Tonight I was supposed to go to the Rocliffe New Writing Forum at Bafta, with David Parfitt chairing. I've never been before so was really looking forward to it, but alas a combination of my volatile back and feeling a bit under the weather, meant I didn't in the end. (By the way if any of you onthebloggers - yes that's what I've decided to call you, Lucy can have her Bang2Writers so I'm having my onthebloggers - did go tonight get in touch and guest blog about it!)
As I understand it, what happens is that three 7-8 minute script extracts are performed by professional actors. Following each performance the writer receives feedback from industry folk and answers questions from the audience.
Here's a confession, I've never heard my work performed out loud before. Shock horror! But to be fair I'm probably in the vast majority of writers. But I don't think you'll find anyone who says it doesn't help. And all being well this will change soon as The Storyteller is due for a reading in NY a week on Sunday. I'm really excited about the trip as a whole, but particularly intrigued about the reading. It's already been stressed to me that it will be the actors interpretation of my script, whatever that means. (I must resist the urge to shout just read what I bloody wrote!) It should be all the more interesting as my script was set in South London, with a hard drinking, hard talking Glaswegian for a protagonist. I presume all the actors involved will be Americans, so probably no "Och aye the noo" (I swear I never wrote that once)
But I have seen scripts given a performed reading before. During the first term on my MA, we all wrote short film scripts. Three of the best were read to the group. My friend, Matt Sinclair, wrote a cracking short called The Lamppost. The last line was an exclamation of anguish from the protagonist. None of us in the workshop group thought it worked, tonally, character wise, nothing. And then the actor who was reading that part did it so well, so absolutely got it, that by the time we met next in our group everyone had changed their mind.
It was a real eye opener as to what an actor can bring to a part, how that can make or break a character and a line, and how you just wouldn't know this unless you hear it performed.