Every so often, a moment pops out of the story, grabs you, and doesn't let go. A Perfect Ten is our love letter to moments in Solid 8 that we can't wait to tackle. Today, director Danny Gorman talks about the truth behind his most anticipated episode.
Explaining Solid 8 to people is a fun challenge in and of itself. It is noteworthy – and not exactly a surprise – that these characters and situations are semi-maybe-not-so-loosely-autobiographical. There are defining moments of the series that have been inspired by our real life events. My Perfect 10 centers around episode 8, “Needs A Title.”
Synopsis in a sentence: Dylan and Justin gather a group of their actor friends for a reading of an early draft of Dylan’s full-length play. (Hijinks ensue.) (Fun fact: if it is in parenthesis, it doesn’t count as a sentence.)
This episode particularly tickles me because this actually is something that we do. Taylor and I have been working on a full-length for yeeeeeears, a beautifully complicated play that is so beautiful and so complicated that it literally gives me nightmares even if we haven’t touched it for months. Leading up to our readings, we have painstaking work-days where we try to figure out what we really want to say, and establish some goals for the reading. The reading happens, wine is often involved, we get constructive feedback about where the play is at, and then it’s back to the drawing board. After each reading, I wonder if I even understand the play. And I wonder if I even know what I am doing. I feel a bit like a fraud.
I think that this is a special episode because, though funny and heightened, it strums a very real chord of vulnerability. Dylan is going THROUGH it with this reading. He is letting outsiders in on a process that is incredibly lonely, and is trusting them to not only understand what he is trying to communicate, but to live through it. Even in a safe room full of friends and artistic minds, and without the buckling pressure of a product, he is still baring a deeply private part of himself. And that is terrifying. All you “creative“ folks out there know exactly what that feels like. All you “non-creative” folks out there also know exactly what that feels like. Self-doubt is a crippling thing, no matter who you are or what you do. You can hope that the more you put yourself out there, the more comfortable you will become with exposure, but there is no formula for overcoming yourself. So what do you do? You pull your bootstraps up, down a bottle of wine, expect the worst, and come to accept that you will always be your own harshest critic. There is nothing worse than feeling like you don't know what you're doing. But, show of hands, who really does know what they are doing 100% of the time? Anyone? I didn't think so.
Before this becomes the endless ravings of a madman, I will wrap with this: I am excited to invite other people into (a slightly exaggerated part of) our working process. But more than that, I am excited to hold a magnifying glass up to our very real and truly personal neuroses. People may be surprised by what that looks and feels like. But probably not.