Christopher Patrick - Writer/Director
Authority isn't about control. It's about guidance.
That may well be my enduring memory of my friendship with Christopher Patrick. A director has to have authority. They are the final word. Chris is a director, one I've worked with more times than I can count, but he doesn't take control.
He's occasionally so haphazard that the idea of him being in control is almost laughable.
But...he guides his cast and crew through a production. He's the calm at the eye of the creative storm, certain of his destination but totally open on how to get there.
Admittedly, it can sometimes require more than one direction change. But is that so bad? Total conviction is hugely overrated. Speaking as someone who seems to only operate in that, I can confirm it's often a hinderance to developing really good ideas.
Collaboration is ultimately the key to the best art. Certainly performance art anyway. The final piece is only as good all involved and sometimes, just occasionally, people need a little help to realise what their "good" is in that situation.
Chris is second to none at unlocking that good. I'm certain he isn't always aware of it, but the warm response he repeatedly receives from his casts speaks for itself.
For someone who openly admits he mainly directs because no one else will, he's awfully good at it. Some would call that natural talent, but that suggests there's no hard work and to suggest he doesn't work hard would be totally inaccurate.
He doesn't always make it easy for himself, frequently stressing himself out and poorly managing time, but he always works incredibly hard. Even if he doesn't work smart.
That kind of focus is why he self-published an excellent book. It's why he's continually invited to give writing workshops, why he was Scottish Youth Arts Leader, why he put on a successful play at the Fringe and why he is part of best-selling compilation of short stories.
All within the last few years.
Much like exams, you'll get out of the arts what you put into them. Lacklustre dips in and out of your passion around your day job won't gain momentum. But if you keep pushing, eventually momentum is all that can happen.
Which isn't to diminish the quality of his work on its own, but if you don't push your work to people that can't experience it. And the greatest novel ever written isn't half as impactful if it's never read.
It's worth bearing in mind that all Chris's success is based on his own shoulders. No hand outs. No good family connections. He worked hard, got noticed, worked hard some more, grabbed at some opportunities and then worked hard at those too.
Success sounds exhausting doesn't it?
You can find out more about Chris and his various projects at www.toastedfiction.com