The perils of a first draft


Sheep! They look so peaceful. Bet they wouldn’t much enjoy a music festival being plonked down in one of their fields. 

This last week we’ve been working on drafting the script for Best Festival Ever and making sure that all our pieces are fitting together. We’ve made an order of events – an order we think that this show should be explained in – and then have been fleshing out the sections from there.

This is the messiest part of putting this kind of work together. After you have spent so much time planning and organising and discussing and writing out your blueprint it’s disorienting to dig down into the detail and attempt to write between the dots as best you can. It’s uncomfortable and the script doesn’t look like anything much for a while. With five people writing into the document, and editing, it is even more confusing. You realise that while you all have agreed on a blueprint the differentiation in each persons vision of how this show goes are in its details. It’s important not to get too dragged down by this and to be able to quickly adjust to another idea but that in itself is easier said than done.

We have made this process more complicated for ourselves in the fact that we have decided to make a show that attempts to explain not just one concept of systems science and modelling but many. We are cramming a lot of detail into this little one hour piece and balancing the desire to give details against the need to be clear and concise is tricky. We could spend a whole hour (or more) on any one of the elements of systems science and modelling that are discussed in the show. One of the reasons we have decided to do this is to communicate the interconnectivity of each of these elements. We think our audiences can handle the complexity if it’s written well so we’re sticking with it. But it does make these periods of drafting a bit more dense.

Already in this drafting process questions of timelines, characters and levels of audience engagement have been raised. How the games are incorporated into explanations of resilient systems and modelling has been one consideration. How colourful can we make characters and storyline without over shadowing or making light of the scientific concepts and game mechanisms within the show. These are the problems that I don’t think you are able to see until you go through and write it all out.

Once this process is done we will have a much more level playing field in terms of the language and the details of the show. We will have more material to work with and we have detail rather than dot points. We will be able to get a much better perspective of what still needs to be attended to and where clarifications need to be made. And then we will be able to redraft it. This negotiation isn’t always fun but I think it is a hugely profitable one.

My question for this part of the process is, and one that I will be keeping in my mind is ‘

What are all of our goals for this show and are we hitting them as we draft it?’

– Nikki


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