Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Who else?

written by Toksvig

Here is my “Who Else?” proposal. It’s for all of us: writers, makers, everyone, not just for those who find themselves in the position of being regarded as an elder, either by design or as a side-effect of something else.

I propose that, whenever we arrive at a place when there’s a ‘yes’ in the room, we try to ask “Who else… can we help simultaneously?”

For the elders amongst us, that ‘yes-in-the-room’ moment might be the moment we decide that yes, we will be offering an opportunity for the development of new work, or yes, we will be commissioning a new musical.

For the writers and composers amongst us, that ‘yes-in-the-room’ moment might be when someone else says to you that yes, they will publish / produce / love all over your work.
Anytime that anyone has the chance to do something, we could stop and ask, “Who else could benefit from this?”

For example: could we invite someone else into the room who has not experienced this particular process, so they could observe? (And how could we make that invitation into something that doesn’t feel like a consolation prize for losers?)

Or how about simply asking: who else’s work could we produce simultaneously? Maybe in a tiny way: have some songs sung in the foyer before the show. Hells, let’s have some trailers of other people’s musicals in front of the curtain before the show! I mean, movies do it! I have wanted to do that for ages.

Maybe we could ask, “Who else can we show this contract to, so they can see how this contract stuff works?”

And my favourite, at which I have spectacularly failed so far: “Who else's work can we publish in the back of my libretto?”

Generally, asking the “Who else?” question immediately raises a lot of other questions, frequently in the form of obstacles. I really understand that it’s hard enough to find situations in which there is a yes-in-the-room in the first place, so subsequently trying for more might seem greedy, precarious, foolish, rude… why make our creative lives even harder than they already are?

I think my answer is: because we can. We can, if we want to, ask “Who else can benefit from this?” and we can then address those additional challenges which emerge, and we can keep trying to find new ways to approach this until we hit upon some great “Who else?” methods, which we can then share.

There seems to be a huge amount of pressure on the facilitators in the business of making new musicals. Producers and venues have limited funds, limited resources, limited abilities to support all the new shows and all the writers making new work. Yet new work still needs development and, ultimately, that is the goal of all of us: to keep creating and presenting new musicals.

So I’m proposing that we can all play a part in that, and support each other, and be open to keep spreading the love amongst our tribe.

Let’s try asking, “Who else?” and see what happens.

No comments:

Post a Comment