I’m like a broken record about a couple of things with my actors, and yes, I think of them as MY actors, because I put my heart and soul into schooling them on every hard-won lesson I’ve got. And also because I am possessive about them the way I am about MY readers and MY boyfriend and MY dog, even though my dog is technically The BF’s.
The first thing I nag them about is opening their big Dummy Actor minds to the idea that they can learn about acting from learning, period. From studying another art or craft, from learning another (completely unrelated to acting) skill, from reading something, anything, about something other than acting. It’s why I hammer them to sign up for my newsletter, which is jam-packed with stuff any human being with words can use every day of their lives, in or out of the audition room, and it’s why I despair every time I see an “unsubscribe” from one of them. Actors, some of them, anyway, are into learning EXACTLY what it will take to get from A to B, where “A” is where they are and “B” is up on the stage of the Kodak Theatre, clutching a tiny gold man by his crotchal area. (You think I’m kidding, you haven’t met enough actors. Or enough honest ones.)
The second thing I nag my dear, darling, maddening actors about is to put their time into what they can control and let the rest GO. I don’t think I’ve ever stated it explicitly the way I do in February’s column (coming soon to an inbox near you!), but really, if you’re any good at extrapolating, that’s what these endless exhortations to get one’s shit in order are about.
I bring these things up because today I stumbled across the website of a fascinating lady in New York* who happens to teach actors about how to do good monologues (which are, like, the hardest thing in the world to do, and actors HATE them), and happens to have been taught, at one point, by one of the world’s finest living persons of the theater, Mr. David Mamet. Whose teachings she compares to, of all people, FlyLady, whom I’ve also exhorted people to pay attention to if they really, really want to get their shit straight. And who has written an article about auditioning for actors that civilians (that’s “non-actors” to you non-actors) who have more than two brain cells to rub together and who want to get somewhere in their lives should go read right now. (Now. Here it is again.)
I’ve learned about marketing design by reading a terrific blog about marketing by a guy who does it for lawyers, who, trust me on this, could not be further from designers in terms of perceived value and service business models. A guy who writes a (terrific) blog about job seeking for super-tech types became a fan of this blog because…well, I have no idea why. But he is great and we are now real-life friends and learn from each other.
The list goes on. I can’t, because I’ve got to go run and meet a bunch of designers, a group I no longer count myself among, but you can dig around in my links and find all the other people who are nothing like me and yet getting at the same truth via different means. Or go back to this woman’s site and read everything she’s written for actors (check the right sidebar, partway down). Or go to FlyLady, and start practicing being an excellent, nice-to-yourself human being who gets things done without punching yourself in the face repeatedly.
All roads lead to Rome, baby. If there’s a traffic jam or washout or a bunch of potholes on one, go find another.
See you at the Spanish Steps…
*Also weird: her name is Karen Kohlhaas, which freaked me out because I already have a long-distance doppelganger thing going with my now-real-life/Biznik pal, Seattle consultant Karrie Kohlhaas, and if things keep going at this rate, the world is going to collapse in on itself way, way in advance of any Mayan calendar prediction. I mean, come on: REALLY.