Monday, January 17, 2011

2nd Semester

First of all, I have received all of the emails and messages about concerns of my absence of writing, and it's overwhelming. I knew people read these, but I had no idea how many people did. Thank you thank you thank you.
So I've started my 2nd semester after spending three weeks with my family in Ohio. I had no idea how much that vacation was going to help. After everything that happened to me in the 2nd half of the year, it was nice to hug and laugh with my parents and look through the eyes of my niece for a bit and see how much fun and creatively the world can be.
Since being back, it's been a typical start for any semester. My best comparison is when you're running on a treadmill at a 7.0, jump off to the side to get some water and hop back on and try to get your feet moving as fast as the belt again. School is that belt and it's my job to get my feet moving as fast as I can to keep up and not fall off. I know what to expect this semester. I know how the days work. I know how long it takes me to get to this place from this place. I know that even though we have a 30 minute break, that really means 15. I'm learning how to pack my food for the day. I am becoming extremely conscious that this time in school is going to fly by. I'm 25% of the way done and already have the end of this semester in my scope. Part of that freaks me out. I came to grad school with a checklist of things I wanted to get done and achieve. Some of them are small and some will take more time.
I wanted to write and get some scripts and sketches written. I finished one script last semester. Alex and I start meeting this week to write our comedy and see where that takes us. Who knows, maybe we're the next Adam McKay and Will Ferrell.
I want to get the improv community in motion. I have scouted some clubs downtown and met some people who have a desire to start, but again it's the same old problem......time.
I wanted to build my knowledge of theater literature. As much as we read and talk about in class, I want to leave next year with at least being able to discuss the basics of every play, author, and musical. Sometimes the days go by so fast that I read them, but forget I have by the next week.
I want to build my song book and monologue rep. I'm entering a new phase in my age, looks, and maturity and can play different roles than I did in my 20's. My professor has taken me on and is having me learn and study musicals so that I can sing (and teach) them in the future. Thank you.
I want to become more flexible and get rid of all the habits that don't help me in my acting. What I learned last semester was that the main difference between me and some of the other grads is that some of my bad habits have been manifesting since before they were born. That's ok. We spend every day working on them and I've noticed leaps in certain areas but small progress in others.
I want to write, learn to play guitar better, watch the movies I've always wanted to, get in shape, explore, master my photography skills, and become a better cook. All of this is on my free time. What a funny concept. Free time! I try.
There are other personality things I've been working on and trying out. First of all: fun. In NYC, I forgot to have fun. I lived inside my head. I lived inside my head because it's how I survived. I protected myself from the city, bankruptcy, and others around me. Since I've been here I feel the weight of the world sliding off my shoulders and am able to relax in situations, monitor the severity of situations, and know that no matter what happens, it just doesn't matter and it'll be over whether we like it or not. My biggest frustration of coming back as a 34 year old and having spent time being an actor for over a decade, is that I'm in a different mindset than most of those around me. The biggest? That we spend more time dealing with theater in a day in school than most actors in the country spend in a year. Because there was so much absence of theater and creativity in my life in NYC, just stretching and talking about theater some days is enough to make me as giddy as a virgin on prom night. I try not to be pessimistic and would never show this to others, but no matter how talented you are, the day you leave school might be the last day you ever perform again. Talent is 5% of getting work. Luck and timing is 95% of it and you can chip away at that 95% by knowing everyone in the business, writing your own projects, knowing what places to hang out, doing as many shitty shitty projects as possible just to be seen and meet people, taking classes so you meet people and teachers, teach your own classes because your students will work more than you and maybe think of you, and surrounding yourself at least 10 hours a day with artists, actors, directors, producers, and writers.
That's what I've been able to work on here. Chipping away at that 95%. I try, I fail, I succeed, I experiment, I walk away, I envelope myself, and I don't know the answer. I have learned that I have to give up control and allow things around me to happen the way they do. Unfortunately, I have to release that desire in me to avoid disappointing others. I usually don't care what others think of me, but I do care about letting people down. I am making conscious decisions to avoid that. My therapist once said to me, who cares what other people think if you're happy and it's not hurting anyone? So true. There are many who live in this world that think, "If you would just do it like this or do it my way, everyone would be happy, and here's why......" Sorry, I don't have time for that anymore. That is a teacher's mentality. That's a therapist's mentality. Not for me as an actor or artist. I am concerned about myself, my well being, my happiness, my career, my growth, and my sanity.
I am opening. Not resisting anymore. Resisting just leaves me safe from what I think is so bad. Guess what? It's not. It's really not.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


As my dad, mom, and I sat in our pajamas and watched a comedian on HBO at midnight last night, it occurred to me just how different each year is. Some years I've bartended until 6 in the morning, some years I've been drunk, some years I've been on tour, some years I've kissed someone at midnight (my dad was very friendly last night), and some years have alternated between optimism and pessimism. I don't know what this year will bring. I had no idea 365 days ago what was in store for me this year. Is there a point in making resolutions? Should we expect the worst and anything above that is considered grand? Can a resolution be just surviving each day? Should we try to change the world each day? What if it can be something as simple as making someone smile each day or difficult as finding true love this year? Whatever we choose to be our resolutions, are we trying to predict our future or give us ourselves a roadmap of the year? What will I be doing in 365 days? Will I even be alive? Will I be sitting next to my dad having a farting contest or on a villa in Europe waiting to hear about my next big project?
What were my resolutions last year? To get in shape: that didn't work. Get into grad school: success. Become as efficient in theater literature as I could: Will I ever consider myself there? To make my girlfriend the happiest human being on earth: in a very indirect way, I did, she's happy now. Success! To go to bed every night a better person than I was when I woke up: hit and miss. Sometimes it's me, sometimes it's a friend, but I make sure someone is happy.
So where does that leave me now? Should I make resolutions? Just because I make them, doesn't mean they have to be accomplished as seen from experience. So here goes my 34 resolutions ( I realize next year I'll have to have 35):
1) I'm going to find a cure for cancer
2) I will marry Reese Witherspoon after her next divorce
3) I'll lose 3 pounds.
4) I'll finally live by the phrase "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I'll realize I'm a fucking idiot."
5) I will find the artistic integrity in Jersey Shore, Keeping with the Kardashians, and Teen Moms.
6) I will perform in Spiderman the Musical without getting injured.
7) Become a copy of another celebrity other than Jeremy Piven. Maybe Wendy Williams.
8) Dedicate my year to finding a cure to Bieber Fever.
9) Get on the cover of People Magazine's World's Sexiest Man.
10) Win the Pulitzer, Nobel, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, and Academy. But piss on the Golden Globes.
11) Convert at least 10 people to SiriusXM satellite radio because normal radio is a big pile of steaming dung.
12) Sell my stuff to a tattoo parlor.
13) Find the spirit of Groundhog's Day in my heart.
14) Avoid my birthday.
15) Figure a way out to express to my parents that they are 95% of the reason I am where I am and that I can survive through each day.
16) an AVN award
17) Just like every year, get a part in a movie that they will make an action figure of my character
18) Kill Osama Bin Laden
19) Convince the idiots that one of their children is gay and watch the comedy pursue.
20) Sign with the Miami Heat
21) Somehow convince people that even though I can't drink for medical purposes, I'm no different than other people I know.
22) Invent a device that is an ipod, blu ray, i phone, automobile, house, and sex machine all in one.
23) Stand on the floor of congress and look at both parties and say "You both suck. There are millions of people who are counting on you. Take an acting class and learn how to collaborate"
24) Make a perfect souffle cake
25) See the Grand Canyon
26) Pick all 65 games correctly in a March Madness bracket bet.
27) Be able to recite every line that Shakespeare wrote from memory.
28) Take the self conscience, low self esteem, and judgement side of my brain and throw it out the window, hopefully it lands on Osama Bin Laden, and kill them both.
29) Maybe give Kaley Cuoco a chance, she is constantly wanting me. It gets tiresome.
30) Get in the kind of shape that people mistake me for Ryan Reynolds with Jeremy Piven's face and acting technique. Or Wendy Williams.
31) Prepare to run a marathon in 2012.
32) Start taking headshots for actors
33) Find the nuances in everything and keep my passion for human beings, fitness, the arts, and education going. Try to spread my knowledge and experience and soak in those of others so that we as a community can make the world a better, happier, smarter, and artistic place to live.
34) Try to change the world, one day at a time.

So here's to a new year. Our default day that we say we have a new slate. Why it's this day and can't be any day of the year to make that decision is beyond me. To health, happiness, security, family, friendship, trust, education, taking chances, optimism, love, and creating through all of the days of 2011.