“Write, write, write. Direct, direct, direct.. Act, act, act.. Produce, produce, produce. Work, work, work…. Keep on going and doing. That is your work. Be creative and continue to reinvent. As with each experience, you grow and expand. Watch your ego, your arrogance, and your judgement. Don’t let it sabotage you.
If people have issues with you, it is most likely a projection of them. Don’t let them stop you.
Find a place, a space, a network to do YOUR work. Seek them out, nurture them, and throw yourself into those opportunities. There is always a struggle between your individuality and collaboration. Respect that. Be grateful, forgiving, and unpretentious.”
This was told to me by a mentor years ago, and something I pass on to my students and friends.
He was a well-known, highly successful industry writer, producer, and director. It is also a principle of The Actors Workout Studio. I often remind myself of this statement when I get too caught up with perfection.
We recently had a presentation at our studio. It was a workshop production, an opportunity for writers to have their work produced with the writer having full expression. They had the chance to pick their director, get involved in the casting, be a part of the rehearsal process, and get evaluations by audience members at each performance. Each had complete creative control of their piece, only limited by length of time and set restrictions. It had to take place in a room with a bed, could be a bedroom, hotel, even a furniture store. It was potentially a great opportunity to learn, grow, and get feedback. We had nearly 30 creative people coming together, 8 writers, 9 directors, 17 actors, and a production team.
As far as the show, it was a bit long, overwritten for the most part, yet mainly well-acted and directed. There was plenty of good feedback to hear and grow from. There was a collection of talent, including many seasoned pros, some first time writers, directors, and actors. Tickets were cheap as the funds went towards promoting our program of writers, directors, and actors creating in collaboration. Reading this over, you might think this could be a great opportunity, a chance to learn, network, get feedback. You also might see how this can have the capacity for disaster.
What I learned from this production was more about how artists process their creative experiences, and how they hold themselves in that vibrational field. As I say in class, “how you do anything is how you do everything.”
Here are some observations about artists that I’ve noticed from owning a theater for nearly 30 years.
- Most people can see the positive and negative aspects of a theatrical experience. Where they focus their attention says a lot about them.
- The people that complain the most are usually the least talented.
- People who are perfectionists usually create the most imperfection.
- People who succeed are positive of the process, encouraging, and helpful. They give their input with encouragement, not destruction.
- Gratitude is huge. The ones that are in it completely for themselves, usually leave disappointed, and are usually disappointing.
- Those that expect something specific from the venture, (like an agent or job) are usually disappointed.
- Those that do it for the work, growth and contribution, have a better experience.
- The naysayers are usually people coming from their own failure issues.
- Those that are humble and listen with an open mind grow the most and have the best experience.
- Arrogance shows up mostly with highly insecure people.
- Thinking you are better than the others can destroy you. The most successful people are the most humble and grateful.
- Some people think it’s cool to be a jerk or arrogant because they think it is a quality of being a great artist. They usually don’t make it in the long run. Or if they do, they are pretty miserable human beings.
- A sense of how you see yourself – will show up in your eventual evaluation of the experience.
- Sincerity is beautiful and lacking too often.
- Gratitude is everything.
- Too high expectations can cause disappointment and bitterness.
- Shoot for the moon, and if you’re lucky you’ll hit a star.
- Sometimes plan B is what works best.
- Luck is where opportunity meets preparation. Those who keep putting themselves in opportunity, have the most luck.
Keep doing the work, and watch how your instrument (your emotional and spiritual being) participates and processes.
All the best to you and your endeavors. Happy Summer!