Man, what a week...
Things are settling back to normal around the house as of today. That's why I can get on here to update the ol' bloggy blog tonight... had a houseful of visiting relatives, and it was great to see them. Still, it meant a total disruption to the ol' daily routine - which is not necessarily a bad thing. It kind of felt good to get a good shake-up in that department. Anyway, back into the office, and back onto the computer...
Of course, this bigger news is the unfortunate falling out I had with my screenwriting mentor. As disappointing as that was, it will, I'm sure, have further disappointing ramifications in the future. Man, I was really upset - I haven't been that upset in a loooong time (I'm talking, years). And now that I've had a few days to chew on it, I've decided to just press on and see what happens. I think I should have had a better foundation in screenwriting in the first place -- maybe a finished script or two under my belt first -- before attempting to secure the services of a professional. I think I got in over my head, like signing up for a college course while still in Elementary School. I think my Mentor would have been able to take my screenwriting to the next level (or more) if I'd had any sort of foundation already... starting fresh sunk me, I think.
All that to say, I'm going to hack and slash my way through writing a couple scripts, using the books and resources I already have, just so I can get something finished... and then afterwards perhaps hire a pro to analyze and critique it/them, in an effort to develop further. Getting to this point sucked. My mentor and I did exchange some rather pointed words (to say the least) in this falling out, which is really unlike me, for any of you that know me, but I can't say I'm ashamed of myself at all (yet). I was livid, and didn't feel like rolling over anymore. So be it.
On the Acting front, challenges abound as well.
I guess in this case too, my fascination with "the idea of something" versus "the reality of it" continues to rear its' head. I've always thought I was a solid actor... until I decided to really start learning it. I'm finding I've only really ever scratched the surface, and to really be proficient (or even just to achieve the level I always felt I was at!) will require a lot of focused work and sweat and agony. Same thing with my writing... I always felt I was a solid writer - fiction and otherwise... but this latest journey into screenwriting shows that there is FAR MORE that goes into it than I thought I could waltz into with relative ease. I won't even mention my two unfinished novels. My "idea" of it was that I thought I was already a solid writer and storyteller... but the "reality" is that a lot of focused determination and hard work and long-term dedication will be needed to even begin to reach a level where I can claim proficiency. "Duh," right?
With my two novels, once I hit the wall in each case, I was diverted. I didn't want to do what I had to do to push through it. Because it's hard, I suppose. It was a challenge I couldn't immediately navigate, so, being a man of numerous interests, I was diverted into another creative direction.
So I'm facing this same moment of decision with both the screenwriting and the acting. Will I let my falling out with my mentor divert me from learning the craft? Or will I buckle down and see it through until I have something to show for it? Until I can gain a level of proficiency which I always aspired to attain (and thought I could waltz right up into)?
With the acting, same thing. Man, there's a lot more to acting than I'd ever realized. And as with writing/screenwriting, there seems to be many voices out there touting many different ways to "get there"... I'm reading a book by a man named Eric Morris called "No Acting, Please", which details an acting method that my acting coach seems to espouse greatly. This method requires an actor to learn how to just BE, instead of ACT.
Check out this quote:
"The search and process of finding yourself and achieving a BEING state -- that is to say, a state of being ourselves, totally -- is what this book offers to the actor. BEING is the primary and basic foundation to any creative process... 'Living' and 'acting' are all too often separated and they mustn't be. The exercises in this book are specifically constructed to become your tools to bridge the gap between you and your work. The awesome impact of completely BEING on the stage is thrilling to an audience."
I'm no stranger to trying to search myself and see how it is my mind works, and my personality operates. It's usually in prayer, with a lot of discussion between the Lord and I, learning things about myself, and asking Him to change me into His image, etc. I mean, I naturally suppress myself, hiding most of "me" behind a series of walls (like I'm sure we all do) and present to the world at large (hopefully) a simpler, more polished, subdued, palatable version of myself, while inside I set about the work of dealing with my hidden innards, trying to work with God to get the insides in His image. There's a lot of junk inside me that I don't want people to see -- I want it removed or changed, behind the veil of secrecy. Just me and the King.
This acting method says that it doesn't matter what's under the hood, stop hiding it. Get in touch with it, sure, but instead of doing it with the intention of controlling it and removing it, let it out. Be honest with "who you are", so much so that you are comfortable BEING who you are on stage, and in real life, in front of everyone. As you saw in the quote, the author feels there should be no line drawn between "acting" and "living" on an everyday basis. Learn how to BE who you are, honestly, the good and bad, not hiding it... and then take that honesty on stage (or in front of the camera) and let audiences see it. Let them see you BEING who you are, and applying it to the role you are playing, and they will be riveted.
So you see the conundrum? To keep myself hidden while everything under the hood is being sifted, inventoried and changed... or simply quit hiding it all, the good and the bad, and learn to let it out for all to see, inhabiting a role like a hand in a glove.
What to do with ME. Keep it bound up while I slowly kill it? Or turn it loose and use it as a tool for real acting?
So this is the brick wall I'm currently facing, in the acting realm. Do I let it divert me from pursing the craft? Or do I face it head on, and push through to the answer on the other side, whatever it may be?
Wow, a lot of rambling text tonight. Ah, well, even if no one reads it, it feels good to write it.
I like to sing. I like to play the guitar. I like to dance. I like to paint, to draw cartoons, to write poems. I like to think I have a certain solid level of proficiency in each of those realms. I now know that if I were to pursue any or all of those more seriously, I would quickly find the same challenge with the WALL I'm facing with the acting and screenwriting (and before that, the fiction writing). I'm surprised and a bit disappointed in myself, that it's taken me this long to realize this about me. I think I'm "good" at a lot of stuff. But I'm just in the kiddie pool in every single area. Each field of endeavor would take real effort and focus and hard work and struggle to achieve a level I always thought I simply was already at... kind of a rude awakening. I'd like to think that I could evolve past the point of being a self-deluded dabbler, and an easily-diverted one at that.
Time to grow up more, I hope.
Changes, changes, everywhere. Work, church, personal life, everywhere.
But, such is life, eh?
Onward and upward.
If you read through all of this, thank you mom.
Adios for now.
Davey the Kidd