Sunday, July 14, 2013

Anything can be good, if you let it.

"Intentions and goals were always difficult or shaky--always. I don't know what happened, but more and more people are looking in the wrong directions. Maybe everything got so expensive and temporary and tenuous and competitive, so everyone thought about the immediate impact of things, the big kill. You know, Can we move this to a bigger house? Can I win awards? The other day a student asked if the play he was doing might bring him traction. I didn't know what to say, but he was utterly alien to me. He has talent, but he cheapens and degrades it by utilizing it to get a pilot or bigger applause or some coverage. Or traction! 

We have to get back to doing good work that will matter to people, to the community, to our hearts. This is how we used to work, and we kept working, and we got the attention we deserved." --Uta Hagen/Interview with James Grissom

I think many times we get caught up in ourselves and what would work most in our favor when it comes to life paths and jobs...especially in the arts. Since we are our own 'product' we are trained to market ourselves and play the game of hiring/casting. But when rejection comes, projects fall through, or we are trying to figure out the next step...all we are left with is ourselves.
...and maybe a question: 

Why. Why am I doing this?

Right now, I am facing a lot of question marks...and it is a scary, but exhilarating feeling. I often find myself asking that exact question: WHY. Why am I doing this?  Here are just a few Pearls of Wisdom from my teachers here at BSA, they have helped me whenever I start to feel too scattered...they have  put things into perspective and help me focus on what is really important.  

So, for all of you as confused as I am, scared, scattered and stretched...this one is for you! 
Golden Nuggets of Wisdom from a lot of wise Brits! 

  • Our job is to give voice to those who cannot speak their unconscious mind; society's unconscious.

  • Have faith in the journey you are on.

  • Acting is a service and the one thing you are not serving is yourself. You are never important. Serve the audience, the text, the story, the character, the space, and your scene partner. 

  • Have an awareness of the audience: have a relationship with them. 

  • Be a citizen of the world: prepared at any turn to put yourself on the line and be vulnerable. Let it matter. Meet everything with complete openness. 

  • Control the Controllable. Communicate. 

  • Become a channel for the words/author. It becomes about the work, focus your energy there. 


  • You can't work on being less self-conscious or critical by focussing more on your self - work on the voice and movement, then forget about it and play. 

  • To tell a good story: serve your function, rather than just your character. 

  • Anything can be good if you let it.

Lastly! I leave you with this. Neil Gaiman's Speech. It has become a mantra, a life source for me. 
I hope it helps, it certainly has helped me! 

"And remember that whatever discipline you are in, whether you are a musician or a photographer, a fine artist or a cartoonist, a writer, a dancer, a designer, whatever you do you have one thing that's unique. You have the ability to make art.
And for me, and for so many of the people I have known, that's been a lifesaver. The ultimate lifesaver. It gets you through good times and it gets you through the other ones.
Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.
Make it on the good days too.
And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art."