Running at the Edge of the Cliff

Well. Yikes. We just had a meeting with our faculty and the sophomore class to discuss our performance in these first few weeks of school.  And it was not good.  We talked about the level of focus being unprofessional about the most basic things: warming up before class, showing up on time, etc.  We also discussed how there are currently 50,000 people registered under Actor’s Equity (the union for actors and stage managers), and that of those, only 10,000 are working at this moment.  5,000 are working enough to qualify for health insurance.  Stuff like that is so. Freaking. Scary to me.  Because I don’t think it’s a weakness, anymore, to realize that I want a life.  I want to get married.  I want to have children.  I want to have a nice and comfortable house, and be able to do fun things with some of my time.  I do not want to be that miserable, single, lonely actor, living in their little 5×5 foot apartment in New York, cursing every audition they have and blaming everyone else.  So when I hear stats like that, two things happen: 1) I think, crap…this is going to be really hard. Eek.  And 2) Let’s do this.

Which is part of the reason being chastised makes me so sad.  I definitely think we deserved it.  The level of focus and professionalism has just not been there this semester.  I think I’ve been doing alright, but I still haven’t been as intent on warm ups as I should be, or as brave and courageous as I’d like to be.  But I want it.  I really, really want this as my career. There have been so many times when I could have just said, “Nope. Screw it. English major at an incredible school it is.” But I haven’t.  Because I refuse to give up on this.

So, from now on, I’m taking two acting notes and running with them.  The first: “Today, I fail epically. Tomorrow, I succeed.”  Our director Lance said this, and I think it beautifully sums up acting…and life in general.  Today may not be your best day.  If you are brave enough to fail, awesome.  Embrace it.  Tomorrow you might be brave enough to succeed.

The second is: “Run at the edge of the cliff”.  Nobody pays to see someone stand there and keep all their emotions inside.  They pay to see you lay it all out on the stage, to rip your heart out and lay it on the floor for them (and afterwards you get to pick it up, dust it off a little, and put it back in to work as normal.  Crazy).  There is no place for fear here.  You seriously just have to take whatever directions the give you, no matter how much you think you will suck or how scared you are to try it, and GO FOR IT.  Don’t run back where it’s safe.  Run at the edge of the cliff.


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