Writing musicals for a career is not that smart a move. It’s the sort of career where you can make a killing but not a living. Ie, if your musical takes off, you can never need to write again, but really, the musicals that take off are the lucky few that make it to Broadway or the West End – so not the sort of thing you can take to your bank manager with confidence. But it’s pretty hard to find the time to write if you have a full-time career doing something else, ie advertising or lawyering – two of the careers I considered before I decided not to have a career. Not to mention that you need to stay in the theatre loop in order to have a chance at getting your work produced.
About four years ago, I began living one of my long-term goals – whatever dollar I’d make would be related to the entertainment world in some way. Matty had already been doing this since he left drama school, but I’d temped, found late night pizza delivery for people through Yellow Pages, relayed phone calls for the blind and various other jobs. Then I went and worked on Priscilla for a couple of year and I vowed that when the Oz tour wrapped up, I’d keep earning my living through writing and directing.
Which brings us to today’s topic; Photosynthesis. Matty and I write educational shows for schools – or edumusicals as we’re pushing the world to accept as a term. We use the skills that we’ve developed through writing our more traditional musicals and apply them to subjects that small casts take out to schools. It’s quite a challenge – you get a basic topic – say financial literacy (our last show Dollars and Sense) or the current one – ecological biodiversity – and look for what some of the essential lessons are, and ways to dramatise them – or at least make them catchy and entertaining.
So right now I’m reading about how photosynthesis occurs (I’m still not quite sure) and then thinking how to make a key point, a title and then a song. My friend Lisa had the idea Songs in the Key of Carbon – and I did like the feel of something a little coffee-house and laid back. So once I’ve digested the science of photosynthesis – the way a leaf takes in CO2 – I will pop out a song – the way said leaf does oxygen.