• Ollie Horsfall

Best Laid Plans: Another Route

Updated: Sep 12, 2018

How many good plans, the kind made every day, actually achieve their final result? This is a question that is sorta baffling because you would hope the majority right? But let's be realistic, everyone wants to reach their endgame, but if everyone was making giant leaps based on good ideas and actually landed on the other side, I doubt Trump would be in the White House or HIV would remain uncured.

I had an idea, since I live in Prague and know a bunch of artists who often complain about a lack of independent creative endeavours I thought "Why don't you create one." Good idea, yes? So here's the plan:

- Create an event where a bunch of people can collaborate on an independent project.

- It needs to be simple, both to organise and for people to take part

- It needs to be financially possible, or just free to do.

So I thought, why not start a Scratch Night, a night of short plays, all by writers looking to have their writing abilities tested, for actors to stretch their muscles and perform, for directors to practice their... well... directing.

I have personally directed, produced and written my own plays. My first play 'The Edge' had two actors,two light changes, a single FX loop (homemade) and three props. The play concentrated on simple and direct dialogue resulting in an emotional finale. It was simple but award winning.

The Edge - Studio 101 - 2015 - (Tangle Photography)

The second, 'T.E.A.R's', took on a more abstract form:

Seven Actors, a musical score composed under my supervision, choreography, physical theatre, a script entirely in verse and a feature length. (Bear with me because I'm going somewhere with this). The effort put into the first production, while considerable, was nowhere near the same level of energy and people management the second took. It was enjoyed by audiences, but, get this:

the organisers of the festival I hand-crafted this play for, (thanks to an invite back after my first award win), didn't come to see it.

In fact they didn't even send their volunteers to see it.

IN FACT they agreed to let another play, on at the same time as my own, put a special offer on their show tickets to bring in more audience.

My time. My energy. My beautiful actors, co-director, and sound designer who put in tremendous time and energy. The painstaking hours of planning, of writing, of casting, of making personal calls to the actors after castings to let them know either way - and all this even before the . The careful consideration of subject matter. the research, The money I had to scrape and borrow to get thing rolling.. The fact I was doing this for the benefit of others, as well as myself, to try to create opportunities for members of the local creative community. Yes,

I did of course get some satisfaction knowing we had made something incredibly special, but after everything, not to even get an official festival review to not receive any recognition from the people who made me go through all of it in the first place? Pah!

So I've stayed out of doing creative things for a while. They put me off. I had my heart and my faith shaken and it's held me back for just over two years now. I just decided to start writing properly again with the birth of this blog.

Just to re-iterate:

That's two years of starting good ideas and putting them down never to pick them up again.

Two years of doubting I have any talent at all.

Two fucking years of waiting to feel inspired again.

and two years walking in the wrong direction when in came to my career.

All this because they couldn't send a single person from their team to see our show that they asked me to create.

Yeah, I was bitter, yes I was hurt and the only reason I'm telling you this now is because I want you to know that it didn't stop me. Yes, I still feel a cynical twang every time a person refuses to help to move me forward with my plans, but you know what I decide to do? I just pick another route. Not to hammer a point, however the path of least resistance is often the path we choose anyway, choice or no. Don't let someone choose for you, it wastes your time and that will often be to your detriment, not theirs.

Cast of T.E.A.R's in rehearsal. 2016

Long and whiny tangent there: but it would be very easy for me to doubt myself, in fact, I did a lot of that today, but I'm just looking at the obstacles and walking around them, or stomping through them, as appropriate. Why? Because I remembered I am in control, for the good OR the bad, I decide what happens to me and, damn it Miranda, I'm going to try my best to not let people screw me over.

You should consider doing the same, gentle reader.


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