Sunday, January 22, 2012

FAIL like a PRO!

Today’s Quote:
“Don’t make excuses, MAKE IT HAPPEN!”—Unknown 
            I don’t know who said it first, but I do know lots of people repeat it and it was on the back of a sports camp t-shirt I had in High School.

Today’s Song:  Shadow of Death by Emmanuel Jal

Today, in church, I daydreamed about opening a school similar to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.  It would be focused in Chekhov Technique, and would also have branches of education for every job that one could have in Theatre or film.  Hmm….

What did I “DO” this week? 
I did see a musical; Forum for those who care.  And I made some new friends in the industry.  I got wacked over the head with some cool inspirational ideas on Saturday at a corporate event (of all places).

First off:  About excuses…they suck.  I thought up of this little idea that I want to call a fact.  It might lose me some friends or gain me some friends…I’m not sure.  I think, “Any excuse, no matter how good of an excuse it is, is still just an excuse at the end of the day.”  An excuse, takes away our sense of responsibility for what we did or did not do.  It’s different from a reason.  Reasons rationalize our action or inaction in a way that we can figure out how to do better next time.  Reasons give us the ability to take responsibility.

So, I feel like this post is going to mostly be more quotes.  As I said, I just went to a corporate event for my mom’s business, and though I didn’t want to be a ‘corporate worker’ by the end, I did glean a lot of cool reminders for my journey as a professional artist.

Something that stood out most to me was the concept that, “Life gets really easy when you understand that what you really want in your life will be really hard to get.”  This isn’t a (life sucks cuz it’s hard) concept.  It just illuminates how resistance works.  This resistance gets a lot of us by hitting us where it hurts, in a way that makes us go for the next best thing.  Who’s ever gone on a diet, lost some weight, and given up when a few pounds come back?  Resistance tricks us spiritual types by making us thing, “If God wanted me to do so-n-so, then doing it would come easily.”  However, I don’t think God would appreciate it if a world full of his ideas just gave up every time they missed the mark…every time they failed.

That’s the other thing that I loved from what I was hearing yesterday.  “Failure is not an Option” Is a big concept in our society.  So, imagine how easy it would be to feel crappy if you do fail.  “Damn, I just chose the option that is SO BAD it’s supposed to NOT be an option!”  That sucks!  But, what if failing wasn’t all that bad.  There’s a reason the Phoenix is one of the most beautiful (albeit mythical) creatures ever.  “Failure is the foundation for a future success.”  Go out there and go as hard as you can.  You’re going to get banged up…a lot…and that’s half the fun, if you decide to look at it that way.

From the outside, it’s looked like I’ve been flying from success to success.  I have failed a few times.    I can’t say I’ve really been banged up, but maybe it’s because I’ve started to decide to, “Eat Failure for breakfast” if you will.  I get up, chew on it, and go about my day.  Of course, I do get hungry by about 11am…Side track.  I guess what I’m getting at is that doing what you love is the most dangerous thing you could do.  I heard once that love is very similar to insanity in a lot of ways.  Not everyone can stomach being willfully insane!  That is why going after what you want and love most in life is so dangerous.  You could get your heart broken.  When the stakes are so high, who in their right mind would go for it?  This also has the greatest rewards possible in life.  I think insanity is worth the ability to look back on life and know you did everything in your power to be the best ‘YOU’ you could be.

I’m going to be insane.  I’m going to fail every once in a while and get my heart broken.  That’s scary as hell.  I’m not going to make excuses.  I’m going to make it happen, and eat up my failures like little bites of WHEATIES until I attract success like a really big magnet. 

This is scary—I said that already—oh no, the insanity—it’s already started!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Vanity In the Eyes of The Mirror

This is a long one.  If you really think you can't spare 5 minutes for inspiration, skip to the last two paragraphs.

Today’s quote:
“To Eric, with the heartbreak look!”  - Deryn Warren - Author of, How to Make Your Audience Fall in Love With You—This was the signature she wrote on the inside cover of the afore-mentioned book.  She signed it after a workshop I did with her a few years ago.  No, I don’t spell my name with a “C”, but I don’t think I felt comfortable correcting her.

Today’s Song:  Sexy Boy by AIR

Dreams:  Being able to invite my most loved friends from college to a ski trip and make sure they can come, even if money is tight for them.  I really want to hang out with people outside of shows again!

What did I  “DO” this week?
I started rehearsals for my biggest gig to date…until I land the next big one.  Not in an arrogant way.  Just in an optimistic way.  I had a big audition for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.  It was big for me because I’ve had almost no Shakespeare training and I felt really good about how I did in the audition even though I didn’t get called back.

Something I don’t get is how an awkward, smelly, nerdy teenager can grow up in the course of a year or so to have a “Heart Break Look.”  What’s more is that I had recently started wishing I were LESS of a heartbreaker.  (There are probably a few incredibly beautiful people that I have been in love with who also wish I was less of a heartbreaker…Sorry) 

The reason I wished I didn’t look like I do is encapsulated in the fact that the industry of film and stage is saturated with dudes that have “The heartbreak look.”  I recently heard about someone who is in casting who was told they should talk to me.  When I was pointed out from across the room the remark was something like, “Oh, of course he’s an actor.” 

I don’t think many actors are vain; not the good ones anyway.  I think our job security just relies on us looking a particular way.  But, I think the thing that we sometimes forget is that the ‘look’ that will work best for us is the one we already have.  And that ‘look’ is allowed to change as we mature and age and whatnot.  This isn’t to say that I wont be ‘hitting the gym’ in order to fit my role in my March show.  That extra work to have a more distinct body type has so little to do with wanting to look really good, and so much to do with dedication to my work:  Giving it by best effort. 

Along the same lines, I’ve wondered if it’s “Ok” to want to go big with this job.  To go to the Golden Globes (Which I just watched for the first time. tonight) is something that I’ve wanted for a little while now, but I’ve felt that I should be hush hush about it. 

I think my new thought about it is this.  I don’t actually care if I ever get to sit in that room for the Golden Globes or for the Oscars, as long as I know that I did absolutely everything in my power to get there.  I think I have that potential, but I’ll only find out if I try.

I’ve been reflecting recently on the great depression…I have no idea why.  (That was a joke)  I was noticing how much innovation in industry AND art there was during those times.  Those who came through those times on top, were largely people who dreamed big and tried hard to get those dreams.  Starting in the 50s though, after the depression, people were rewarded for getting a job and showing up to work from 9 to 5 and calling that good.  Now, I think the times are changing to that previous trend.

Today one of my favorite people remarked that this is the year of the artist.  I agree.  We artists have the amazing ability to dream bigger than most; EVEN THOUGH just surviving is harder for us than most.  Artists, true artists are the strongest people out there, and I think this year will award those who refuse to let go of dreaming big and trying hard.  After all, lots of people dream big and lots of people try hard, but few do both.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Case of "The Mondays"

Today’s Quote:
The Business of being an actor, whether you are employed or not, is a full-time job.  Serious pursuit of your career demands diligence in developing your talents, looking for jobs, being able to perform on cue, and packaging yourself correctly.  It really requires a total commitment.  How To Be a Working Actor by Mari Lyn Henry & Lynne Rogers

Today’s Song:  A Real Hero (feat. Electric Youth) by College

My Dreams:  This week is the start of some yearly goal setting.  I’m doing something that lots of folks think is taboo.  I’m going to tell you how much money I want to make.  Weird right?  By August of this year (when my current apt. lease is up) I want to make at least $25,000 through performance work.  These are big numbers for a fresh actor, but, not impossible.  Besides, even if I get to half of this it’ll be more financial stability than I have ever seen.

What did I do to get there? 
Honestly, I dropped the ball a little this week.  I had a car emergency that soaked up a day and a half, but still:  I partied with a bunch of industry professionals at an annual party (yes it counts), I put my website online (still under construction) check it out - – give me your comments on the site.  What’s good, what’s not… I had an audition yesterday that went all right, and I finally got some balls and started calling up casting agencies.

Ok, so technically I’m a few hours late getting this in for my ‘weekly’ minimum update.  Shame on me!  I’ll write two at least this week to make up for it.  Boy do I have enough to talk about!

Tomorrow marks the start of something big.  I’m going to be working from 9AM to 5PM!  This isn’t at a bank, or a market, nor is it at box manufacturing company (LOST reference).  I am starting rehearsals, which will go the next two and a half weeks, followed by an average eight show per week run that goes from now through the middle of April! 

Tomorrow marks the first day of my life that I am fully supporting my lifestyle and all of my bills with my art.  This is a giant piece of awesome pie that many never even get to taste.  I am so grateful.  And I want to keep it that way.

I don’t get how one could ever want to have a job that makes them literally HATE Monday.  WHO DOES THAT!?  Why would you do that to yourself?  I think such a sentiment is a big indicator of how soon you should quit your job and start following your dreams.  If I hated Mondays because of my job, I’d quit … THIS Monday.  If doing this ends up not working for you, don’t blame me.  Just try again.

I think the other thing that I’m grateful for this Monday is that I have three weeks of that 9-5 work to get into a hard workin’ groove.  Once the show gets running, it’ll be tempting to call the daytime shows and the evening DJ gigs good enough.  But, I can’t imagine how much more reachable my fiscal and acting skill-level goals will be if I work a solid 8 hour day.  I’m gonna do it!

Unstoppable.  Tomorrow marks the day that I become UNSTOPPABLE!!!

I hope it’s that good of a Monday for you too.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

“Don’t SUCK!”

Quote of the day:
“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”
-From Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich

Song of the day: “Robot Boy” by Linkin Park

What did I dream about this week? 
Mostly, I dreamed about working on a TV project like PORTLANDIA.  And I dreamed about finally starting to film, edit, and post this really great, or really crappy idea I’ve had for a YouTube channel. 

What did I do to get closer to my dreams?
I got the home page of my website designed.  It’s super sleek!  Watched my new favorite TV show PORTLANDIA … yes, it does count as work.

House keeping…
Should I limit posts to a week?  I don’t think so.  Maybe, it should be a minimum of once a week.  What do you think?  Post a comment below.

OK…”Don’t SUCK!” …
Something I’ve thought a lot about recently since I got my Netflix account a few days ago and started watching Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s PORTLANDIA, (yes, I’m obsessed) is how crazed I can get about trying to be perfect.  It is a deadly killer in art, the desire to be perfect.  I suffer a lot from trying to be perfect and I could safely blame my ‘failed’ auditions on trying to be perfect or even trying to be good. 

I was talking to one of my best friends about Linkin Park’s newest album when it came out a while back.  We were riding in his car at something like 3AM to go to the nearest Wall-Mart (20something ridiculous miles cuz our school is in the middle of NOWHERE!)  He told me that the band had written and recorded over 100 songs in preparation for the album.  We listened to the album on the way home and by 4AM Linkin Park had a new fan…me.  The album was one of the best sonic experiences I have ever witnessed, even when the guy was screaming his head off!  But, it took over 100 songs to get to the 15 that made the album.

I was watching the behind the scenes for PORTLANDIA show today.  Fred and Carrie talked about it’s inception as a little website project where they would film these little skits, sort of like a “mixtape” of video clips.  The clips got picked up, pitched, and now they are going into their second season of the TV show.  Here’s a link:

What I love about this project is that these guys were not worried at all about their audience when they were doing these videos.  They were just having fun and let that run its course.

I spent so much time at school trying to be the perfect actor.  I wanted, so bad, to be the best.  I started letting go of that as my last term was ending, and I suddenly was playing this character that had become better than I could have ever made him on purpose. 

I think this art is a job of “oops.”  I think we can do ourselves a favor by doing something, regardless of if it’s good or not.  Each audition and performance should be the work of the moment.  The best that there is at that moment.  And sometimes that best is going to really really suck.  And that’s ok. 

In the end, I think what I’m talking about here is practice.  Practice, practice, practice.  I don’t know one actor who does it enough. 

I think what I need to work on in order to make some good strides towards doing this job well is to balance all the different things an actor must practice.  That’s the art, the skill, the business, and the personal/spiritual growth.

And I was worried about writing to little in my posts…oops.