Author: Lucy Hunt
I honestly never wanted to be a writer. Never thought it was an option for me. Never thought I’d be any good at it. Still don’t a lot of the time.
My name’s Lucy and I’ve been pursuing a career in acting since I was 15 and let me tell you, it’s pretty brutal out here. Even if you finally manage to get in the audition room, your chances are next to nothing. Aside from the battle of proving you’re capable performer, reliable and likeable, it may be as simple as not looking like the pre-determined image they had in their mind. So, you’ve already pictured the rejection email as you walk in. Or no email at all, in most cases.
I think I got sick of waiting. Of putting my career in other people’s hand. And every casting agent asks for a show reel, but in order to get a show reel you need to get a job, so you have a bank of footage. But to get that job, they want a showreel – a vicious cycle really. So, I decided I had to do something for myself. I had an idea for a short film, and being surrounded by incredible creatives, I set up a meeting with a friend of mine, a writer. I explained the concept, went into detail about character choices and visual design. And he turned to me and said, Great, now write it yourself. Although his response filled me with dread at the time, I’m forever thankful he gave me that push.
He explained that he couldn’t write it for me – that it was something in my head that I needed to put on paper. So I did. I gathered more of my talented friends, pitched the script to them, got a crew together and became a part of the pre-production world. I fell in love with it. Having those creative conversations behind the camera and being more intrinsically knitted into the foundations of a production was a joy. A main bonus being I could shamelessly cast myself; I also gained an understanding for how much work and time goes into a production before the camera even starts rolling. It was an eye-opening experience. Being part of the casting process allowed for further insight into the cut-throat rejection this industry is known for. I received an overwhelming number of applications for the male lead. Each person had talent and lots of it. But sometimes it can’t be enough. As the writer of this piece, I couldn’t help but have a personality, as well as a visual aesthetic, in mind for the role. In watching the self-tapes, I could see the actor’s personality within the performance, one actor in particular matching the characters’ almost exactly. We cast him in the role mainly due to this fact. And he happened to be extremely talented as well, which was pretty useful. But this just showed me, you have to be the right fit for the role at the end of the day, a revelation that attests to the thick skin I’ve developed when it comes to rejection.
We finished the edit of the film and put it out into the world. It was pretty cool moment. The film – ‘1NS’, linked here, gained traction and ended up heading to film festivals around the world, such as Lighthouse International Film Festival in New Jersey, USA. What started off as a little showreel scene for me, sparked a fascination and joy for the world behind the camera.
And a few years later, I, along with my best friend, set up Springbok. Springbok is an inclusive production company that works with young writers, artists, actors and directors to develop new, multi-media productions. Our first project was a play I’d written.
During the second year of my training, I had a pretty difficult time. Whilst training to be an actor, directors seemed very interested in making comments on my physical appearance as opposed to giving me feedback on my acting ability. Having my weight spoken about in front of the entire cast during a rehearsal period was a tricky thing to manage. I considered dropping out. But I knew the whole industry wasn’t like this. I just needed to find the joy of it again. I thought back to how happy my short film had made me. How much I enjoyed the process, fell in love with creating and the cathartic experience writing can be.
That is when I started writing ‘These Craters of Ours’.
These Craters of Ours tackles issues surrounding the emotional and physical strain of women’s fertility in the 21st century and is an ode to anyone wrestling with the complexities of growing up in a pre-determined society.
As opposed to ‘1NS’ which I wrote over a few weeks, Craters took me months to structure into a story. I think 14 drafts was the final count. Over about 4 months I went back and forth between writing, sending it to my friend, getting notes, rewrites, researching, rewrites, rewrites, rewrites. The thing I loved most was that the script never had a fixed point. It was ever-changing. And this flexibility is something I find essential when writing. Being in the rehearsal room with this script, I saw it from all angles. Some things no longer worked, and that was okay. I was fortunate enough to be working on this with two incredibly magical humans on this show, who I owe the success of the show to entirely.
From putting on this show, start to finish, my number one tip to anyone thinking of scriptwriting or starting out, don’t be precious with your words. Listen to the director, actor, whomever. They could have pearls of wisdom, being the ones experiencing the character’s emotions or trying to do the story justice. Where you’ve only seen it on paper, they are living it. You’ve written something great but maybe it could be better. Maybe you’ve missed something, or something doesn’t sound as good as you thought it would. The actor may know how to fix that. The director may spot a space for exploration you never considered. I truly believe collaboration is a one-way ticket to success.
Writing has been a solace for me, a home for me to explore the extent of my creativity and tell stories. I hope to continue writing things of meaning, working with friends and meeting many more people with a passion for storytelling.
In a creative world, where thousands of people can do what you do but better, I’ve decided to give myself a fair chance at everything, in the hope of, one day, being the best.
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