Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Acknowledgements

The only parts of the book left to write are the dedication and acknowledgments. I'm not sure I want a dedication, unless it's a funny one (a friend dedicated her book to Mr. T) -- otherwise it seems kind of pretentious.

As for the acknowledgments, I'm similarly flummoxed. Looking at other writers' acknowledgments pages I see long lists of people who provided information, interviews, documents, feedback, proofing, reality checking, soundboarding, reassurance, inspiration, free therapy and a bunch of other things.

And I look at my book and I feel like it's mostly been a pretty solitary exercise. I wonder sometimes if I should have done more collaboration and reaching out. Should I have gone to some Second City people and found out what they think are the keys to using humor successfully? Should I have surveyed my actor friends on the most important lessons from performing? Should I have talked to clients about the kinds of things they're most interested in learning about?

I don't know. I've never really written like that. I'm not big on reaching out. And, in fact, the times I have looked for help I've been kind of disappointed with the response. I asked one of my old Second City instructors to look over a couple of chapters that dealt with humor and sketch comedy. He said he'd look at them, but then he never did.

I even paid a guy -- or offered to pay him several hundred dollars -- to review an early manuscript and give me some general feedback on the overall direction and content. (This was before I had an editor/publisher.) He missed the deadline and the deadline extension and ultimately just disappeared. That was really odd -- when you can't pay someone to read your stuff.

I've found this a lot with people in the acting world. It seems business people are generally more responsive and reliable. I recall old projects where an instructor or director would look you in the eye and say, yes, I want to help, I want to work with you on this, and then ... they just don't. Not even an explanation -- I've changed my mind/I don't have time/I looked at this more closely and decided it sucks -- just silence. Which I think is pretty weasely.

I guess all of that's just life and human nature. Not everyone does what they say they'll do. Also, it's important to keep things in perspective and remember that nobody really cares about your stuff the way you do.

I have had some help. A few friends agreed to look at a few early chapters and provided helpful feedback. A couple of notable people have patiently heard out my angst. And I've gotten lots of feedback on the various title options -- I guess that's a fairly simple, concrete thing that's easy to help with.

But for the most part, other than the publisher, I feel like I've been pretty alone on this. As with, I think, most other stuff in my life.

One thing's for sure: if I do write acknowledgements, I should wait until I'm in a brighter mood.

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