So, you’re interested in writing something for our *coughs* UK Blog Award-winning site? Great news.
The most important thing to highlight to you before you start to write is what the whole Honest Actors’ thing is really about. In dry terms:
- The project aims to restore the balance in the conversations we’re having and hearing about acting.
- It is a forum for honest reflections on the realities of being an actor.
- It aspires to establish a community of experience, to emphasise identification with others and to improve mental health among actors.
What does that mean?
Write from your own subjective position, and acknowledge yourself in your writing. The more you give of yourself, honestly sharing your fears and failings, the better the article will be. That probably goes against everything you’ve ever been told about writing, but fuck that shit – this is different.
My limited experience of what has gone well so far, and my own imagined ethos for things to come, suggests that talk of any kind of success is alienating and thus antithetical to the aims of the project. As for the apparent tendency to impart advice from a position of relative wisdom, the note I usually give on first drafts is not to feel the pressure to have the answers. Write as though you are advising/admonishing yourself, in the past, present or future. The problem with Green Room wisdom is that it can be self-serving or embittered, as often as it is genuine and selfless. Advice, as Baz Luhrmann suggested, is a way of dusting down the past and recycling it for more than it’s worth (for more on that, by the way, check out the #ActorSunscreen hashtag); I like the idea of identifying the source of the regret and sharing that.
Like I said above, the Honest Actors’ project is about identification with other actors; a community of experience that sits outside levels of success, age or time served. What do we all have in common? That it’s been hard. That we have failed. That we have doubted ourselves. And that we have kept going.
Here’s some more technical advice and guidelines for getting started.
- Read some of the guest articles that are already online. There is a huge range of styles, from Christopher Testers rumination on Depression to Katie Elin-Salt’s uplifting honesty, from The Anonymous Actors angry rants to Nicholas Water’s considered reflection on parenthood.
- Have a think about what you want to say, and ask yourself if it fits in with the objcetives of the project. If you’re unsure, send me a title/topic or two to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk it over.
- Get writing a first draft. I’ve published articles that are 500 words, and some that are 1,500. A good place to start, however, is somewhere in the region of 600-900 words.
- After you’ve had a read over it, send it to me (email@example.com again) along with a headshot and a 50 word bio (for an example of the style I’m after, see mine below). Include your twitter handle if you’d like me to link through to that too. Orrrrrr, if you’d like too remain anonymous, ignore all this and mention it in the email.
- Don’t panic if you don’t hear back from me for a week or so. I will read it and, in most cases, give you some editorial feedback. Then, all being well, we can get it into the schedule.
Interested? The ball’s in your court…