I’ve once again stumbled upon someone else saying something that I say all the time, which I take as evidence of how brilliant we both are:5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Playwright by Rachael Stanford
Oct 18 2013 | 1 comments
I stumbled into playwriting. I was a semi-successful poet who was getting her Master’s in Technical Writing and happened to have a couple slots open in her schedule. A playwriting class sounded like a fun, easy three credits. Quickly, however, I got sucked in. And within a few months, and a bit of beginner’s luck in a local playwriting contest, I was hooked on the art.
Looking back, though I do wish I knew a few things. It definitely would have made the first few years of my career smoother:
1) What sounds amazing in your head doesn’t always sound amazing out loud
Coming from a prose and poetry background, I thought for certain that I had a grasp on how my words sounded. But after my first work was performed, that quickly changed. Jokes that I thought were funny fell flat. Parts that I thought wouldn’t get laughs were hilarious. I had made one huge mistake. I didn’t have people read my work aloud first. Grab some actors or your friends and have them read your script in front of you. You will be surprised how your work changes .
2) Your vision of your play will not match the director’s or actors’ vision and that’s ok.
The first time I had a play performed, I was shocked. The vision in my head, so carefully crafted did not meet the reality I was viewing. It was unsettling, until I realized this was part of the transitive wonder of the theatre. You aren’t the only artist who contributes. A multitude of voices comes together to make a piece of art that can, the next night, drastically change. It’s unique to the genre sometimes frustrating but an amazing process to take part of.
3) Buddy up with your local theatre.
Local theatre is a perfect place for you to start as an artist. Many local theatres are easily approachable and open to performing plays from local playwrights. Even if your work isn’t performed, volunteering with the play (or even going to see plays) is going to help you understand all aspects of theatre better which will vastly improve your writing.
4) Rejection is a part of daily life.
There’s no easy way to say this. No matter how good your work is, someone out there is going to hate it. Thus, take rejection with a grain of salt. If your play doesn’t make the cut, review your work, but don’t fixate.
5) Practice! Practice! Practice!
I think artists forget sometimes that art is a skill. Instead, after reading amazing works, it’s easy to think instead of a skill that art is a divine talent, a naturally born skill that you either have or you don’t. While there is no denying that inherent skill does play a factor, never forget practice makes perfect. So what if you wrote a play and a week later you think it stinks. It’s helping you along the way to your perfect script. Besides, later on you can compare earlier works to your later works and see how much you have grown.Rachael Stanford dances in the rain in Central Illinois. When not out enjoying nature, she spends her time locked away with her computer writing. If you like her work, please keep in touch and follow her at http://rachaelstanford.wordpress.com/