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Reflecting on my PG bursary

Updated: Jan 29

When I applied for the Producer Gathering bursary, I had a long list of projects I had wanted to kickstart with the money. The challenge of getting funding means that I have been taught, or taught myself, to stretch any opportunity to the limit. What I have found myself learning since the Bursary though is that my personal development is worthy of 1) time and 2) funding as much as any project.

So often as producers we champion the development and access needs of others (rightly so) at the detriment to our own mental health and personal goals (wrongly so).

So the Bursary gave me some space to welcome my creative and emotional life into my projects more. Using my four days of paid time to breathe and bring me into more of my producing. To not bury so deep in admin that I lose inspiration. And to be honest about the times I feel overstimulated.

I live with OCD. The condition informs my relationship with others, with my work, with the world around me. Sometimes it bites me at important moments and often it dulls my mind. When it is particularly bad, I find it impossible to complete tasks which others seem to do without thinking. I tend to think a lot. Detach from the highs and lows of a process to get things done.

Growth for me looks like feeling my way through more, despite time and political pressures. Sounds good. How do you feel as a producer?

I don’t think this question is asked enough and that’s a reason we see so much burnout in our career.

How do you feel as a producer? How do you feel as a producer?

I feel disconnected. I feel intensely connected. I feel fractured. I feel like I should be better at what I do. I feel tired. Sometimes I feel hopeless.

I feel as a producer by valuing my voice in creative conversations, by spending more time with others in embodied space rather than disembodied zoom. I feel as a producer by doing less social media marketing and more time listening to people. I feel as a producer by having a laugh with who I work with, reminding ourselves we do this to feel connected with each other. I feel as a producer by being honest with my collaborators even if that means difficult conversations. I feel as a producer by allowing myself regular breaks to do small creative tasks like drawing or photography. I feel as a producer by exercising, meditation, and journaling. Sometimes therapy too. I feel as a producer by working alongside other producers, and therefore all having more time to be creative.

I often wonder whether my OCD brain makes me better suited to being an artist than a producer. The role I am currently in necessitates a closer relationship with an industry that is unsustainable for me and many others I know. Artists feel more free to criticise, feel, and be honest. But then, I remember that, producer or artist, we are all making art, dreaming and telling stories of change. And change does not need to be limited to what we put onstage.



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