Monday, March 26, 2007

Starting Out: Why I'm Here

From what I can tell, it's customary to start out one's blog with some explanation of why the heck it's necessary to create yet another blog, and why anyone might want to read it. (My reasons for all of this may be different tomorrow.)

I've been a playwright since 1987, when my first play was produced (The Elevator, by the Pendragon Theatre). I wrote it on a lark, sent it to a theatre with whom I'd worked as an actor and stagehand, and they decided to produce it. I was not quite 20 years old.

These days, I'm still a playwright. But as much as I love working in the theatre, playwriting alone hasn't quite been enough for me as a writer, artist, and father/husband. Over the years, I've found that some stories are best suited for particular media--some for the stage, some for screen, and others for the page. So I've written a novel (Tornado Siren), which was published last year. I've written screenplays, which have been optioned but not produced.

And it's not just that sometimes I want to work in different media. Sometimes I get fed up with theatre, because the pay stinks and the hours aren't conducive to family life (all those night rehearsals). So I'll say, "To Hell with it, I quit" and observe the resounding silence of a whole world of people not noticing. But then I miss working with actors and directors and the adrenaline of the lights going up on one of my plays with an audience excited to see what might happen next. So I keep sending out more plays, and even write some new stuff.

I've come to love writing novels and am deep into my second right now, but it's awfully lonely work. And (this doesn't apply to my friends, of course) novelists aren't quite as much fun to hang out with as playwrights and actors. And the pay, so far, hasn't turned out to be much better than theatre. There are other plusses, though, including the potential to actually make a living someday (that potential doesn't even really exist as a phantom for playwrights).

And screenplays. God, I love writing them. Especially the first draft, when it's just you getting to watch this cool movie in your head that no one else has ever seen before. But the business side is really weird. It's hard to do from Boston (and I don't think we're moving to L.A.). You get a lot of people being nice to you for a while, "we love it, we love it," and then no one returns your calls. Still, every once in a while, I'll write a new screenplay, because it's fun, or I'll start marketing my old ones (which are still good). And I have fantasies about making movies again (I liked making movies in college).

So, I continue to struggle to find a way to wrap all of this together into a career and writing life. There are elements of each type of writing that feed into the others. Certainly attempting to be a triple-threat seems to mean, at least in my case, a fairly slow learning curve and career progression. My plan with this blog is to share with readers (and fellow writers) some of the lessons and adventures that I stumble through as I continue to try to write and reach audiences in these media.

Thanks for joining me.


Dan S said...

Hey patrick, welcome to the blogosphere. I look forward to hearing more. You are looking might prolific already.

patrick said...

Thanks, Dan. It's been fun putting this all together, and I hope to be able to post every day. Reading the blogs by friends (like you and Adam S.) has been very inspiring.

Malachy Walsh said...

Cool. I'm in LA, trying to do from West Hollywood what you're trying to do from Boston. It's kinda fun, I have to say. And I'm still writing plays...

patrick said...

Thanks for posting, Malchy. I'm a fan of your blog (Adam turned me on to it).