Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keeping the Pace (A Runner's Analogy)

Today’s Quote:
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams

Today’s Song:  Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim

Dreams:  I’m really gunning for getting my first union card.  I recently got a notebook that has the ‘Screen Actor’s Guild’ logo on it, and I decided that I won’t write in it until I am a SAG member.

What did I ‘DO’ this week?
I attended a SAG Awards mixer party in downtown Denver.  It was a stellar way to meet people and find potential film projects to be a part of this spring.  I won the SAG notebook in a raffle…I never win raffles!  I also made a little goal tracking poster for myself, so I have a daily reminder of my goals and how close I am to them.

Okay, I know, I know:  I’m late in posting for last week.  So, you know what that means!  Two posts for this week!   I WAS spending valuable blog time, making that poster.  But, hey, no excuses!

In fact, since dropping the ball on my usual Sunday deadline, it’s been really hard to make myself write the dang blog.  So, I thought I’d write a blog about keeping the pace you set, even when you find yourself wishing you had set a slower pace.  After all, first it’s the blog, then it’s me not looking up auditions, and then I become a waiter at Old Chicago…forever.

Several years ago, when I was a senior in high school, I was a member of my high school’s Cross Country team.  I spent the entire season trying to get to the varsity level (the top seven runners), but I never could quite make it.  Every practice, I could keep up with the others during interval workouts.  Nearly every practice, I would fall back for at least one interval, but I always came back.  I was in varsity condition, no doubt!

I remember one practice, we were running one thousand meter intervals through this hilly area and I was hurting.  Hyperventilating, I barely finished the distance, I fell over, and I struggled to breath while my face turned purple.  People were worried, and I ate it up.  I fed on their pity and concern.  I was struggling and everyone saw it…except for one person.  My coach looked at me straight in the eyes and said something to the effect of, “Get up Erik, you got twenty seconds before you need to run again.”

I was pissed!  “Couldn’t he see I was practically dying?!”  Well, I was so mad; I got up and ran the fastest I had run all day.  When I finished that next interval, I was barely winded.  All coach said, “Ok, now do it again.”  Dang.

Looking back, I realize now that this experience encapsulates why I never ran in a varsity race and why I never even broke a five-minute mile, even though I was easily capable of such a feat.  I cared too much about people seeing my struggle.  I had more respect for suffering than for success.  If I had stopped worrying about how well others thought I ran, if I just focused on running, pure and simple, I would have been in a lot more races as one of the top seven.

So, now I have a different thing I’m training in.  If I get caught up in the, “Poor me, I’m a struggling artist” mentality, I will constantly struggle and I will never achieve my best.  Some may even look at me and say, “Poor him, he’s trying so hard.  If only he could catch his break.”  But, the ones who really know the craft, the business, the sport of acting; Those folks will see right through me.  Hopefully, they’re as good as my Cross Country Coach.  Hopefully, they’ll say, “Get up Erik, you got twenty seconds before you need to run again.”


  1. You don't leave much to add. Marvelous--instructive. Fascinating how the little lies and self deceptions stand between us and being at the top of our game.

  2. Not sure why this thought came to me, but here goes:
    Acting is not about faking it. Acting is about working to understand Life, and expressing that understanding. Life is limitless, experiencing Life is about unlimited energy. It is about not leaving something incomplete, but always able to see one more thing you can do to get it better.
    Love every moment, dream, vision.

  3. I really need to think about this. I love the metaphor with running.

  4. I really liked this post because I think it's very "artsy" to SUUUUUUUUFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFER for the art, when really, it's just a waste of time.