Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling!

Well, not really.  Just the Perseids meteor shower at its perigee tonight at 10 p.m. your time.  And what is even cooler, is that along with the meteor shower, the planets of Saturn, Mercury, Mars and Venus will be putting on a showing as well.  This doesn't happen too often.  Seen in more detail with a scope, you can still locate them with the nekkid eye.

I absolutely love star-gazing.

"Now, Carla.  You hooked us into reading your blog about writing and comedy, and now you're talking about the stars?"

Well, don't writers need to be knowledgeable on a whole variety of topics?  I think so.  Years ago, when a fellow beginning actor asked me if I recommended that they attend college, I gave a quick and hearty, "You betcha!"  So many times the lure of quick fame and fortune precludes any real reasoning where career choices are concerned, and it burns me.  Why would one assume that simply because you've chosen a field in the arts, that no formal training or even working knowledge of life will be required??  Who set this ridiculous precedent?  Who decided it was okay for any aspiring artist to embrace their moron-ism (Read it carefully.  It doesn't say Mormonism.  Just so we're clear, but just to be safe, I welcome your hate mail.), and then head full-force into their chosen artistic endeavour?  No one that gave me advice when I was just beginning.

Katherine Mayfield has a fabulous little book that I highly recommend, entitled, "Smart Actors, Foolish Choices."  I used to know Ms. Mayfield, and I think for anyone starting out, whether it be acting, singing, magic, writing, etc., this is a fantastic book and I can't recommend it highly enough.  She has so brilliantly captured the lethargy, laziness and sense of entitlement that a beginning artist feels, and how to stop being that way.  Many things impressed me about her book, but I think the biggest thing I took away from it was her insight at how, if we're not on-stage, writing a book or performing a concert, then we tend to slip into depressions, drink too much, take too many drugs--anything to not feel the low that comes from not having that performing or creative high.

See, so many who are just beginning have this idea that if they become an actor and be famous, then it will automatically fix all the problems in their lives.  Or, if they become a writer and begin work on their book, then that will fix their problems.  The problem with that logic, is that no one realises going into it that they aren't on-stage every hour of the day, or on camera every minute they're on set, or writing on a project every minute of the day.  You'd become a cranky old witch if that were the case.  And self-medicating isn't the way to handle that.

Learn to become comfortable with your down-time.  Get a hobby; make new friends; join a book club.  Just don't box yourself in by needing to be involved in your profession so much.

Remember, there is life after the last chapter, and life after the final, "CUT!"  So do all you can to learn about it and enjoy it.

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