Tag Archives: new writing

New Funding For New Writing

Shutterstock / Guryanov Andrey

So last year, 2019, was an OK year work wise. I was checking and not including the Arts Council funding I got for my memoir in January, I did two further applications to the DYCP strand, both rejected. Since then I’ve been reliably informed that there’s a 5% success rate for those. I also did a Project grant application at the end of the year which was rejected, so sent a rewritten version back in January, which…
has been SUCCESFULL!

I think this is the first time that I’ve actually done a rewritten application, given my personal success – 4 out of 7 successful applications since Grantium online system (2016). And the first one of those, Sectioned, was a part 2 of that project, as ACE funded the filming and making of the work, but also the screening at Fabrica gallery in Brighton that year.

I also did part one and part two of a previous project, The Dog & The Palace, where part one was a R&D, and part 2 was filming the rest of it at Lancaster House (before the days of Netflix where they now charge a lot more for room hire!) And that was around the Olympics, when, sigh, there was money. Previous to 2016 all but one of my ACE applications have been successful.

Anyways, I digress. This new project is for my play on feminism, and talking to different people about their experiences and views of feminism, and looking at why it’s such a hot topic, especially in light of trans and gender discussions as well. It’s really an attempt to capture those discussions, and hopefully in 100 years time people will look back on this time we’re in currently and scream ‘why couldn’t we all just get along!’. And I’m not even going to mention the woman representing Harvey Weinstein. WTF??? Do you think she goes home every night after work and just cries? I dunno.

Anyway, again. My new play will be doing two nights at Wandsworth Fringe, which will mark the 5th year in a row I’ve put a play on at this festival. It’s called My Job Sucks, and is set around the world of a strip club. It’ll be on 22nd and 23rd May in the Arches in Putney.
Full details when tickets go on sale later this month.

Thanks to Jamie Wyld who’s supported me on a number of these applications through ACE access fund, and thanks to Arts Council England too.

A guy surrounded by paper

Playreading group – Script Tank

Last month I went to hear my new play read aloud in a play reading group I’ve just joined, called ScriptTank, who meet in Holborn. Whilst they’re  primarily a play reading group, they read a variety of different script formats.

I joined in a meeting at the beginning of autumn, where at the start of every term anyone can ask for their short script or an excerpt to be read, and generally they choose 3 or four shorts a night. Each person there gives feedback, and the writer is not allowed to respond until all the feedback has been given.

Hearing your script is vital for writers, whether or not you plan on making something yourself. It allows you to hear it as it would be performed, and you can hear first hand whether your dialogue is working or not.

I always record a script read, and the feedback, so that I can listen to it at a later date, when I’m ready to rewrite. But I also make brief notes when I’m listening. One of the good points about hearing your script is that it allows you to hear actually how long your scenes are. One note I wrote was ‘lots of explanation’. As I was thinking plays are dialogue driven, which they are, you can also be visual, although I’ve been confused with this type of feedback for plays recently.

I think ultimately, as one of the writers who gave feedback said, it’s about putting the action ON STAGE, rather than having the characters talk about it. They can still be dynamic when characters talk about things, but it helps if there’s ACTION involved.

The type of feedback I got varied, but it was pretty positive as I came away with a lot to work on. The over all subject of the play was discussed, as well as the characters and their own arcs, or journeys. The group was also concerned that stories with characters having mental health issues should be portrayed in a positive light. Whilst this is true, it’s also true that they do end up doing bad things in life, and making wrong choices, like everyone else. So I’m not too worried about this as long as it makes sense story wise.

Another interesting comment was that people were visualising 6 different plays. This is partly because this draft covered a lot of issues, but also  because even when we see plays in the theatre, it’s such an individual thing and we watch with our own interpretation of the world going on in the back of our minds, based on our own experiences. I think that’s why writing can be so subjective.

The most practical advice I got, which I think can be applied to all writing, is delete every other line of dialogue in long conversations. Now obviously it has to make sense, but you really can say things with less words.

The play reading came in at just over an hour, which was a bit of a surprise for a 45 page script, but it shouldn’t have been based on my other play writing experience. So I’ll put this play away now for a couple of weeks, and then get back onto the rewrites.