Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Writing an Edinburgh Show (Part 3 – Grinding to a halt)

It was bound to happen I suppose, that nice free feeling of making something becoming replaced with a deep black hole of nothingness. So yeah, I’ve hit a wall. It’s weirdly though not the Edinburgh show writing that’s the problem (the stopping of writing is a side effect), rather, life outside that little collapsing bubble.

A few months ago I had a massive crash artistically and was lucky to get some good advice at the right time, but have seem to got very deeply into my own head again in spite of knowing that I’m doing it this time round.

Essentially, I’ve realised, the problem boils down to this: whatever I do I feel massively disappointed in it.

I find it incredibly difficult to be satisfied with anything at the moment (with the exception of my home life which is really good), but in regards to work, theatre and particularly stand-up.

The problem is that I have two conflicting voices in my head, one, the rather logical one, let’s call him Leonard Nimoy, Leonard is a smart guy, he can assess things accurately and says things like “that gig went well when you factor in the drunk, the man who had a heart attack half way through and the bloke at the bar who described you as a shit wanker as you walked on stage” or maybe “that production was good even though it was chronically underfunded and you nearly died”. I like Leonard. He’s great. He’s like Mr Sulu, but, unlike Mr Sulu he’s dead.

You see I don’t really listen to him even though I should.

Instead the voice I listen to is, let’s call him Kirk. He’s a bit of a wanker most of the time, but has an arrogance and forcefulness you can’t miss and you almost admire. He’s friends with Simon Cowell, and Katy Hopkins and Hitler. He says things like “that was shit”, “could have been better” and “KHHHHHAAAANNNN!”. He is also a maverick and breaks the Prime Directive on practically a daily basis. He’s the one that makes me want to curl up and die pretty frequently.

The thing is I know that to get a good crew together (i’m sticking with this metaphor you’ll notice), there has to be a balance – too much Kirk and everyone dies – too much Leonard and it becomes dull and boring.. and at the moment, I’m all Kirk and no Leonard. Whereas in my personal life I’m Sulu, cool as fuck, billy big balls, happy and calm. (I’m not Chekhov, i’m no fool, he wears a Red jumpsuit so is bound to die horribly at some point, even though he is also very cool…)

The problem, as ever, lies in stress, if something isn’t working it builds and builds and builds, and, in a horribly circular way becomes all consuming. The solution, I’m not sure at the moment, getting away from the stress is tricky… Maybe a week off will help… Maybe that’ll shove Kirk into the Warp Chamber for a bit…

That’s all really.. Night x

If you didn’t get this, it’s Star Trek, all of it, Star Trek. That’s Trek not Wars. I’m writing this because it’s good to share and I know a few people have similar sort of issues..