Friday, February 28, 2014

You Are Never Alone

Kevin McCorkle, a talented, inspiring and kind actor, teacher and friend, wrote this as his "Day 12 Gratitude" and I feel like I want to share it here:

The Synchronicity of Society. Back in the mid 1990's finding myself a single man I often ate meals out alone. I never mind eating alone, traveling alone or driving alone. It gives me the opportunity to study people and their behavior, grist for the mill as an Actor. There were times though that I would eat at my favorite dive Chinese Restaurant on the Sunset Strip and I was the only person there. I loved the food there the House Special Shrimp was my favorite the perfect crispy, salty, sweet and sour. I would think about all the elements of the meal and the hundreds of people or more that brought it to me. "How can that be?" you might ask "The Chef prepared it and the waitress brought it to you." Not so fast.... think about who caught the Shrimp. Who cleaned the Shrimp? Who packaged the Shrimp? Who delivered the Shrimp? The Chef mixed the breading for the Shrimp flour, egg, milk and sugar. The flour came from wheat planted in the mid-west it was planted by a farmer, harvested, transported to a mill, ground into flour, transported to a packaging facility, stored for a while, packaged, delivered to a wholesale facility and delivered to the restaurant where the Chef opens it to create the breading for my Shrimp. The eggs, the milk and the sugar also share a similar path. Combined with the spices and oil that are necessary to finish the dish. The rice came all the way from China, the pineapple from the Philippines, the tea from South America, the Lemon from southern California. Hundreds of people just for one meal. Who made the plate my food is on, the glass that holds my tea, my silverware and how many people are responsible for getting it to the place where it sits right now? The chair, the table, the restaurant itself all the way down to the fortune cookie that sits on top of my bill. So when you think you are alone know that there are hundreds maybe thousands of people responsible for you experiencing your solitary moment. Unseen hands and hearts and souls doing their individual thing to support you, nourish you, keep you safe, keep you healthy and share your world in the synchronicity of society.

You can follow him on twitter here.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis on How to Proceed

You have to live your life with a certain blind confidence that if it's your destiny to succeed at these things, it will happen, if you just continue to follow a straight path, to do your work as conscientiously and as creatively as you can, and to just stay open to all opportunity and experience. There's a performing motto at Second City...to say yes instead of no. It's actually an improvisational rule…It's about supporting the other person. And the corollary to that is if you concentrate on making other people look good, then we all have the potential to look good. If you're just worried about yourself -How am I doing? How am I doing?- which is kind of a refrain in Hollywood, you know, people are desperately trying to make their careers in isolation, independent of everyone around them.
And I've always found that my career happened as a result of a tremendous synergy of all the talented people I've worked with, all helping each other, all connecting, and reconnecting in different combinations. So…identify talented people around you and then instead of going into competition with them, or trying to wipe them out, make alliances, make creative friendships that allow you and your friends to grow together, because someday your friend is going to be sitting across a desk from you running a movie studio.

- Harold Ramis interview in American Storytellers
watch the whole advice section of that film

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The Fine Distinction Between Being an Actor and Being a Star

I started out as an actor, where you seek to understand yourself using the words of great writers and collaborating with other creative people. Then I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience's approval, whether you deserve it or not. I think I want to go back to being an actor now

(from Alec Baldwin: Good-bye, Public Life).

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Die Trying

Don't take life too seriously, no one survives it. And I'm serious. We all have a limited time here.

In our work, our characters may "die well" or "die badly" and in our imagination we probably prefer the heroic death, or the tragic it's-so-sad-they-never-got-to-do-thus-and-such (but really won't it be nice to live all those dreams before dying) death, or tell-so-and-so-I-loved-them (but really why didn't I tell them, after all what left is there to lose at the end) death. Whatever it is. In reality: how we live, the choices we make and the things we do are more important than the last instant.

Keep striving. The point is to keep acting. Not just in the continue to audition, book, work and repeat sense. Keep doing things. Ideally the right things in the right way, but maybe even better if we make an allowance that we'll make mistakes, that you're not perfect but that you keep attempting, keep pursuing, kept at "it" whatever it is. Keep breathing, keep putting yourself out there, into the world, keep following up and following through.

We don't have any more control over our own death than we did over our own birth. But everything in between is ours. And what we do from now until we are taken out of this world has our discretion in it, our choices, and it can have our dreams, our potential realized. When we get to the pearly gates, won't it be better to have continued with our best efforts until that very moment, to have died trying? Do yourself the favor: die trying. What else were you planning to do?

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