Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Agents and actoring

So, let me tell you a little about a project I hope to be undertaking next year. My good friend Jackie (Jak) and I are members of a local theatre. We met several years ago when we acted together in an uplifting and joyful (can you hear the sarcasm?) one act play about suicide called 4:48 Psychosis (written by Sarah Kane should you feel inclined to read it). We weren't put off and between us we've been in many other plays since then.

After the final performance of a play I was in last October, it was suggested to me by a fellow cast member that I consider directing something. Daunted about taking on such a task on my own, I suggested to Jak that we do it together and, fortunately, she thought that was a good plan. We had talked about doing something two or three years ago, but were never quite brave enough to do anything more than discuss what a good idea it would be.

So having decided this time to go for it, we spent quite a bit of time reading and researching plays we may like to direct (any with roles in that either she or I would want to play were summarily dismissed), and we finally settled on one with an enormous all-male cast of two. We presented it to the artistic planning group at the theatre and were shortlisted - very exciting.

On Sunday just gone we were invited back to give a second presentation, and although we haven't been given an official thumbs up yet, I think it's in the bag. Not wanting to tempt fate completely though, I shan't unveil any further details on our chosen production until I have something in writing!

On a different note entirely, I follow a blog by a literary agent called Nathan Bransford - I'm new to it so still discovering things about it. I found out yesterday that every week he does a critique of a follower's first page. As far as I can tell it's on a first posted, first served basis. Even if you don't get your post on in time, his critique and red line of the successful person's work is incredibly useful.

Also, I'm currently reading a book by an agent called Noah Lukeman called The First Five Pages. If you haven't discovered this book - go on to Amazon and get it now, it's fantastic! (Or Waterstones, as, at the time of writing, it's on offer with them.) He basically tells you, step by step, the cardinal sins that will ensure your work ends up in the agent's bin, rather than on his 'to call immediately' pile. He also gives you exercises to apply to your work, in order to correct any problems that may stand between you and an agent reading it. He's done a couple of other books too - The Plot Thickens and The Art of Punctuation. I haven't read them yet, but if Five Pages is anything to go by, they'll be equally interesting.

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