Today was my last full day of class with my students. The next time I see them will be for the exam. I wanted to share with you my final thoughts, because I think it is true for all actors:
Last few thoughts before I wrap things up. It has been a joy to be your teacher. You are all magnificent people, and I hope to remain a part of your lives. Keep me updated on plays, films, etc, and feel free to always email me or call me with questions about the business, voice, life, whatever!
You are all now equipped with the tools you need to strengthen your voice, and I hope that you use your newfound voice for good.
With your strong voices, you now have a responsibility. Give your voice to issues you're passionate about; speak up for those whose voices aren't as strong; with your strong, expressive, compelling, impactful voices, spread positivity, love, kindness, friendship--never hatred, prejudice, or cynicism.
Remember, your outer voice is always an expression of your inner reality. Keep that reality true. Keep that reality strong. Keep that reality pure and kind.
We need artists now more than ever. I hope that our current situation has shown you that being an actor is not about fame, or recognition, or awards. It is a tradition that is older than fame, older than the Oscars, older than most institutions, older than the church. It has seen countries fall, societies crumble, and yes, even plagues. It is bigger than you. It is bigger than fame. It is a calling.
Breathe deep in your body. Support your voice so you can be heard. Be resonant so that you can be effective. Articulate so that your ideas are clear (clear for you and for others). Be heard.
Lastly, pass it on, always pass it on. You have a gift that needs to be shared with the world.
If you need some motivation to get through this pandemic, this is the St Crispin's Day by William Shakespeare from Henry V
What's he that wishes so?
My cousin, Westmorland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enough
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmorland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian."
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words--
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester--
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd--
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Some Shakespeare quotes about business that I think are very helpful and valuable (from Inc):
"Strong reasons make strong actions." (King John)
This is when your research on agents, managers, CDs, your type and brand, etc is crucial for your business. A good, solid rationale--backed by data and experience--most often encourages the best outcomes, in business and in life. Don't get so married to an idea that you have to work hard to justify it. The best strategies, ideas, and plans are supported by powerful foundations of fact.
"We know what we are but know not what we may be." (Hamlet)
Use introspection to shine a light on yourself as you are right now--beauty spots, warts, and all. But also maintain an unshakable belief in yourself. Know that with hard work and perseverance, you can become more--even much more--than you are today.
"How far that little candle throws his beams!" (The Merchant of Venice)
When you're deep in the day-to-day details, it can be hard to remember how all the tasks and work set before you will add up to something bigger and better. Our momentary frustration often robs us of the ability to believe in the big picture and keep going. This excellent expression of optimism reminds us that even small things have a mighty impact.
"Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing." (Troilus and Cressida)
This is perhaps the most perfect summation of the entrepreneurial spirit you could read. Conquering the mountain is sweet, but the real satisfaction comes from the struggle up to the pinnacle and the progress you make along the way.
"I like not fair terms and a villain's mind." (The Merchant of Venice)
Some deals really are too good to be true. Trust your instincts--if you get a bad feeling about a person you're dealing with, even if you can't pinpoint precisely why, pump the brakes. Do more due diligence. Call people. Get more information (then more and more) until you know for sure if your instincts are borne out or wildly off target.
"And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse." (King John)
Excuses are weak. When you mess up, own up. Be remorseful about the mistake or transgression--and be energetic about making it right. This is true for the midlevel manager, the brand-new hire just out of college, and the CEO.
The ACTIVE ACTOR
You are probably wondering this blog is about. Well, it's about anything that everything that I find inspiring, helpful, and curiosity building.
Curiosity is my favorite state of being, and I've become a treasure hunter and a trash hoarder, collecting all sorts of articles, artwork, and accessories that fuel my inspiration and creativity.
This will also be a place for me to document my life as an actor and coach in Los Angeles. If performing is your passion, I hope that this blog becomes a place for you to learn from my mistakes, grow from my accomplishments, laugh at my witless choices, and share in this crazy, unpredictable, beautiful, life in the arts.