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.

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