What does a hiatus really mean? Taking a Break? Let’s explore what hiatus means in this NoHo Artist’s Blog, part three.
I looked up the word Hiatus in the Oxford English Dictionary because sometimes I think I know what some latin derived words mean, but often times, I really don’t. I just use it because everyone in the business uses it at some point or another.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary; “hiatus is a noun, a pause or break in continuity in a sequence or activity. The origin of the word comes from the mid 16th century denoting a physical gap.”
All this taken into consideration simply means that, in my experience, most of my career as a filmmaker in any and all of my hyphenates, seems to have been in hiatus. This of course is not true. I hope it isn’t true.
It has been said that in order for an actor to do his craft, they must be hired. As much as this saying seems to be true, allow me to broaden the meaning. Standing in front of your mirror practicing the opening speech from “Richard III,” working on a character analysis by doing a scene from a well-known play with your scene partner over Zoom, or watching any movie with Daniel Day Lewis, Christian Bale, Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren count as practicing your craft? Abso-blooming-lutely. And why we are on the subject, so does reading the trades; “Variety,” “Hollywood Reporter,” “Backstage West,” etc. These are all things we have control over while (are on hiatus) we wait for the audition (EcoCast) that will change our lives forever to come in.
There is, however, one aspect of the artist’s life that is vital and does not include chasing after a career. Artists must also have a life outside of the art itself.
It can be argued that living in the “real” world and experiencing thoughts, feelings, and encounters outside of the machinery of Hollywood, is just as beneficial as honing your craft.
If your body, voice, and personality is the vessel by which characters are created, then it is imperative that the artist live among the stories and people that populate what we end up writing about, portraying them, or making movies about their stories. Have a life. This may sound ridiculous during this time of Covid-19 where we wear masks and hide our faces from the multitudes at Trader Joe’s.
But if learning how to make sourdough bread, or moving furniture around your home, or reading a non-fiction book about the industrial revolution benefits you or brings you joy, then it contributes to the artist that lives within and can’t wait to get back to work.
I just recently learned this. During this pandemic, during this hiatus, I have worked on and completed some neglected screenplays, I am editing past projects, I have had a few EcoCast auditions and booked some work in this last year. But what has really rejuvenated my creative spirit came in the form of a recent visit to have lunch with an older relative and asking about her life, playing catch with my granddaughter, and riding my motorbike to and fro. These precious moments are from now on with my daily routine of staying in touch with my profession in all the ways I do and also taking the time to participate in this world the best way I can.
For participation, empathy and constant evolution is ultimately what makes for a better life, as well as a better artist. Hang in there, the world is slowly waking and hope is on the horizon.