Josh James and Scott Walters got into a bit of a tussle on Superfluities regarding finishing a script. Josh has the practical advice: Get the play finished. Scott sort of spoke about that as if it were tradesman talk, and some sort of degrading of his rarefied view of the writing process.
Josh and Scott are both great guys, so I'm not going to talk to either of their attitudes, particularly. I will say though, that it's very hard for me to take seriously the criticism of any writing process, let alone one that includes completed work as part of its intrinsic deal.
In my view, conversation is all well and good, theory is nice and fun in its place, but being a playwright and an artist means at least presenting a finished piece on some level at some stage in the game. I'm not even sure why that needs to be stated.
I would rather produce even flawed work, than simply criticism of other people's work. The important word isn't creative ... it's creation. As artists, we create, as best we can, from all the little memes and tricks and symbols that we can Frankenstein.
My mother always said "Done is better than perfect." Perfection is unattainable, universal acclaim comes to no human action ever performed. Some might argue no work is ever truly complete. But at least getting to the end of a play is a step in the right direction.
All naysayers who may or may not feel the need to speak about the creative process, or for the culture against certain kinds of art or theatre... well you have the right to speak your mind. But please, let's remember who is playing the game and who is sitting in the stands.
If an artist, such as Josh, in this new media world of immediate access, has the kindness and openness to expose his creative ideas and process to others, he shouldn't have to defend it. It's a gift, and that's all it is, whether foul mouthed or written like Bertrand Russel. It should be accepted as such, enjoyed. If it isn't your process, that's worthy of discussion. If you don't actually engage in the process as much as you discuss it, then that's something that should be taken into account before you do damage, through derision, to someone else's act of creation.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.