• j.mee

Your skill set is both bigger and smaller than you thought.


I'm currently working on Project Cat's Away: The Musical.

It's an adaptation of my first middle grade spy adventure book. I'm creating it for a contest I found for new musicals, as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. I have never written a musical before. I have never had a major part in a musical before. When I was in grade five, I auditioned for the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz, and after my audition the drama teacher sat all the little students down and told them: if you want the witch role, you have to at least make a witchy voice. I did not know this. I did not get a do-over audition. (I became Bat #2, and I acted the wheels off that role, let me tell you.)

Anyway, a musical seemed like a fun, new, interesting challenge.

And I was right.

It was/is a really big challenge.

At first blush, I thought it would be enough that I wrote the libretto (that's a fancy word for a script with songs in it), but now I've discovered I must also give links to performance files. This isn't a crazy request - if you're writing a musical and someone wants you to sing in it, that shouldn't be a shock.

The thing is, I'm not a performer.

I've always wanted to be (see anecdote above)... but frankly, I'm no good. Sure, in a shower or a choir I can hold a tune, but on my own, I'm pitchy, breathy (because I never trained my diaphragm) and I get pretty bad stage fright.

So, what's a girl to do? I called my more talented family and friends.

My pianist (that's my Mom - shout out! You're amazing!) figured out how to listen to my rambling, sung-into-my-cellphone-dictaphone-style tunes and find their real pitch. My performers (that's my friends Nick and Jen - shout out! You're amazing!) breathed life and interesting quirks into the delivery of the lines. These were things I never could have done on my own. It made perfect sense to find and rely on someone who has years of training over me, who could do it quicker and far better than I ever could.

At second blush, I realized I would have to record and upload the performances.

So what's a girl to do? I googled the heck out of garage band, purchased some midi to usb adapter chords, did two separate recordings (one on computer, one on camera), and discussed technical questions with technologically savvy friends. These were things I learned, attempted, discovered. I'm going to be returning the midi chord, I could never get it working on our recording day, but, with a little persistence, everything was put on 'tape' and now things are in their final stages.

I'm hoping to have my entry locked down and submitted by mid-next week, with several days to spare.

I guess, what I'm saying here is like a serenity prayer for all creative types - grant me the ability to see the things I can do myself and the things I really need help with, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Because our skill sets will always be bigger and smaller than we think they are.

#friends #advice #skillset #musicaltheatre #askforhelp #youcandoit #goalsetting

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