first hand woman 8It all began with a 6-month writer’s block.

And with only 8 days left until my stage play First Hand Woman‘s American debut at FringeNYC, I’d like to let you in on this little reveal.

Back in 2003, I’d attended a screening of a short film that I’d written, directed and produced. It had been doing pretty well in the festival circuit and had gotten some good reviews.

But then at this one screening, I saw the film for the first time, as an audience member.

When I say this, I mean that I could finally see what I had made through their eyes, not just as a filmmaker, but as someone on the receiving end of the story.

 And I was shocked.

It was such a devastating film, and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t really felt it before. I was so busy expressing something, that I forgot about how I was making people feel.

first hand woman - sarah michelle brownSo I never screened that film again.

I realized that I had been creating things that I wanted to say, not necessarily things that I would want to see.

I decided that I wanted to create something that people would want to see over and over again.

I felt driven to create something moving, intense, thought-provoking, but also funny, and at its heart, uplifting – that was the kind of story that I wanted to tell.

But I had no idea where to start.

I went into a 6-month writer’s block and then…

first hand woman scriptThe idea for First Hand Woman came to me.

I knew right away that this would be a piece that would be with me for many many years. Not just a show that I would put up once and forget about.

I also had a sense that people might actually want to go on this journey with me and feel like this story was also a part of their story.

So over the past 9 years I’ve really honed the script. I’ve had a few private readings of it, always asking questions about clarity and about how the audiences felt by the end, so that I could see where the script was working and also where it was falling short.

Even at our runs in Montreal and Toronto, I was still chipping away at it.

And yep, for New York City, I’ve got some more tricks up my sleeve with a new draft.

So what blocks have you turned around in your life? Leave a comment and let me know how you tackled your creative challenges.

And as always…

Dream up,

Sarah Michelle Brown

~ Sarah Michelle Brown
First Hand Woman Actor, Playwright + Producer

FIRST HAND WOMAN is one woman’s powerful story, told through five different parts of herself. These parts are the boisterous and unapologetic stages of loss. So the characters onstage are Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression and Acceptance. This is an exhilarating ride through the stages of loss and into redemption!