‘Got a lot farther by working a lot harder,
By being a lot smarter,
By being a self-starter’ - ‘Hamilton’ from Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Hey Bazzers! Yes, we did start both title and blog by repeating the same word in the same sentence, but in our defence, ‘December’ and ‘Hamilton’ are good ones. If you don’t know the above, then shame on you because it’s from the excellent musical Hamilton, a ticket and show so hot, swathes of people who haven’t even seen it are massive fans. (Pst, us included) but we intend to remedy this quicksmart with its arrival at the West End. Anyway, the reason a quote from this Nobel Prize winning musical is sitting pretty up there at the top of the blog is because Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer, rapper, and the first star of the show didn’t come from a pedigree, an ivy league or from, lets be honest, whiteness. Thanks to Obama’s term of office, he got his break of all places, at the White house. For such a thing to occur here in the British Isles is about as regular as...a very irregular thing. A class, gender, race and ability ceiling is fresco-ed and preserved by the National Trust. But all is not lost! We are indeed, the masters of our own destiny, and as Baz states in our mission statement - we quite literally made the theatre we want to see - and that hasn’t been working out so bad thus far! In our opinion, you need: a planner, some business cards, skill and passion, and you’re on your way - and what better time to be pushing the message of get up and go then that notoriously quiet period where everyone is sit-down-and-stay as one year slides onto another. Read on, friends, we got some tips for ya. So don’t say we don’t ever give you anything for the holidays.
(okay that sounded less arrogant in our heads - basically, we’re going to share our experience and offer some advice, okay? cool.)
So please trust us that we’re not trying to bring you down this Yule-lookin’ month - quite the opposite - there’s so much to do! There gets to be a mindset of December being the wind-down month, to take the foot of the pedal and onto the pouf, an entire box of Quality Street on our laps (no? Just us, ok.) and be swept up in cold mornings and shorter days - basically, in hibernation. But December need not be the December of December, friends, oh no. (By the way did we just invent that? S’cool - *runs off to patent it*) Hibernate, sure, but like our furry friends do, do like the squirrels do and leave yourself some nuts in the...erm….area to enjoy January 3rd. (don’t judge us, we’re big fans of Attenborough) Approach the new year as working off both rosties and ennui and be a Responsible Freelancer. And here’s Baz’s top three tips for how to beat the procrastination blues:
Join societies or groups:
As a freelancer, a writer, director, producer or practitioner, you work for a good majority of time alone. Which is great but a bad habit - in the capital, the wealth of book groups and special interest societies (some very special ones out there FURSURE) or to get you back in fighting shape: there’s meetup.com’s London Writers Cafe (link) who set a date and place to set up to write together in blissful peaceful quiet and unity, as well as regular talks set up by the organisers for a wide range of styles of writing, for example, with properly excellent industry insider talks. Meetups.com incidentally has a meetup event for any and every kind of activity (steady now, not that) that range from a group run to the highest point of Primrose Hill, to weekend ice cream tasting a new spot every weekend. Hey, you’re talking/creating/producing facts and stories about life, might as well experience it all, huh? There’s also always a ton of special workshops that new directors hub Young Vic offers, and talks to attend to brush up on your skills - BBC Writersroom is a good place to check out as well as London Playwrights Blog, BAFTA, the BFI...and any arts centre - the ICA for example have held some great Q&As with writers and directors. we could wax several buses lyrical on the wealth of talk to tune into - get out there and unearth it.
And not to get all social justice on you all but a good idea to get your union card, whether it be the National Union of Journalists for the writers, Equity or the Writer’s Guild - in times such as these support, be it opportunity based, funding or legal advice, belonging to a body that is designed to support the arts is totally not a bad idea.
- Culture Vulture
Okay now this one is obvious for sure, but of course, there can be so many reasons not to do something, especially on these colder, darker afternoons, but getting out to see everything is a must. Big theatres like the National to off-west End shows have previews and first nights - at cheaper rates than normal tickets, so many promotions too - from the National’s £15 tickets for under 26s, to Young + Free at the Donmar. New writing theatres are open to submissions and turning out work at the end of year too - never been a better time to join Theatre 503’s newsletter to hear of their latest Rapid Write Response - a chance to see a show for a reduced price, meet the creatives and write something that could be presented onstage. From West End to East End theatres are a lot more interactive these days. Books you mean to read (Peter Hall’s ‘The Empty Space’ is COMING WITH US this holiday break) great telly, etc - the season puts you in the best mood for absorbing the best the year has to offer, so get to it, and bring a notebook.
- Lists are your friends
Ah, the end of year countdowns, the stuff of sleepy post-christmas lunch comedowns on the telly (we say this but we will be watching them with the aforementioned Quality Street come a week’s time) but use it to your advantage - get a diary or wall planner now to prepare for the new year - shows you want to see, deadlines you want to meet, anything arts related - and keep it separate from your personal movements - a career in the arts is just a legitimate as any other job, and keeping a work diary will keep it separate and therefore, not ‘causal’ - the key is emphasis, not pressure. Here at Baz we know all too well, there’s a propensity to compare to others, to take your eye off your own path and put pressure on yourself that doesn’t need to be there. These lists aren’t there to dictate to you, rather to provide guidance when you get stuck. Keeping goals doesn’t need to be punishing - it can provide a much needed workout, and clearout of a cluttered mindset and as we know, happy minds, make for better work. And just to add, meditation is a great help to keep unhelpful habits at bay and create better neural pathways, learned behaviours that make for the most productive but crucially, most centered working life. The headspace app is perfect for that, as is yoga or pilates, anything that focuses on breathing, so that you can return to your book, script, notes with fresh eyes and knock that stuff, quite literally, out the park. We believe in you!
There see, not just a pretty face. And that friends, is how to add some lemon zest to your December.
Happiest of holidays to you lovely Brazzers, thanks you so much for yet another year of support, whether it's been in generous donation, coming to see a showing, or a like or follow, it all adds up and gives us that warm fuzzy feeling that melts snow faster than you can say ‘Bazzers are the best’ - cos you are. Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018! Enjoy!
With much love and thanks, we leave you with Lin-Manuel shootin’ his shot: anything is possible.