Do you have something to say? Why not do a show about it?
I don’t care if you’re an actor, a writer, a comedian, or just a person with an opinion and a passion to get that opinion out in the world.
Too many writers I know (and talented ones at that) aren’t writing. Too many actors I know aren’t acting. And too many producers I know aren’t producing.
Most of them are waiting for the “perfect” idea . . . something that will be the next Hamilton.
Well, if you sit around waiting for that kind of lightning to strike, you just may never write anything.
Others I know just have a hard time staring at a blank screen and getting those fingers to start clickity-clacking away.
Well, this one’s for you guys. Why not write a show about a subject you know better than anyone? YOU!
And now some of you are saying, “But Ken, I don’t know how to do that!” or “I wouldn’t know where to start.”
Well, that’s what this blog is about. So read closely, because I’m going to give you a five-step process that is guaranteed to give you a draft of a one-person show in 30 days.
STEP 1: Grab your phone. Open your camera app, and tell a story from your life. Anything. From your childhood. Your experiences with online dating. How you once played golf on a 9 hole crappy public course in LA with Morgan Freeman, who golfs one-handed! (That’s one from my personal archives.) Just imagine you’re at a party and the conversation turns to you. And remember, it can be about anything. And don’t spend too much time deciding what the story is . . . just tell one. This story should last no more than 2-3 minutes. Go!
STEP 2: Repeat step 1 every day for the next 30 days. Do it at the exact same time every day. Make it a part of your schedule. When you get up. Right before you go to sleep. Like brushing your teeth. This will take you only 2-3 minutes every day, so don’t tell me you are too busy for 2-3 minutes. Get over yourself. You can find 2-3 minutes every day over a month.
STEP 3: At the end of the 30 days, hire someone to transcribe your audio files. You can find someone on a site like Fiverr (it’ll cost you less than $50). If you want to use the guy that we use for podcast transcriptions and other projects, email me at email@example.com and we’ll give you his info.
STEP 4: Take yourself out to dinner for all the writing you just did (without even having to type a word).
STEP 5: When you get all those stories back, print them out on separate pieces of paper. Set a stopwatch for 15 minutes. Arrange them in order in those 15 minutes. And now read it out loud.
And bam. You’re done. Believe it or not, you just wrote a one-person show.
Now of course it’s not done, and probably not even very good yet, but it’s a start. You just put a giant lump of clay in the middle of your sculpting studio. And that lump of clay already has a shape! Now it’s up to you to dig in there, smooth out the rough edges, cut some chunks right off, add some more, and slowly make it into a finished product.
What I’ve learned from myself, and from working with my writer consulting and coaching clients, is that it’s much, much, MUCH easier to revise a script than it is to finish the first draft.
So this process helps you get to that first draft faster, using deadlines and schedules that too many writers don’t ever consider when sitting down to work on a project.
Will your one-person show play the Palace Theatre? I don’t know. But I do know that the best piece of advice I ever got was if I wanted to be a Producer then I had to produce something. Anything. Didn’t matter if that was a reading of Romeo & Juliet in my living room, but this mentor told me I had to get started, and it would no doubt lead to other things.
Writing a one-person show is 100% better than writing nothing.
Because I guarantee at the end of the 30 days, not only will you have a show to put on your shelf (that you could submit to the Fringe for next year), but you’ll also be a better writer.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?