Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Perks of Being A Creative Professional: Living A Creative Life!!

Last night, in my Tuesday night acting group session, I had a major creative breakthrough! As the very purpose of this blog is to serve as a means of helping motivate me to achieve my dreams of succeeding as a professional actor, I want to chronicle this moment more for myself. Bear with me as this post may take a seemingly convoluted journey in explaining this moment but such is life. It is crucial as an actor to not just focus on booking a job but to celebrate the little victories along the way.

So I begin...

As I have expressed in numerous posts, I am committed to making a paradigm shift in my thinking in an effort to lead to creative transformation in my work as an actor and my life in general. This road is to be frank, easy to say but challenging to actually do. The line between "woo woo" self-deluded creative talk and the practical application of creative techniques into one's work is a fine one for any artist. The challenge? Facing the ego.

When working on a scene you can get lost in making choices that are "inventive" but do not lead you to bringing to life the character in a way that transports you from an actor doing a scene to a character coming to life in the minds of the audience. In my own work, I have been beating myself up trying to jump this hurdle.  I have been daring to fail, crashing and burning creatively, all in the hopes of having a breakthrough. This is where it gets tricky. When you are beating your head against the wall, the temptation to get sucked into the ego gratification as an actor is hard to resist.  Having others see your  efforts as a success can mistakenly become the focus. Like a person lost in the desert, any drop of water tastes good.

This is where I found myself.  My saving grace has been my spiritual philosophy of life. When applied to my life requires me to take an honest look at myself even when it is not pretty. Point of fact, I believe your thoughts create your reality. I believe that your life is shaped completely by the thoughts you hold to be true. In my mind, this is the greatest lesson taught by most religions but gets lost in all the dogma and human misinterpretation. I don't really care if others believe as I do but it makes such sense to me that it is how I strive to live my life. This philosophy is part of what guided me to pursuing a life as an actor. That being the case, in moments of quiet reflection, I am able to get a glimpse at myself without the "ego-blinders" obscuring the view. What do I see? I see reflected in my current circumstances proof of my creative progress. If my life is created by the thoughts I think and that life is not the success I am striving for than I need to change my way of thinking. No judgement this is the fact. Simple to observe. It's at these moments of disconnecting to the ego circuitry that I am able to see the real creative work is in letting go of the reigns and making room for it.

Creativity is elusive but always available to us. The conscious choosing to be open to creative growth beyond the "woo woo" of merely saying it is as simple as allowing yourself to see creativity answering your invitation to visit. 

In recent days, with all my delving into my life issues to clear a path for creative transformation I almost missed the signs that creativity was saying hello. This to me is where an actor really experiences the ultimate gift of being a creative professional. You have a built in excuse if not imperative to live your entire life creatively! Life becomes your personal never-ending adventure!  This is the fun part that often gets overlooked when you are too focused on living in the "starving artist" mode of thinking.

So, I look around and what is happening?

I am invited to a screening of "The Americans" that inspires me and reminds me of what good acting looks like. It 's funny but I realized that screenings like that are like attending a business convention or work seminar where the very act of participating in the event puts you into an environment of creative energy flowing and out of your own analytical head.

Next, I find myself joining a "Blog Catalog" discussion forum about whether you can make a living doing what you love. I automatically articulated my response as YES! " I think it is possible and preferable to make a living doing what you love but there are many trade-offs you have to make in order for it to work." I went on to talk about how miserable i was in my old 9to5 and how much happier my life is now that I am doing what I love.

The result of this conversation? I was being led to the inevitable conclusion that I am continually getting in my own way and need to change this pattern. Getting sucked into "ego" makes it easy to forget that I love my life! I am blessed. I am an actor. I am making a career out of doing what I love for a living. Everything else is gravy. Snowballing from here, I see that Tuesday night's class provided me with an opportunity to get out of my analytical head of what acting choice is right or wrong and simply enjoy myself, as I wrestle with my Creative Angels. I made the effort to let Creativity pay me a visit and in that moment, I felt ALIVE and connected! At the same time, during the feedback session of class, I found myself able to hear an observation of my work that gave me a specific goal to work for in my craft.

Somehow a moment that usually centered around "did my classmates think I nailed the scene?" became, "what is this person saying that can help me grow as an actor."  To anyone else this may seem like mindless pretentious chatter. I don't care. I felt the beginnings of the paradigm shift moving me toward my goal of creative transformation.

In the end you can say my shifting perspective is allowing me to see my entire life as filled with opportunities to live creatively and provide real fuel to my work. There is nothing greater than discovering a challenge as an actor that once achieved will move me further in the mastery of my craft. This is the joy of acting. Living in this state is hard work but I am reminded of just how fulfilling it is artistically.

Bottom line, what did I get out of my Tuesday night class that is so earth shattering?

The self-evident value of getting out of your own way, for one thing. More importantly, I discovered that creativity, like spirituality must be embraced from the same perspective of openness and  surrender. In the same way a spiritual person must live their spiritual beliefs daily, a creative professional must live creatively and make mastering your craft your passionate pursuit. This pursuit is what makes the journey worthwhile. Financial success is sure to reflect the degree to which you embrace your thinking this change in perspective. Yet this is a bonus not the main goal.

Okay. Rambling over. Chronicle of this moment done...for now.  

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