raised by In Bruges. That’s what this is. It’s tense, violent, character driven but gives only a hint of the gigantic universe we have mapped out for it. If it’s a success, there will hopefully be more projects in this world. We’re barely scratching the surface with this one. On top of that, we’re currently looking at the possibilities of a kick-ass film version of it. At the moment, all I can say is watch this space.
It doesn’t end there, though. I’m halfway through a dark and intense World War II set drama which promises to be something pretty powerful, then there’s further ideas for a Hitchcock Style thriller about a cult, a two person play about a German and Australian soldier getting trapped in a trench together in World War I, a short thriller film with some very cool surrealist/horror influences, and more. Plus, somewhere in the middle of all this, I plan on finishing a new book. The next twelve months are going to be a hectic time, but I can’t wait.
I guess I’m scared of getting lazy, complacent or event just daunted by all this. My biggest problem has always been trying to take the easy way through things, but as all these projects start to mount I’m realising that that is not an option any more. It’s time to grow up and bring a new focus and commitment to what I’m doing. Other people are relying on me now, and I don’t have the room to screw around anymore. It’s time to get this stuff done.
Writing words about writing words.