Preparing for 24-Hours of Frantic Playwriting

Friday June 26, 2009

I'm registered to take part in the Toronto Fringe Festival's 24-Hour Playwriting Contest. I've thought about entering before, but this is the first year I've actually taken the plunge. On July 1st all participants (there's a maximum of 60) will be in the Fringe Club Beer Tent at 7pm to hear about four things which must be incorporated into their play. We'll then have until 7pm the next day to return with a hard copy of our shiny new script in hand.

Because you can't submit by email, I'm actually thinking of this as more of a 20-Hour Playwriting Contest. I figure I'll need to be happy with the draft by about 3pm on Thursday to have ample time to check for typos and spelling faux-pas, fix any formatting I've ignored in the rush, print out and re-check a clean copy, and get me and it back downtown from Etobicoke.

With time so very limited, I'm trying to get as ready as possible in advance. So far the list of things to do includes:
  • Drip Toronto blog posts for Wednesday and Thursday
  • Prepare the Toronto newsletter that goes out Thursday afternoon
  • De-clutter my workspace, which is an ongoing battle for me
  • Vacuum & sweep in the office so I'm not tempted to clean when I'm supposed to be writing
  • Buy a back-up printer cartridge to avoid an ink-related disaster
  • Alert my family that I will be incommunicado during that time
  • Read some plays to get in the zone
  • Work on some of my other scripts, also to get in the zone
  • Ready the snacks!
One thing I won't be doing is any sort of pre-writing. I don't know if other people may be brainstorming loose plots or characters, but in the true spirit of 24-hourness, I won't be giving a moment's thought to a potential story until after the 7pm announcement (that's what the transit ride home is for!)

I'm not really gunning to win this thing, or even place. I will be thrilled beyond belief if I simply complete a script in the allotted time that makes sense, has distinct characters, follows an actual story arc ... that sort of thing. In the past I've managed to write pretty well under pressure, but it's been a few years since my last NaNoWriMo, so it'll be interesting to see how this goes...