There are a number of stages when starting any creative project (or indeed ANY personal project).
But a couple of big ones are:
- When you think of the idea
- When you decide to actually do it / or not
- When you tell the world about it
Stage 1 – CRAZY PLANS AND SCHEMES!
Stage 1 is the pub / kitchen / middle of a dream conversation when the idea has a beautiful vague shimmery appearance – full of excitement and youthful energy and a future of glittering opportunity.
Stage 2 – THINGS GET REAL!
Stage 2 is where the details emerge – as you discuss with yourself and/or your creative partners what this damn thing is actually GOING TO BE! Things may still be vague but you’re nailing down some guidelines. We’re going to start an ethnic musical group / a co-operative wholefood stall / a positive-thinking workshop for dogs or- God help you – a theatre company. Reality tentatively creeps in.
It’s also at Stage 2 where you’re more than likely going to realise that the whole thing is a terrible idea and the result of hubris, ego and two bottles of cheap Merlot. You mentally shelve it, promising to think about it really, very properly again in a few weeks. Y’know, once you’ve got all that other important stuff out of the way. It is never seen nor heard from again. Nobody knows. Or will ever know. Life moves on.
You swallow the fear, accept the risk, quash the natural (and perhaps very much deserved) feeling that such a venture has no hope of success – and you throw yourself deep into it. You commit dammit! You declare that your life will be lived fearlessly and that if you’re going to hit walls you’re damn well going to run into them! A little bit of you also quietly accepts that this could very well lose you a great deal of money. Especially if you’re forming a theatre company.
Stage 3 – TELLING THE WORLD!
You’ve got your plan, you’ve suspended all rational thought and you’ve committed to doing this thing. You’ve made initial exploratory noises, you’ve set the behind the scenes groundwork, you’ve even ordered the bloody business cards and you’re finally ready. You have to tell people.
After this there’s NO TURNING BACK! Once you’ve sent out that press-release or made that announcement in a crowded room of your peers then it’s so incredibly hard to not move forward. If you stop now, what will people think of you? That you’re a quitter? That you couldn’t see it through? That in the face of the hard light of public exposure you ran screaming to the hills?
Are you going to be seen in this way? HELL NO! You’re a winner, always have been! You’re Stallone buying his dog back! You’re a risk taker, who doesn’t play by the rules, but always gets results! This is a perfectly natural state of cognitive dissonance that allows you to push through the double doors and run triumphantly into the world waving your shiny new project aloft and yelling “BRING IT ON, MELON FARMERS!”
All of these stages, all the fear, all the quashing of rationality, all the cognitive dissonance, all of the downright bloody-minded refusal to accept the facts that are staring you in the face – all of this is necessary.
Because now you have only one thing left – to damn well do what you set out to do.
We hatched a plan to form a theatre company. We moulded it and formed it into a vague shape. We booked venues, negotiated with agents, wrote press releases, sent applications, planned and schemed, devised and plotted. And now we’ve told people.
We now have to actually DO SOMETHING.
Bring it on!