Sunday, July 14, 2013

I write because someone out there reads

I’ve been writing since I was a child. My mother always encouraged me to channel my very vivid imagination to the arts; music, drawing, theatre and writing.

And as a kid, I wrote a few short stories that amused my mother and those who cared enough to read them. I never got any feedback or told if I was any good, but I enjoyed writing them and it really helped me to get my stories immortalised.

I then gave up writing, became a young actor and I was able to release my mind through the performing arts. And for many years I tried hard to become an actor. Difficult profession, but one that gave me real satisfaction knowing I could use my imagination to transport myself into the characters I was playing. At a later stage, with the help of a local amateur theatre company called Group 64 in Putney, London, I discovered other forms of expression such as directing and designing. I had the opportunity to direct several plays and it was at this point I realised that being an actor was not for me, I really wanted to work doing something where I was able to project what I could see in my mind, and place it on the stage, with actors, costumes, lighting and scenery.

And the amazing discovery for me was realising that you could take a play and place it on the stage in any way, shape or form you liked. Proof of this was when I was given the opportunity to direct one of my favourite plays, “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by Luiggi Pirandello, which takes place during a rehearsal of a play, a play within a play. It’s an easy production to stage; all you need is an empty set, a theatre and a group of actors plus a few props and lighting.  As I was planning the production in my apartment I suddenly had a vision. Why not turn the whole things around! Let the audience sit on the stage. After all, the action takes place during a rehearsal and generally actors sit and hang around the auditorium during rehearsals and the stage is usually bare. So we did, we brought the audience in through the workshop and onto the sage, sitting facing the auditorium, a view not many had experienced before!

The production was a great success because we had good actors and it is a great play but I also believe it was because of the setting; it was interesting for the audience to experience something very different. And I knew at that point that imagination is the most powerful tool we have and I needed to put my to good use!

During my time with Group 64 I found again my passion for writing and wrote several plays. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to put them on the stage. I say fortunate because people don’t like to take risks, especially when it comes to new plays/scripts. There are so many sequels littering our cinema screens, Hang over 3, Fast and Furious 6 and if Stallone could have done it, we would be on Rocky 20! Mostly it is because Hollywood in particular won’t take risks, as unknown writers don’t pay the bills! So instead to taking risks and investing in new scripts, they re-make successful films over and over again.

And that goes for anything to do with the performing arts: plays, musicals, films, songs, it is very rear that you are given the opportunity to show case your work and launch your career, specially as a writer.

I left London through my day job and I moved away from my artistic path, finding my feet in the hotel industry, where I have been able to build a good career. And I forgot about my writing, for a while.

But 6 years ago I got promoted and my job required me to travel around Europe. Not a bad job if, like me, you like travelling. I found myself spending the majority of my time on the road. And I mean on the road as the time it takes to get from one place to another. After a while of being “on the road” I realised that I was spending on average 16 hrs a week to get to and from my destinations. At first I used to do what most travellers do; read, eat, watch a movie and sleep.

But soon I realised that when you have 16 hours a week, which I considered being dead time (strap to the seat of a bus, taxi or plane) then there must be something better to do with this time. And I remember, I remember my passion, and I picked up my journey from where I left and began to write again.

It was perfect! I had time, a computer; I was tied to a chair and a vivid imagination waiting to burst out! The four key elements to be able to write. And over the last five years I have accomplished a lot as a writer. I have developed several plays, ranging from monologs to full-length dramas, I have drafted 3 sitcoms with several episodes, I have put together 3 full length musicals using songs from famous artists, I have written 3 film scripts, 4 short stories, several articles like this and drafted many ideas for scripts which are waiting for me to put down on paper (or rather laptop nowadays) and all that in just those sixteen hours I have every week.

Now, all of my work, except for one play a comedy called Lodgers, which was chosen by a company called Writers Avenue as part of their annual competition “The First 20 minutes” and performed in Soho Theatre, London in 2011, all of them have never been performed or read by more than a handful of people. We are talking about hundreds of hours of work, put together in scripts and stories, the fruits of my hard labour, have only been seen by a few lucky ones, those few that are usually forced by my to read them!

So why do I continue to write, when I know only some will read it? Very simple, there are two things I believe in and I express through two sayings:

“Our dreams are our realities of tomorrow”
“I write because someone out there reads”

These two phrases, as a writer and an artist, keep my soul alive, my heart fuelled and my pen moving! And I know that if you are reading this article, I have fulfilled at least one of the phrases, because someone out there is reading this…

Keep on going, no matter what obstacles there is, at the end, the journey is only the path to our success.