Director’s Block

There is a lush thunder storm playing outside my window and screen door.  I’ve holed myself up next to the door listening to the late night noise.  As a child, night was my most creative time of the day.  As I grew up, I learned that all humans are more creative at night, before bed or right when you wake up.  My summers are always spent staying up late and sleeping in, I write and work and play at night, allowing myself to create characters for the next play, or figure out a scenic design I know Wayne will murder me for creating.  As a kid, I’d crawl out on the porch roof right outside my window and think, or climb down and run in the woods.  Even though I have more freedom as an adult, I find my childhood freedom to run in the woods and play much more appealing.  It might be that I cannot climb on my apartment complexes roof or that there is no forest near by to play in (I used to skateboard late at night, but then the city dismantled the public skate park by my house).  Anyway, I’m finding my creativity running on empty this summer.

Creative block is hard, it’s become a cliche particularly aimed at writing careers and if you haven’t experienced it it’s hard to understand. It’s like reaching a dead end when you were so certain you were walking in the right direction. Suddenly you have no idea where you should be going.

Trying to get out of a blocked spell is agonizing – much like the use of spray to remove a nasal blockage. I try and try and try, staring at the problem until I get so frustrated and tired I have to do something else or go to sleep. Predictably it is in these moments a tiny escape route from the block appears; often the best thing to do tends to be to forget about it for a bit.

That seems like daft advice to give myself when summer is closing in and I haven’t found the right ending for The Hobbit let alone created a set.  And don’t get me started on our One Act show… (I also think it’s a bit frowned upon for me to admit that, which I think may be part of the problem with the block). So, I have Wayne asking me technical questions about the set that I can’t even answer (honestly, I REALLY need to figure out a set) but I actually don’t know anything about what I want. This summer was suppose to be about relaxing and figuring out budgets/classroom needs/drama club/season things (a typical summer for me), but what it has turned into is me freaking out because in less then a month I have to stand at registration knowing what the year will look like.

So, as I sit/pace about/stare at pieces of paper scattered across the floor and make notes in my journal in a desperate attempt to figure these shows out visually with no collaborators anywhere near me I begin to suffer from director’s block. An inability to reach any decisions or visualize the piece as a whole. Whenever this happens I tend to turn to YouTube videos of theatre companies I admire, choreographers I love (which never helps, but always makes me happy) sometimes films and occasionally I will stumble upon something really useful. Other times, I will just rack my brains trying to think how I can emulate such and such a company and how my show can be as good as theirs. This is not – on the whole – productive. I’m stopping now. I’m going to do something different and go to bed, but I’m taking my notebook with me because – well – y’know…


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