Hitting Heads Productions
Tamalynne and Xiomara met at Danube International School, Vienna, and immediately bonded over a love for theatrics, film, and dark humour. They took part in every possible high school production, and always vowed to continue their creative endeavors after graduation.
In 2012, Meyer moved to London and Grant stayed in Vienna, but they kept in touch and, subsequently, decided it was time to create something bigger than just spoof videos and spontaneous midnight karaoke sessions.
So in April 2018, they created Hitting Heads Productions with the aim to elevate not only their own creative projects, but also (in the near future) to help fund and support creationists all around the world.
Hitting Heads are based in London and Vienna.
The Struggling Life of an Artist
- a play Written by Xiomara Meyer and directed by Tamalynne Grant -
Why aren’t there more “serious” roles for women? Why aren’t there more female horror writers? (hint: there are, but both are vastly underrepresented).
Jessica (Tamalynne Grant), a struggling actress, is about to be cast as the lead in a feature film. Olivia (Xiomara Meyer), a struggling horror writer, is about to have her novel signed by a prestigious publisher. Both are so close they can almost reap the fruits of their labour until… They are told they must each change one simple thing in order to get the job: Jessica must comply with being "sexy" and "pretty” and Olivia must take on a male pseudonym if she wants her book to sell.
The Struggling Life of an Artist is a comedy told through the occasional song (but it’s not a musical!) that approaches current topics including sexism, feminism and millennial angst with a hint of sarcasm.
Partially inspired by true experiences, it showcases not just the hardships of being a female trying to breakthrough a male-dominated industry, but on a larger scale the one big conundrum every artist will undoubtedly face: the choice to forfeit artistic integrity in the name of “success”, or to stay true to their art but miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
Music and composition for the show by James Cottriall, Mark Peter Royce and Alex Lopez.
The Struggling Life of an Artist premieres at Theater Spektakel, Vienna on the 1st June, and will then be travelling to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival...
Edinburgh Fringe 2019
The play will be showing at Edinburgh from the 1st - 26th August 2019, and will be produced by the following (all-female!) team:
Tamalynne Grant - director
Xiomara Meyer - writer and producer
Sylvie Taniguchi - technical manager
Stefanie Matei - social media manager
Charli Weston - production assistant
Your kind donations towards The Struggling Life of an Artist will support the costs involved in taking a play to the Edinburgh Fringe, which include venue hire fee, marketing and promotion, studio and equipment hire, and much more. We will be offering rewards packages to those who choose to donate £15 or more, but we appreciate any contribution you can make, large or small.
The Origins of Struggling Artist
During her final year at the conservatoire, as part of her diploma exam, Tamalynne had to complete a 20 minute musical presentation that involved a self-written monologue. Based largely on her experiences during training, the monologue was a manifesto of the restraints and demands of being a female in the entertainment industry, particularity those that come with the importance of image (during her training, Grant was often told she was not feminine enough). This monologue became the basis for SLOAA.
Grant and Meyer began work on SLOAA in April 2018, and in the making of the promotional material have collaborated with childhood friends (who are now up and rising directors, musicians and actors).
A word from Meyer and Grant
On female horror writers:
We’ve all heard of the classics: Dauphne Du Marurier, Mary Shelley, Anne Rice, Tananarive Due, and Joyce Carol Oats, among others. We know they can write well, and we know they can write “scary”. The above-mentioned female authors are already established in the genre (although it took them a long time to get there), so when you're given a choice between Shirley Jackson and H.P. Lovecraft, you will go straight into judging how frightening the story is based on the blurb, not by whether or not you think their gender can deliver.
But what about newcomers?
The problem I have encountered has more to do with preconceived notions about storytelling when giving opportunities to new writers, especially to those who might not come across, in image and persona, as the stereotypical “fans of the macabre”. It’s changing now, but to some degree horror is still a predominately "male" genre, just as romance novels are still somewhat predominately "female" - the problem with this is that therefor, generally, a horror book written by a woman might not be perceived as "scary"" as one by a man would.
Hypothetically, if you had two exact copies of The Shining, one written by a Stephen King and another by a Stephanie King, and you read the plot you might get a very different idea of what direction the book will take.
It’s not a secret that more often than not women in Hollywood are stereotyped: sexy decorations for films, damsels in distress, the goal in life is to marry the man of her dreams, female superheroes are never dressed accordingly, etc. In fact, it’s a reoccurring theme that for some reason is still, well, reoccurring. It’s rare for a film to cast a “non-pretty” (by society’s standards) woman who is not there for comedic relief; usually the smart and/or complex characters also happen to be coincidentally “beautiful”. Or the opposite: the “pretty” girls are there for eye-candy.
Although the #metoo movement has given rise to change, there is still a superficial reluctance from production companies that box office numbers will go down if the ladies on screen are not “ visually appealing”, and there are still too many scripts with weak female roles.