Four weeks from now, at the upcoming Melbourne Magic Festival in July, I’ll be performing a two-week run of a new solo show. The venue is booked, the programs are printed, and the tickets are on sale.
I just haven’t written the show yet.
The cue cards in the photo to the right represent the show structure so far. Those two blank cards represent routines that aren’t figured out yet. Three of the other cards represent routines that are confirmed, but still have serious issues that need to be solved. The top two cards were damaged in a dog-chewing attack, though technically that doesn’t affect the show.
There are also plenty of unscripted parts, segues between routines that I’m not sure how to write, and all kinds of inevitable problems that are going to crop up in the execution of it.
Chaotic though it may sound, this is pretty normal.
When working on a new show, signing up for a performance festival can be a great way to get it off the ground. There are few things more motivating than a tangible deadline of actual people who are going to pay actual money to see you. Motivating, and frequently terrifying.
The problem is that for most festivals you need to book many months in advance. So unless you’re one of those unbelievably blessed people who can actually front-load their schedule, most of the actual work gets done in that exponential mad dash for the deadline of opening night.
But hey, sometimes that’s just the nature of creative work. I’m yet to find a way to force my brain into creative mode other than this. Drew from Toothpaste For Dinner pretty much nailed it. As did Calvin and Hobbes.