Director’s Blog: A Monstrous Production

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I can’t believe its been so long since I wrote my first.

Sunday’s are my production days – I think of you dip in and out throughout the week you can become consumed by it or you don’t actually get as much done as you think. So on a Sunday evening when everything has been done I sit down and work out what I need to do and start getting it done. Writing the blog was at the top of todays list so here were are.

Having not directed a show this large before it’s a big learning curb for me. So far I have learnt the following:

  • Not everyone gets spread sheets so also put into the text of the email who you need and when.
  • Second to this – make sure you haven’t been a fool and put everyone’s emails in correctly.
  • Whatsapp groups are a good idea – I shall be utilising mine more over the next week or so.
  • Sometimes people can’t make rehearsals. Just breathe and work out what you can do with the people you have.

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Rehearsals

Blocking has been interesting – I’m a visual person, and I can draw out and plan what I think a scene should be but until they’re standing in front of you it’s hard to get it right – whose going off where, what the next scene is etc. This can lead to some long pauses in rehearsals while my brain is whirring round and round and all the actors want to do is learn their moves so they can start acting. But we’ll get there. I think we’ve blocked 90% of it by now. But we’ll see next week when we run act 1 and 2.

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Actually, as much as I have an idea of how I want things, the cast opinion means quite a bit to me, they will come up with things I haven’t thought of and several times they’ve gone – Higgs this doesn’t work, how about [insert change here]. I do want to encourage that as much as possible. Sometimes it’s a collaborative process.

I’m starting to see the cast getting their characters. There was this little bit last week, when they’re all trying on bits of outfit before they go off to war – and I looked up to see Tonker and Lofty helping each other (as they would) then Carborundum stomped over to get some help with hat, and it was just right. It was 20 seconds of a whole play and we’re only in blocking. But it’s those kinds of things that just put a silly smile on my face. You know what, thinking about it, I’m telling all of you that I really loved that moment. I don’t think I told them at the time… I have to note that down for next weeks rehearsal.

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Production

I had a very real conversation with my PM this week about cash, I mean it needed to happen – doesn’t mean I liked it. If our conversation was a musical, it would be a mash up between Jessie J Price Tag (me) and Simply Red’s Money’s to Tight (to mention)  (her). I now really want to look that up and see if it exists – and if it doesn’t someone should make it. But on a serious note – We’re a Community Theatre Company, we’re not in it to make a profit. We’re in it to put on brilliant shows. But when every ticket counts you have to ask yourself – is this item worth 10 tickets?

When you’re directing you kind of have your head in the clouds about what you want everyone to look like on stage – there’s me telling everyone I want World War 1 German style outfits for 5, and Peninsular Style military outfits for 12, plus the Troll, plus all their non military outfits – oh and I want 2 explosions and cutlasses and swords for everyone. I think I have to reign in what I want and put down what I need. Problem is, I feel that I need it all… We’ll find a way around it. We’re having a production meeting tomorrow where we can split all the jobs down and we can come up with some ideas on what we can actually do.

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The nice thing was, I sent my props list to my “Props Man” and he seems pretty confident that we can put it all together without much hassle or money changing hands.

It’s just costumes I need to work on – I’m going to spend a large portion of the evening putting together Pintrest boards…

Marketing

ARGH! The Video – We don’t have this yet. We do really kind of need one. But I’m really torn. I don’t want a video of people not in costume and it’s unlikely we’re going to get all of these until we get to the theatre. There are a couple of letters in the play, I was kind of thinking of having them written out on screen with a voice over. A more cartoon type approach – but I have no idea how much these kinds of things cost. (Might be back in the kitchen making more fudge to bribe my mate again… Hopefully he doesn’t read this before I can approach him) I mean people make lyric videos all the time, and every time I go on Facebook I see these scrolling videos of click bait.

Right – I’ve got like a million things to plan for the meeting tomorrow – I shall be back soon. 🙂

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