Friday, April 27, 2018

It Is Not a Thing It Is a Process

Your relationship, your job, your career, the roles you book: none of these are static, fixed, set things like a book, a chair or a mountain are. Nor are those strictly permanent unchanging things either. They are all processes. Or if you prefer another word for them: a journey, a path, a story. Life is a process. Ongoing.

A romantic relationship may feel like a thing, and it can be tempting to think it's set-it-and-forget-it, that somehow it can reach a state of being exactly what it is now forever without modification. This is not the case. If you don't believe me, try it and you'll see how quickly stagnation will propel something to give.

So to with almost any task: you can make something fixed, unchanging, like:

Once these things are made, once they cross the threshold of complete (a threshold likely placed where people find convenient or useful) they aren't the same as they were. Once

it is different and we judge it differently; we use things and see them differently once they've "done," but they all still change. The

If a movie does get distributed, it either succeeds commercially or not in the various markets/platforms/ways it is released. A distributed movie likely evolves at some point into whether or not it will get sequels, re-releases or re-masterings and even novelizations, theme park rides and other possibilities. If a movie is not distributed relatively quickly, it may molder in a vault (physical or digital) waiting to either be forgotten, or for something outside of it to change, like the cultural currents, a performer's career arc, or something else. Then it is released and follows a new trajectory.

The point is, even though we think in the moment, we live in the now and think of stuff as fixed. It's very useful to think of them as things, they aren't: everything is changing, always.

(Note: yes, eventually the universe may even change its innate tendency toward change by going through a heat death, heat a proxy for movement/change here. This heat death sounds grim but is really just change itself changing into something else sort of [I'm wildly oversimplifying the current thinking on the cosmology of the universe which is a bit beyond what I want to focus on today]).

What does this mean for us as actors? What does this possibly too abstract and maybe rambling mean for us? Our roles, our work and our whole careers are not things, they are a process, or a bunch of processes; we are on a journey. We are following a path. Our path as actors, our character's journeys are not a thing while we are on them. Only looking back will we be able to sum them up in any way. We make sense and tell ourselves a story of what happened once it has happened, once it is "done." It might be cliché, but all we do as actors is more a path than a place.

Tempting to simply end this post with the glib "life is a journey not a destination," but there are two problems with that. One: it is boring, which is usually not a great choice for an actor. Two: it is passive. We are not simply along for a ride. We are actors. We act. Our very job title is entirely focused on us doing stuff, taking action. Whether or not the universe cooperates and complies with our desires, or gratifies our intentions with our chosen outcome, our task is about acting. Whether or not we get what we want after we do what we do, is not our responsibility.

You could think of it as above our pay grade as humans to decide entirely the outcome of anything. Results are not our problem. Results are more like things. The path leads to the results, the story leads to its end, and the journey, the process is our world. It's our focus, and where our roles, careers and lives actually happen.

We don't watch a film for just the last two seconds and the credits; when we focus on our process, or role in things, then we can make a difference. It is as I have said before: it is not our job to book, it is our job to do what we do. Focus on your process. Focus on what you can do.

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this posted by David August at 12:28 AM 

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