Anna Marsland, 27 January 2013

I’ve just finished a directing course and am about to embark on making my first piece

of work. After Saturday, I was feeling a bit down and needed a bit of positivity, whether

that be generally about the industry or just some positive personal experiences. There

were about 8 people who attended overall and offered their input.

This is a summary of what was said:

Be sincere. There are lots of nice people who want to help out. Some people in the

group had been recipients of that help and appreciated it. Others said how much they

enjoyed giving that help.

It’s okay to have everything in place. No matter what level you’re at, you will never

have everything exactly as you need it.

Focus on being 100% you, and define yourself clearly.

Remaining positive brings about opportunities and draws people to you. Being positive

is a form of emotional intelligence.

One person said they found that ‘forcing’ positivity was a helpful thing; another said

that it didn’t work for them. One person said that they found it was really important to

find their own unique positivity and it was an important source of energy and


Accept that there will be peaks and troughs. There needs to be negativity too. Some

times you need to get to the bottom of the trough to have the energy and drive to

pursue the next thing. Sit till you’re so bored that you can’t do anything but pursue the

next exciting thing.

Leave the house for a few hours a day.

Give your time for free.

Failures and bad/negative experiences can be really useful.

Being too busy can be equally as negative as having nothing.

Is it a particularly difficult time for the industry? It’s always been difficult. Things still

happen. Work still gets made. It can be exciting.

When planning a project, it’s easy to place too much emphasis on all the reasons why

this would be so positive for it to happen/go well. Find 10 reasons on why not

achieving what you want would also be a positive thing. Might take time at first, but

find 10 reasons. Will leave you in a much better place between the positive and


Use physical changes in posture or by laughing to induce a feeling of positivity.

Always try to be as clear as possible, and don’t be afraid to ask the ‘elephant in the

room’ question.

Map out what you want to achieve and do as soon as possible. Spell it out to the


Check in/Check out: ask everyone at the start and end of the day to say how they are

feeling. We chatted a little about the practicalities of doing this and how

helpful/unhelpful this can be to different processes. Stressed the importance of finding

the right things to work for each individual group, but agreed that sensitivity and

awareness are very important.

As a director, are you only helpful when you’re negative?

Important to use people’s time well. Think about what you like about the planning of

the day? Put yourself at the receiving end.

Check everything as much as possible in advance. Pre-plan.

We then talked about a production I’m planning. It was a really positive, helpful advice

session with lots of practical, specific help about working in a non-theatre space,

marketing, and who to speak to for advice. I left with a smile on my face, lots of

questions to think about and some really helpful contacts! Thank you!

Comments: 4

Chris Grady, 28 January 2013

What a great digest. Thank you for calling the session. May I have permission to include some of it on my website (credited

of course). I do a series of sessions each month for creative artists who are looking for help, stuck, or confused. I will direct

people to this report after the CGO Surgery sessions. <br/>



[email protected]

Anna Marsland, 28 January 2013

Hi Chris,

Of course! More than happy for you to use it.


Sally Christopher, 29 January 2013

This was the perfect way to end a great weekend. Thanks Anna for hosting and for everyone who came - a small but

perfectly formed group! Anna, please do keep me in the loop with regards to your Manchester show - I'd like to help where

I can. Stay in touch @ [email protected]. Have a good week, Sal x

SUSIE RIDDELL, 29 January 2013

Reading this was a great way to start my day today! Thank you for your report.