Adjusting my sails

adjusting my sails

Hello all,

I hope you have all had a lovely summer.

It has proved difficult to raise £80,000 from a standing start to stage a week-long production of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

However, having talked it through with the director, I am now planning to produce two semi-staged performances, one in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow, in May next year. I hope that this will serve as a showcase for the play to attract further funding in order to achieve my long-term goal of a full production and a tour.

The actors will have two weeks of rehearsal on an abbreviated version of the script. It should be a great evening’s entertainment.

Now I just need to raise £16,000…

I will keep you posted.



Ask an expert

So far I’ve raised £4800 towards producing my play. This has paid for the logo, website, video, costume designs, initial script work, insurance etc.

But there’s still a long way to go.

The Kickstarter didn’t achieve its very ambitious £80K target.

What I need are 16 wealthy individuals who can each afford to put in £5,000 to make this show happen. But where to find them?


Andrew Carnegie – Punch cartoon 1903

Perhaps it’s time to get some expert assistance. There are consultants who specialise in fundraising for organisations. I’ve contacted ten of them, will see what response I get.

Does anyone know someone who works in this field?

I understand it’s against the fundraisers’ code of ethics to work on commission and would expect to pay a fee.

Do get in touch if you know someone with expertise in this area!

Or know someone with £5,000 to spare 🙂



Have you ever heard the old joke about the person lost in the countryside who asks for directions from a local and gets the response ‘I wouldn’t start from here’?

I’ve had some interesting discussions over the past few days regarding my ambitions for my adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

It’s taken me many years to learn that when the BBC open their submission windows they are not looking for a wonderful script for a show they intend to make. They are looking for ‘writers with a distinctive voice’ who they can then get onto various schemes for their soaps and returning series.

It seems that theatres too are more interested in the writer than any individual work. Although it is rarely stated so bluntly there’s a definite undercurrent of ‘who do you think you are, coming here with your script that needs a big cast and big budget? Don’t you know there are people who have been toiling away at the coalface for years writing and touring small scale shows who are way ahead of you in the queue? Go away and write a show for Oran Mor. Submit your work to competitions like everyone else.’

Come back when you have more of a track record.

With regard to funding the same seems to apply. ‘We want to know who you are before we are prepared to invest in you.’ (There’s not enough money to go round to fund established artists, let alone unknowns with ambitious projects).

Come back when you have some people on board who we know and trust.

SAS hopefuls are sent on a twenty mile hike with a heavy backpack. When they finally arrive at the truck it pulls away. It drives just out of reach for another twenty miles.

That’s how I feel. I thought I was almost there but, no, ‘I wouldn’t start from here.’

Time to smell the roses

unplug for a few minutes

Hello all,

I’m delighted to report that I’ve received a further £750 in donations from two well-wishers so have funds to pay for some initial work on the script and to keep things ticking over whilst I investigate other financing possibilities. Many thanks to my anonymous supporter and Lightways Contractors from Larbert, my neighbour’s company.

I’m not very good at doing nothing but on a journey sometimes it’s necessary to take a break, replenish supplies and review progress so far. The best summer we’ve had for many a year seems to be a good opportunity to do that. I find that weeding the garden is good therapy.



Lady of Shalott                                        Lady of Shalott rose 2

I hope that you’re all having an enjoyable summer and can take some time to stop and smell the roses. I planted the David Austin rose Lady of Shallot this year and it’s just coming into flower. You’ll have to imagine the scent – warm tea, with hints of spiced apple and cloves.

The next chapter


The Kickstarter closed this morning and although three new backers supported the project overnight (thank you) we did not hit the target.

It was always going to be a big ask as it is an epic show (10 actors playing 21 characters) and even paying people ITC minimum this alone makes it an expensive undertaking.

But I’ve been working on this project, on and off, for 20 years (and in love with the story for much longer), so I’m not giving up.

The weather is gorgeous in Scotland at the moment, the first decent summer we’ve had since we moved here 11 years ago. I am off into the garden to enjoy it and give myself time to plan my next steps.

Hope you’re all having fun whatever you’re doing. If you’re an England football fan you finally have something to celebrate – congratulations to Gareth Southgate’s young team!

I thank my lucky stars I’m not stuck underground in a cave in Thailand. I don’t do well in dark, little spaces. Good luck to everyone working to get the kids out.

Keep in touch and watch this space.

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy PauschThe Last Lecture

Not the end of the story

Blue Goethe perseverance

We’re almost at the end of the crowdfunding month and it looks like we’re not going to hit our goal this time.

Kickstarter site

But this is not the end of the story.

I intend to bring my vision of this story to the stage.

It may just take a little longer than I’d hoped.

wild sea Harriet Beecher Stowe

Please keep in touch via this blog and our website:

Thank you all so much for your support, it is really appreciated.

Best wishes,


Hero’s journey – step 7 – all is lost

I got some disappointing news yesterday when someone I was counting on to fund my play contacted me to say that I was obviously not going to reach the crowdfunding goal and that the full amount was too much.

Anyone who writes stories, for any medium, will have come across the Hero’s Journey structure. Adapted by Christopher Vogler from Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces it’s a way of looking at why narratives are so effective, and have been since humans told tales around the campfire.

Here is top Hollywood script consultant Jen Grisani:

“One of the biggest story notes that I give as a story consultant is about understanding the significance of the “all is lost” moment. Your “all is lost” moment is an essential step on your journey and should lead to your achievement. In story and in life, when we hit our “all is lost”, it is the moment when we are as far away as possible from achieving the goal. We hit rock bottom. Our world caves in. In fiction, this moment happens at the end of your second to last act. After hitting rock bottom, a light goes on for the hero. She hits an “aha“ moment that helps her realize what she has to do to achieve the goal. Then, in the last act, she takes an action that leads to the moment that symbolizes her achievement of the goal and character growth.

In life and in story, these kinds of moments are linked. When we take actions toward our goals and hit obstacles, we have the choice of falling victim to the experience or getting up and continuing our mission. In fiction, it is monumental that we understand that the hero’s actions lead to their obstacles, and the obstacles lead to the hero’s point of no return — the “all is lost.” All of this should link back to the goal. We should understand that when the hero hits the “all is lost,” she is as far away from her goal as possible. When story does not work, it’s often because the hero’s goal is unclear so when she gets to her “all is lost,” we don’t feel the “rock bottom” moment and understand how the light goes on for her there, leading to her solution.

By understanding that the “all is lost” moment in fiction and in life is what propels us toward our goal instead of away from it, we can look at our greatest falls in a whole new way. We can see them as a beginning, not an ending. We can recognize their value and know that the very moment we feel farthest from our goal, can lead to our transcendence and awareness of what we have to do to achieve our goal.”

An example from a recent movie, The Martian.  Mark’s plants die.

Not all of us are as optimistic or resourceful as Mark Watney. We don’t have skills needed to plant food on Mars, nor do we have the good humor to endure such a hostile place. So when Watney loses his cool, how are the rest of us supposed to deal?

Things seem to be on the right track for Watney, a botanist stranded on Mars. NASA knows where he is and Mark has enough food to last until they arrive. All this changes when Mark’s airlock gets blown open and his crops wither and die. Mark finally hits his breaking point, and in a scene that earned Matt Damon a much deserved Oscar nod, he throws a rare tantrum in the driver’s seat of a rover.

The Martian is all about problem solving. Mark understands better than anybody the importance of problem solving, and prepares to take each of his many obstacles in stride. Up until this devastating hit, his productivity has not slowed. Now it’s come to a seemingly permanent halt.

This sounds familiar! So I’m at a similarly low point at the moment, but will take stock over the next few weeks and see what other avenues are open to me. A good friend told me many years ago ‘When God closes a door he always opens a window, Julie Andrews taught me that.’

Thanks to you all for your continued support and encouragement.


A dedicated follower of fashion

Sir Percy Blakeney is the leader of fashion in the world of the beau monde.

I’ve been having fun collecting some fabulous theatrical costumes I found on ebay. Now we’ll just have to find the actors who fit them…. 🙂


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Remember to join me for the livestream Kickstarter this evening, 7pm BST.

Kickstarter livestream Q @ A

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A wonderful boost!


Hello all,

Whilst in London I received a £5,000 pledge for the play  – our total now stands at £7,101. This particular supporter has been a great boon to the project since she gave me £1,000 towards start-up costs earlier this year. My next door neighbour’s company is also giving us a £250 donation, so it was marvellous to get home to such good news.

I was in London attending the Society of London Theatre’s annual symposium – a very enjoyable event where I met a lot of useful contacts, including someone who takes shows on international tours. That is a long-term goal for this play so a useful contact for the future.

spencer house painted room

I managed to find time to visit Spencer House whilst in London. It is even more beautiful than the photographs. If you are ever in London on a Sunday afternoon do visit – you are supposed to book but could always just see if they have space. The easiest way to get there is to walk halfway down Queens Walk from Green Park tube and then take a little alleyway off to the left – open to the public until 6pm – which brings you out in front of Spencer House.

Less than two weeks to go now so please pledge what you can and keep sharing the Kickstarter. Thank you.

The Scarlet Pimpernel – the original superhero – on stage – Kickstarter