I feel like the majority of my blog posts this year have opened with some kind of disclaimer about how busy I am, but it’s scarcely felt truer than the last couple of weeks. In trying to catch up with someone recently I checked my schedule for the next few days and it’s packed; so much is going on, which is awesome, but equally tiring.
Movie Maintenance feels like it’s slowly getting back to a point where we’re all happy with it. Last week on Cup Day we recorded five back to back episodes, and while I can only really comment on the ones I was in, it seems like they were all solid. With most of the cast being overseas recently we’ve been flying by the seat of our pants for a while now, only getting episodes ready the week of release, but we’re catching up again and having the luxury of several weeks of episodes in the bag means we have more time to craft stuff that we can be really proud of – the position we were in during the little hot streak we hit last year.
Then there’s Seasons of Fear, the horror anthology written by the cast of the show, which has been printed and will be available to purchase in the next couple of weeks. We got the books a few days ago and aside from them looking very sexy, it’s pretty awesome to hold in your hands something you’ve been thinking about for months on end. The physical release has roughly coincided with the audiobook version of my part, Sunburnt Country, coming out on Movie Maintenance Presents, and I’m already thinking about the future of that story – both a screen version and a sequel. Maggie, the protagonist, turned out to be one of those characters you kind of can’t stop thinking about, and I’m really keen to revisit her in a follow up story. I have this rough idea of her as a kind of Jack Reacher type character, a lone wolf wandering from town to town in her beat up old car with a shotgun and a cricket bat, solving problems and righting wrongs wherever she goes. Like a deadly, present day Mad Max.
I’ve also been trying to do National Novel Writing Month again, but it’s proved difficult time-wise. Friday was spent locked in a boardroom at the ACTF developing a certain television project that I am very, very excited about, and otherwise the time I’m not spending tutoring is spent finishing off various freelance projects that are a massive time sink but at least pay the bills. It’s a shame because I’ve been really excited about this NaNoWriMo project – for those familiar with Windmills, it’s intimately linked to that particular story, kind of a prequel about villainous drug lord Dominic Ford but very much its own novel at the same time. I’ve written about 10.000 words but finding the time to keep that up has been the problem.
Then there’s The Commune, my new play which opens this week. A dark thriller about a man who grew up in a hippy commune and has to return home when his mother dies, it features an amazing cast and the brilliant Ashley Tardy once again on directing duties, but I’ve barely had two seconds to think about it. Still, I suspect it’ll be a great show and can’t wait for the preview tomorrow night. Luckily, having only been involved from the writing standpoint, my involvement was hardly expected to be more than what it has been, which is honestly fortunate.
And then there’s the big one; Moonlite, the musical project I’ve been working on with Dan Nixon for over a year now. It opens January 17 for the Midsumma Festival and rehearsals have started in earnest. So far they’ve been excellent; it’s been really fun to start sculpting this story and with a cast predominantly made up of trained musical theatre professionals I’ve never worked with before it’s a new and very exciting experience. I’m mildly terrified of screwing it all up, but it’s running smoothly and if nothing else the songs sound great so you’ll probably find something to enjoy in there.
There were times, not that long ago, when life seemed to just shuffle along, a constant cycle of work, bills, uni and so on. The projects I had to occupy me were few and far between and rarely anything really good. But for a long time things have been different. If things continue the same way for the next couple of months then this will be officially the first year of my life that I got by completely doing work in my field, without a dreary day job helping to pay the bills, and the fact that it has worked so long is staggering to even think about, especially considering last year living this way seemed like a far off pipe dream at best. But what has made it all better is that 2017 has been characterised by a near constant stream of really exciting projects. I might have been spread thin, but it’s hard to take issue when I can look back at the last few months and, for the first time, feel little more than a strong sense of pride. And that gets one step better when you realise that the stuff that’s still to come looks even more exciting.
Writing words about writing words.