A few years ago I saw a post on Facebook about the Northern Rock Talent Development Fund. It was for young writers, so any one aged under twenty-five. Me being twenty-four at the time, I went into a panic when I saw that, because well, I thought “If I’m not a writer before I’m twenty-five it’s never going to happen”. So I studied the application and particularly liked that the Talent Development Fund was exactly that – a talent development fund. They wanted to develop talent; they didn’t want established writers or finished projects. They wanted first drafts, unfinished projects, etc. See – this caught my eye because I knew my writing was nowhere near ready to send off to producers or directors or anyone, but never the less I did it. I took a risk and pressed send. Then that little annoying voice went into autopilot, “Why do you think you have a chance? You can’t even spell. You don’t even know your grammar. Everyone else who would have applied will be graduates from college or university. You have no chance.” So imagine my surprise when I received the e-mail saying I was through to the next stage. Me. Someone that hasn’t been to college, who hadn’t had a great education. What I’m trying to say is: if I can, anyone can.
So now the ball was rolling. I had met with New Writing North and they immediately got me a mentor, Carina Rodney – playwright. Carina has been a godsend. She’s funny, talented and straight to the point, which I love about her. She has been there every time I’ve had a question, no matter how silly that question is. She’s really helped me develop my characters, my play and my confidence, not just in my writing but in myself too. I love that I can send her an email with what I have so far and she will send back notes, but I can also meet up with her face-to-face instead of everything being online. That to me is a big help.
I recently met with Ruth Johnson; director, actress and writer. Ruth really helped me understand that a play was doable with only two people, giving me insight into how she would stage it. This was great because I was starting to think I was being a bit too ambitious with what can be achieved on stage. But I was wrong.
I was taken to see the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time with Carina last year which was amazing and I was in complete awe. This helped me realise how less can be more. I also went to see The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes with Ruth at Christmas, which was also great but in a different way. This showed me that the same actors could play multiple characters and ages. Although these performances would have just been a great excuse for a night out, they really helped me in bits of my play where I was stuck.
I have a plan in place to develop my career, workshops, putting in bids and ultimately have my play ‘Zones’ on the stage. Yippee!
So if you’re thinking about applying just remember: shy bairns get nowt.
Find out more about the Northern Rock Talent Development Fund.