Bits & Bobs

Some bits of wisdom I felt like sharing:
Image

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary the word “amateur” comes to us from the Latin word amator”meaning “lover” or amare”which means “to love.” “To love,” when you are young and relatively innocent is, of course, quite easy. You are filled with nothing but great expectations and very little real experience to temper those dreams. Grown-up love (the kind that lasts, anyway) involves loving not just the dream, but also the reality. I try to instill in my students that most careers are a wonderful mash-up of the good, the bad and the ugly. Glorious victories. Shitty disappointments. Rapturous praise. Rotten tomatoes. Enduring friendships. Freaks and Fiends. Lavish attention. Followed by periods of complete and utter invisibility. During my first “professional” gig, I stupidly asked an elderly character actor why we had to do eight shows a week. To me, it seemed like a lot to ask. He smiled thinly and replied, “We do eight shows a week, my boy, on the off-chance that we might get one of them right.” Turns out he was correct about that. More often than not, that “one” – that happy attempt that goes well – does seem to make up for everything that proceeded it. Whenever we did a performance that went better than expected, I remember the old character actor used to clap his hands together and exclaim, “All is forgiven!” Being young, I had no clue what he meant by that, but it now strikes me the most elegant and concise definition of love I have ever heard.
     – From the hilarious and brilliant David Dean Bottrell http://partsandlabor.blogspot.com/2009/03/amateur-night.html

“An actor knows that this thing we call life is nothing more than a series of moments strung together in a mystical chain…. The actor therefore trains himself to pay attention to ALL moments… to live mindfully, beholden only to his sense of truth, without anticipation, without fear. The moments bind together, forming an endless wave which the actor rides like a tiger, never knowing where the tiger will turn next– never caring, if the truth be told. For the actor knows that there is never an outcome and never an ending. There is only the ride.” -William Esper

Image

Advertisements

The Bakery

There are two kinds of people in ‘the industry’.  The first category:  the people who are convinced they are starving because you are stealing their piece of the pie.  They are certain this is the only pie that exists, and that pie is obviously a finite resource.   They will hoard their pie and hide their pie.  They will hold tight to the recipe in fear that you could somehow duplicate their pie.  They won’t tell you where they buy sugar or who taught them how to get that perfect flakey crust.   They might event tamper with your oven or try to convince you that you are diabetic and simply not made to enjoy this delicious confection.   They will talk about how making a pie is impossible, and now that they have found the pie NO ONE will take it from them(!!).

Image

On the other hand are the people who understand that we live in a bakery.

Image

They know the secret.   You can always make more pie.

Image  Image Image Image Image

They function with generosity and inclusion and (surprise, surprise)…they are the most successful.  They understand we are surrounded by the best ingredients, state of the art equipment, the perfect oven and we are each bakers…or know bakers…and we can share baking tips and recipes and learn from each other…we could even create pies that no one has ever thought of before.   And not just pie….now we can make cakes and cookies, muffins and chocolate croissants!  It can be dessert-apalooza up in here.

Image  ImageImage

Happy Baking.

Hmmmmmm

I found this interesting:

“This is the difficult truth of the artistic situation, particularly in the performing arts: Our choices define us and decide our fates. This is both a criticism and a confession: I have made my poor choices, and I strongly accept that I deserved what I got. There is a belief, calcified into holy writ, that one must work; one must generate interest and heat in one’s career. This attitude leads people to keep working, even when they know that the play or the film is bad; the director is a moron; their costar is a simpleton. The childlike belief is that all work is good, because it leads to more work. However, in the process of continually or regularly doing poor plays with bad people, you become this thing: Your DNA is altered by virtue of the work you have run through your body and your mind. Far more than your resume is stamped. But what are people to do? Rent must be paid. One has to eat. I have known visual artists who work as typists or retail clerks. Perhaps more actors should do this rather than the bad plays, but who am I to judge them? I’ve believed that I could alter or save bad work, and I was wrong, and my DNA bears the scars of the bad work. More talents than you can imagine remain undeveloped or become discarded because they were put into circulation merely to work and to be seen and to buy groceries when they should have been placed in the service of good work. But how do we alter this? There’s your question. And I can’t answer it.” Arthur Penn/Interview with James Grissom/2006. From the forthcoming “Artistic Suicide.”

F*ck Yeah!

*Shamelessly stolen from by friend Robin:
Image

Wait, what?

Image
You never know the importance your work might have in someone’s life. That is obvious as  a doctor, a teacher, a scientist…  It is often harder to make that connection as an actor.   Yesterday I was reminded of the power of connection we have through the stories we tell,  when I stumbled across this unbelievable article:   Man’s Estate Left to Actors He Never Met

A man who died last summer willed his estate to two actors he never met, leaving them an estimated half a million dollars each.

Ray Fulk was 71 when he died last July. He lived alone on a 160-acre property in Lincoln, Ill. that he inherited from his father. He had no family or children.

“He was a loner, and a lot of neighbors didn’t know who he was,”Behle said.

What Fulk did have, though, was an admiration for actors Kevin Brophy and Peter Barton, whom he had never met. He admired them so much that he left his estate to be split between them.

Whoa.    Read the full article here.

Some days you’re the windshield. Some days you’re the bug.

Image

My brilliant friend Katherine Fugate has a beautiful blog you should check out. She covers a range of topics, and at least 1/2 of her entries have left me in tears.  Her post on being a Geniot is spot on and well, genius. I read it again today and wanted to share.  An Excerpt:

The word “Geniot,” however, comes from the ultimate truth of Hollywood: one minute you’re a genius, the next minute you are an idiot. You, my sensitive friend, are a Geniot. The word Geniot, forcibly stolen from director Allison Liddi-Brown, has been turned into merchandise: hats, t-shirts, and the like, and a prop: a large handmade paper wheel, placed on my office wall.

You must also accept that once you walk down the red carpet and enter the magical land of Show Business, you are not just a Geniot, you are forever strapped to the Geniot Wheel. And the Wheel is always turning.

The top of the Wheel has the word Genius; the bottom has the word Idiot. Each day, depending on the studio or network’s reaction to the latest draft of a script or the box office of your latest movie, a large dart is placed on the word Genius or the word Idiot. One glance at the Wheel allows others to know precisely who and what you are that day, so they might adjust accordingly in how they greet you. This is especially beneficial to the cast, crew, and your significant other. While in production, it is recommended to check the Wheel hourly.

Ultimately, though, the biggest lesson of the Geniot Wheel is that you are not alone. So, you can’t invest too much time in what others think about you—because they, too, are strapped to the Wheel. They, too, will hit the top; they, too, will hit the bottom. And the Wheel stops for no one, so it’s best to remember that who you were when you were a genius is probably pretty close to who you are now as an idiot. Yes, their perception of you might have changed in this hour, but the only thing that really matters is your perception of yourself. You are still you, glorious as ever. So hold tight to that inner magic, watch the wheel keep turning, and smile like a Geniot.

Love it.  Read the entire post here.