Monday, January 31, 2011

Commuty Theater and writing

A few weekends ago a student of mine was in a play at a community theater and asked me to go.  Since I have a shocking lack of a social life, Hubby and I were able to go.

It was two one act plays and they were excellent.  The one my student was in was about Juliet and Cinderella in a therapist office talking about how "things just didn't work out how they expected it." Spoiler, Cinderella was disappointed that Juliet didn't die at the end of her story.

The second play was good too, it was about a guy who thinks he's a super hero.

The night opened with two musicians, a girl and a guy.  The girl had a voice like a soul singer from the 40's.  She was breath taking.  I could have listen to her sing all night.  She was raw talent and I couldn't figure out why she was doing on a Saturday night.  There was only 56 chairs in the whole place.  She should be on Broadway.

The guy playing piano was good until he decided to break out a new song... and it got awkward FAST.
Somehow in my mind it's ok for a teenage boy to sit on a stage and sing about his broken heart but it gets creepy when he's forty. 

I couldn't tell if the songs he sung were good, bad or cheesy.  I don't know enough about music to be able to tell the difference... but I think I could compare it to reading the Twilight books.

So that got me thinking about different forms of art and writing.

I fully admit I got back into writing thanks to fanfiction but a lot of the writing community and most of the writing industry looks down on fan fiction-- much like the acting community looks down on community theater.  There are tons of talented writers who write  fan fiction. I'd even lump unpublished writers in the community theater label.  We've all read stories of writers who query their first draft and it makes the rest of us *headdesk headdesk headesk*   Unpublished writers are a mix bag of talent and "still learning how the industry works"  We're getting close but we're not quite there.

I would called a writer with an agent like a actor in a playhouse-- the venue sits at least a hundred people and they do plays that are well known like Alice in Wonderland, they have a budget and their doing well, but their exposure is limited.

Actors on Broadway would be writers who have had their book published, it's selling alright but they aren't a blockbuster. People who are like John Green, doing well, great in fact. No one is questioning his talent but he's not out selling Percy Jackson or Twilight.

A list actors are like New York Times Best Sellers.  Really in the population of writers and actors it's only like .5% that hit it big (I'm totally make up that number but it seems about it).

What other industry can you compare to the publishing industry?


  1. I don't know. The publishing industry seems pretty unique to me.

  2. I recently heard it compared to American Idol--where thousands and thousands of people stand up in front of judges (agents) and do a short sample of singing (query letter). Most of them, well, just aren't very good. Some are decent and have very serviceable voices, but you can't be make it to the top 12 (or whatever it is for Idol) by just being good. You have to stand out and have something special. Reactions are similar too--some people get angry and call the judges idiots who can't recognize talent when they see it, some people cry, and some people are determined enough to say, "I'm going home to practice and I'll be back next year." Fun post!

  3. I agree with Jess, everytime I watch American Idol, I see similarities to writers trying to get published. I use Idol as a comparison to publishing when I talk about it with my husband. I tell him to look at the thousands of people who really want it and only a handful will make it, that's how it is in publishing. (It works because he gets it when you can actually see the thousands of people on the T.V.)

  4. I'm pretty sure you can compare it to the music industry, but I'm currently brain dead. Also, to the comedy industry. Hubs and I have a lot of stuff in common right now with that.

  5. Hmm, great question. I like the American Idol comparison, but I think the pub industry could apply to any reality competition in which the audience plays a part. We're writing for an audience--the more they demand our books, the more we'll be able to supply them. :)