This is the story behind this blog. I travelled to the Philippines earlier this year to write a film script and it was there that I:
- came up with the idea for Let’s Sandbox.com;
- learned how to overcome my fears and play;
- made a decision to turn my life into a sandbox;
- learned something about unconventional choices and the magic of our lives.
If you want to know how it all happened, continue reading!
‘Come and play in my sandbox!’ These were the actual words said to me by an American billionaire. I’m used to hearing these kind of woo-woo inspirational lines from fellow artists and creativity teachers but this time it was coming from a man who was a masterful businessman. I realised that I was in for a real life-class…
THE MAGICAL 5
It all began on my birthday. I was on a plane to the Philippines: it was departing at 15:15, on the 15th February, and I was turning 25. There was something odd about the repetitive 5s and this was my first time travelling outside Europe. No one asked me when I wanted to leave – I just received the itinerary. You can be a total sceptic or a total sign reader but it was obvious that something exciting was about to happen.
It wasn’t a fancy way to celebrate my birthday – I was being flown to the Philippines to write a film script. This was the first time in my life that someone had contacted me and asked if I was interested in flying across the globe and writing a film. I’m not a renowned writer who would maybe find this sort of invitation common. In fact, it was so disturbingly unusual that I even took some time to agree.
Upon arrival in Manila, I was greeted by a film director who was quick to announce that we were going to have dinner with the producers of the film. Jet-lagged and having difficulty breathing the air, a stifling mixture of heat, humidity and pollution — I asked if I could take a shower first.
I was put up in a cheap hotel and my shabby room faced a bustling street of Makati, a financial district in Manila. There was no glamour: the air conditioner was louder than a plane, the water tasted horrible and there was no hot water.
Besides tiredness and exhaustion, anxiety was another dominant feeling:
- What if they don’t like me?
- What if I fall asleep at the dinner table (this was my first experience of jet-lag)?
- What if I can’t write a good script (?)
- What if…
Well, the usual tirade of the all-mighty Inner Critic (which I will be writing about on this blog).
PLAY, DON’T FAIL
We met the two producers at the shiny and luxurious Best Western Hotel. And they were no ordinary men: larger than life and incredibly creative businessmen, this was the first film they were making.
We connected immediately. Talking about most inspiring ideas and simply having a good laugh, I was introduced to a number of Asian foods and drinks. Manila was a magical place: the Asian shyness mixed with Latin American passion. And yet, I couldn’t help my Inner Critic’s stream of thoughts: what if I fail (?); what if what I write is rubbish (?); what if (?)…
‘I am inviting you to play in my sandbox,’ said one of the producers, passing me a bottle of beer. ‘If we don’t play, Darius, there’s no point in doing this film.’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
I, of course, was aware of such flimsy ideas: play was important, the process not the outcome etc. It’s all very easy to believe when you are putting on a play for 10 of your friends at a local pub, but when someone, who has virtually got his own empire with businesses all over the world, tells you that it is all about play, it really strikes you as incredible.
‘We have to have fun. And even if this film doesn’t happen, that’s alright. Let’s do our best!’
Wow. I just knew I was in the right place. I had no idea how this was going to work out and what was going to happen but I was in.
I also knew that I was no longer anxious or afraid of failing. My Inner Critic had been silenced — at least for a while.
I chose playing instead of failing.