In fact, it is downright messy. It is fraught with doubt, exasperated by the fear of bombing, distracted by the demon of too many choices and constantly bombarded by the temptation of “putting it aside for later” or worse, giving it all up.
I’ve been through this wringer… and I go through it EVERY TIME I start a new project. It is work… no matter what medium you have chosen to create in.
I’m writing this because many (or at least some) of you are starting to put together something for the 2013 Rogue. Though what I’m writing about applies to just about any creative project you undertake. Here are some tips as you create.
1. DEADLINES ARE A GOOD THING
Admit it, you’ll only get it done if there is a deadline. Most of us are creatures of procrastination… it’s a fact. Deadlines are limitations. Limitations, more often than not, force us to be more creative than when we have the luxury of “forever” to get it done.
Here is a very important tip… don’t wait for a deadline to be imposed on you… CREATE YOUR OWN. Preferably one that is way ahead of the game. This allows for tweaks that can (and usually) makes the difference between “good enough” and “really good”.
2. CREATE SOMETHING YOU WOULD PAY GOOD MONEY TO SEE
This is VERY important. Trying to guess what the audience wants is a slow and steady downward sloping death march toward mediocrity.
Creating is about passion. (I have yet to see anything worthwhile created from a case of the “blahs”.) It is about that germ of an idea that takes hold and gnaws at you until you’ve been infected by the insanity to create. (I can personally vouch for the fact that any act of creation is insane. Accept that and move forward with a smile of frenzy.) That is the show you should create and mount. Chances are… if you would pay good money to see it others will too… and probably spread the word for you (which is what you want).
For those of you who have labored through any kind of creative writing class and heard the statement, “write what you know”… just tag “… you will pay good money for” at the end.
3. CREATE WITH A “WIDER VIEW”
This simply means… create a show that is “tour worthy”. Sure, it’s great that your friends and family are going to pack the houses for your performances for the “home game”. Chances are they will come because they want to lend support… or you have threatened to leave them out of the will if they don’t. In all probability they will pat you on the back post-show with a “good show” compliment because… well frankly because they are obliged to.
But will your show play 200 miles away with an audience of strangers? That’s the true test of a show. That’s the kind of show you should be creating.
Forget that insulting “good enough for Fresno” crap! Fresno deserves better.
Listen, you don’t even have to commit to touring on the US or Canadian Fringe circuits… although you should seriously consider it. California currently has 4 other fringe festivals for you to strut your stuff. They are in San Francisco, San Diego, Hollywood and Santa Cruz… all a drive away. So, start there and then tour the national and international circuits.
4. SUBSTANCE IS EVERYTHING
It is and don’t let anyone tell you different.
Think of it this way… the dress may be beautiful, the shoes fabulous and the jewelry stunning but if you don’t have a body to hang it on… all you are doing is giving a tour of your closet.
5. ALLOW FOR TWEAKS
(See Tip Number 1 to facilitate this.) This list includes development, re-writes, cutting, work-shopping, more re-writes, rehearsals, etc. Think of your idea as a giant slab of marble and you are Michelangelo chipping away to free the shape imprisoned within it.
Like I said at the start of this post… creating is messy.
Good. now that we’ve got all that out of the way you can move on… so, start creating, yo! And after you do there is producing… which is a whole other demon. One insanity at a time, OK?
So, yeah… if you are thinking about doing the Fringe circuit watch this.