The allure of community – September 2014

by Geoff Hall on September 30, 2014

The allure of community

Mentoring for word, image and performance art.

Mentoring for word, image and performance art.

Over the last few months I have been working on the screenplay of “Seeing Rachel” with Jayne Chard (our Producer). It’s not the first time something I’ve written has been scrutinised by someone else, but it is probably the first time that something I’ve written for the screen has come under such scrutiny.


I’d read articles about possessive and insecure writers feeling suicidal after they received what the film industry calls ‘notes’. That’s a polite way of putting it, but generally you can get comments about the plot or the characters, or motives and dialogue. I had decided after reading such articles, I would endeavour to be open about this process and not get defensive when I received anything other than a pat on the back!


What has happened because of this, is that the screenplay is much tighter and the dialogue punchier. I’ve even had to sacrifice my favourite scene because it would cost too much to stage. This meant that I had to get my head back into the story I thought I’d finished and figure out a new way of concluding it.


It reminded me of my need, my desire for community. Now, of course when I say community, you may think of a bunch of hippies living together, playing guitars, writing poetry (and skinny dipping in the moonlight instead of having a relaxing bedtime bath).


However, community, common unity, should be focused on working together on a common cause. The past few months for me have been a challenge, but I believe it has helped to develop my writing talents and I began wondering about other possibilities for collaboration. Having said that, I know painters and sculptors like to work on their lonesome and so my screenplay example may seem a little inappropriate, BUT…


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Postcard "Head of a Black Woman". 1910.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Postcard “Head of a Black Woman”. 1910.

I remember visiting a Ernst Ludwig Kirchner exhibition in 2003 at the Royal Academy in London and was thrilled to find out that although the movement Kirchner was involved with (Die Brücke) was dispersed across a city, they used to send each other postcards informing each other about what they were working on. The example here is of Kirchner’s African motifs, but I hope you can see how it may apply to some of your work. Just informing a fellow artist about your current project, perhaps suggesting a meeting in a local café or your studio and hey, that sense of community can grow from humble beginnings. It doesn’t have to change the world, but it could change the way you work and move and have your being.

This is just a thought. I know Charlie Groves sometimes sends me an audio file with a song he’s working on and I sometimes send him a script, (this is always longer for him to endure than me), but it’s exciting to hear what others are up to and so let me encourage The Group to share; like for like, palette to palette, pen to pen, musician to musician, actor to actor and let’s start the joy of community from our daily practice. This could then feed into the Tree House and then we all win from this activity.

Peace and Love,



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