Crowd Funding

Mar 01, 2016

I cannot describe how this word terrorises me. I try to put it off as much as possible, until it is far too late, and then I am shocked that I have not raised any finances. This involves attending as many fundraising workshops as I can - as a form of therapy. It is pretty straightforward, according to many of the spokespeople: It’s all down to preparation.

Then come the success stories. Theatre company crowd funding went extremely well - they exceeded their budget and, secured a transfer to a West End Show! Gulp! Leaving those sessions, inspired to start my own campaign, I get lost in the simplest of things. What prizes should I offer to those willing to contribute? A signed script? An opportunity to sit in rehearsals, although that’s not always viable when you are in the atrium of the Southbank and ushered along as visitors are getting disturbed. On the topic of gifts, remember do offer what you say, otherwise this can lead to grim stories of heartache. If you promise a bottle of wine give that bottle of wine, even if it’s a cheap one and your offer an expensive replacement that simply won’t do. Friendships have been dangling on such things. Posters are a favourite, however more often than not no one wants to spend 20 pounds on a signed poster when no one has heard of any of the cast or production team (although don’t dismiss this completely - you will be surprised the poster itself can be a piece of art.)

Then, we’re told, self-promotion on video plays a key part. This is where you sell your show and where you entice the audience into investing in your production. Try a ‘relaxed’ approach, injected with a bit of humour, followed by the subject of the piece. But this may vary - if it is a war torn political piece, feign remorse and appear worthy! And if its a comedy or musical, best not sing a note from the show, that can produce severe irritation all round.

A few things to ponder, but I can say for sure that my poster is worth purchasing as the artwork is spectacular - and well worth the 20 Pounds! 

Back stage gossip...

Feb 24, 2016

I feel I need to talk a bit about my long-suffering co producer Ken. Not only is he producing our piece Mind Games at the Camden Fringe this summer, but he is also writing and acting in another (more of that later) so yes he hands are full, yes he is the super organised one, with endless patience and a great work ethic.

We first met over 10 years ago at the fateful drama school near Kings Cross on the intensive summer course where I entered as a frightened rabbit caught in headlights and eager to please, desperation plays an important part when you are hoping to secure a place on the full time course and only a handful are selected. Troubling times - your 20s trying to enter the profession when all you want to do is write and direct yet somehow acting gets in the way.

Acting, or attempting to act, would describe my predicament; we both happened to be in the same acting group and were cast in Marin Crimps The Country. Ken took to his role well as the country doctor having an affair with a younger woman/patient. I on the other hand was to play a repressed wife in her 40s in the scene where the wife confronts her husband.

Many voice, dance, rehearsals were geared to the final performance a section of the scene, but needless to say rehearsals were not going particularly well on my part, directed by a man with high blood pressure which the slightest sound set him on edge, I was instructed to enter with a bag look inside and say something about how I had found out about my husband’s betrayal.

So, as ordered, I walked in opened the bag and peered in… enter the director screaming “This isn’t pantomime you are looking as if you have discovered a dinosaur’s head!!”. Needless to say the performance went downhill from there, and no I wasn’t asked back!

So from then onwards I became friends with Ken, and we have collaborated on several shows together. I don’t have any complaints –only perhaps our running joke that I hope he remembers his lines!!

So now Ken will be performing at The Pentameters Theatre in Easter 1916, where is has a large part and is directed by someone who I started working alongside as a trainee director. It will be a doddle, but his workload is not to be mocked, I don’t begrudge him in the slightest - acting producing and writing, all in one go. Hats off to Kenny!

The Fringe Experiment- First draft

Feb 16, 2016

This is the first time I have decided to do The Camden Fringe, where I let go of the reins and let someone else direct my piece. Most of my time on the circuit has included, producing, directing, running, dragging, and  holding the stage together. By the time the show is up I am finished mentally and physically - ready to collapse!

Not this time! No! This time I take the role of the writer and yes the role of the producer  (fear not I don't get out of everything being a masochist I have to keep myself in work to somehow to justify my existence)... So yes to write feels a bit strange, and now I get to see how the writer has felt working with me. I know I cannot bear the thought of words being chopped in the rehearsal room or that dreaded phrase used by actors  '..this doesn't work how about we change it to..' That cruel cut, and to sit there being graceful about it all makes me itch furiously triggering a eczema flare up! But no I will sit there with a pained smile and see how we can come to a 'compromise'.

Then when I watch the director snatch the script from my hands and make their own decisions about how it should be done, I will have to let them get on with it, not leap onto the stage and say how about you try it that way, because if that happened to me I would have stormed to the nearest SM (stage manager) to say how awful they had behaved - and if they wanted to direct why didn't they do it in the first place!

This is a test to learn how to let the staff do their job, the writer is there to write and the director is there to direct, lets not blur lines as that can be stressful and agonising. So off now to pen the piece: that would help! After a quick chat with my co-producer, "Kenny!"