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You Need To Love The Work To Really Do The Work…

I never thought in 20+ years of teaching acting that it would be a novel idea to declare that…

You need to love the work to really do the work…

I never thought I would ever have to say…

You need to take the work seriously if you want to be taken seriously…

I never thought I would have to reiterate…

It takes great discipline, commitment, accountability, responsibility, dedication, and perseverance to stay the course of such a tumultuous artistic path if you intend to keep on keeping on along the path…

But, to my great dismay, it seems we are living in different times…

And it seriously breaks my heart every time I come across someone that says they want to be an actor…

But seems to have been led astray…

Or has deluded themselves into thinking…

That the road of the artist is an easy one…

That ya just gotta memorize your lines and go“…

That it is not in the details“…

That it is not in the specificity“…
 

(Insert screeching car brakes sound here!)

Well, let’s stop right now and say…

That is not acting…

Not remotely…

At least not professionally…

That is pure mediocrity…

It is amateur hour…

And to put it bluntly…

That is just dressing up as we do on Halloween…

That kind of thinking is an insult to our great art-form…

And it is an insult to every great actor and actress that has ever blessed our stages and screens…

We are living in a day and age where we use social media stardom as our litmus test to “making it”…

Or at the very least thinking…

I got these likes and followers so I have arrived, haven’t I?”…

We look at others that get a bunch of hearts and then expect to be in that “limelight“…

Or we see actors on tv, stage or screen and think they just got there because they got lucky…

Or because they have a great agent and manager…

Or they networked…

Or they knew someone…

Or they went to that industry event…

So we think it should be the same for us…

Comparing and contrasting has become our little secret addiction… 

So we look for a quick fix…

That shiny appetizing easy road that gets us there at the speed of light without any work whatsoever…

Without any training…

We want the muscle without the exercise…

We want to eat the cake before we even obtain the ingredients and instructions necessary to make it…

And then we get hypnotized by all the expensive seminars, workshops and all those “gurus” that have really exquisite website/ad headshots with huge acclaimed smiles and lets just say it…

Marketing… 

Selling and banking on convincing actors that it is indeed easy peasy…

So we search out for that thing that reiterates the myth…

You know…

Follow us and we will get you there!“…

Click on this link and fulfill your dreams in no time flat!“…

Sign up for this 10 day course and you will book a blockbuster film!“…

Pay this price for headshots and we will make you a star!“…

(Show me one professional acting job where preparation is not necessary)

(Show me one actor that is willing to show up to their first Broadway rehearsal or first day on a major film or TV set without preparation)

You go girl/boy!..

Oh and then there is…

This is so and so and so and so is this and that and so and so knows the way so sign up for so and so’s famous well-marketed course and it will all happen!No rehearsal or work necessary!…Come as you are and it will just happen because we will just tell you what to do and you will do it and feel good because you got encouragement and reinforcement because you followed exactly what we said!“…

And…

Just learn your lines and go up there and see what happens!…You don’t need to know the world of the text!…You don’t need to know the history!…You don’t need to break things down!…You don’t need to have a need!…You don’t need to understand relationships!…You don’t need to know why things are the way they are!…You don’t need to know what got you to this here and now moment!…You don’t need to know your environment and the objects within that environment!…Or how that environment affects you sensorially!….Or what that environment does to your speech or dialect or body!…You don’t need to support your voice!…You don’t need to breathe!…You don’t need to know what you are doing!….You just need to do it!“..

Um Ok…

(Insert unapologetic judgmental eye roll here!)

So what ends up happening is the actor takes the text and creates their own play, with their own thought up givens because they are just doing it without any respect whatsoever to the world the writer put his or her heart and soul in creating…

Or they become stiff as a board…

Or they push…

Or they play ideas…

Or they indicate…

Or they create blueprints of how they think it is “suppose” to be…

Or they strive for what they perceive as interesting moments…

Or they try “taking risks” doing something outlandish or different…

Wrong…

Interesting moments only exist as much as an actor can live authentically moment to moment within the full world of the text and all that comes with it…

Taking risks means living unapologetically, honestly, and courageously within the unknown of each moment as it pertains to a need within the full world of the text…

So is just “doing it” going to prepare one to play Eurpides’ Medea?…

Or Shakespeare’s’ Hamlet?…

Or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?…

Or Tony Kushner’s Angels In America

Or Anthony McCarten’s Theory Of Everything

Or Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County

I can keep going  but I hope you get the picture…

Do you want to be an artist?…

Or do you just want to be a picture with several hearts so everyone can look at you in a split second in reverence and then keep scrolling?…

Where are you headed?…

What kind of actor do you want to be?…

What kind of artist do you hunger to be?…

What we do takes work…

Yes, there is no denying that…

But if you are choosing to be an actor…

This work should not feel like “work“…

That does not mean there won’t be tough times…

Of course there will be…

But even then…

There is fulfillment in the struggle…

There is growth…

There is art…

It should be delicious…

It should make your mouth water…

You should feel those wonderful butterflies in your gut every time you get the opportunity to work…

To discover…

To explore…

To dig…

To open up…

To expand…

To overcome…

To find a known or unknown piece of you within the world of every text…

The exploration of the human condition…

And the creation of character…

Should be exciting…

It is supposed to be fun…

It is supposed to be stimulating…

It should be carbonating you so much…

That you cannot wait to get into that space with your partner…

And trust your work…

To go after your needs moment to unknown moment…

And live

But you can only live in that unknown of the moment as long as you have done all the work that allows you to bring full breath to the character and the world of the text…

And grounds you within the known…

So you can fully live in the unknown…

It is not science homework…

It is not algebra homework…

It is not a cold read…

(Though I truly believe working on cold reading is an important skill every actors should exercise…especially when it comes to exercising listening, impulses and instincts)

It is acting…

It is life…

We can’t perceive our work as this laborious task that drains us of life…

NO!!!!! 

That is not the work!…

And if one is experiencing the work in that way…

And continues to expereince the work in that way…

Dare I say run for the hills…

Because you are in the wrong field!…

The work is for those that love the work…

It gives them life…

It excites!…

It does not deplete them of life…

Acting is to do

Your work is there solely to stimulate you to do…

But if you do not find joy and love and wanting to do this kind of work…

Well then I do not know why anyone would put themselves through such a difficult path…

It is the love of the work that allows the artist to persevere when most may want to crumble…

Remember this…

Life is created out of love…

Our work is about life…

It needs your love in order to breathe life into all those black and white sheets of paper which we call the text.

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Your Worth As An Artist…

Transcript Of Video:

“It is never going to be enough…

As long as you continue to allow the external world to be the determining factor of what validates you as an artist…

You are always going to feel that sense of lack…

You are always going to have the hole in your heart that is desperately searching for something out there to give you a sense of Self that says…

‘Yes! You should be doing what you are doing!’

Now I am not saying that applause…

And success…

And jobs…

And awards…

Are not worthy of being celebrated…

Because they are…

They are lovely…

But they are fleeting…

You have to know in your heart your worth…

You have to know that what you are doing…

What your are saying…

What you are revealing…

Is worthy of being witnessed…

You have to know that your talents alone are validation enough for you to be pursuing the journey that you are pursuing…

But that has got to come from the Self.”