When I started out in theatre, I found out that there was a huge learning curve, especially because there were so many things that you had to be aware of, not just as an actor. It was one thing to audition all the time to get your feet wet, but as you did more and more shows, got involved with the production process and eventually found yourself knee deep in the currents, you would start to pick up little tips and find yourself more in tune with what was going around you.
Soon after realizing that there were certain things you could do and not do, I started trying to remember everything that I had learned after each new experience. Granted, it was a blast being involved in a production, ie learning lines and music, meeting new people, and being a part of a long and challenging process, eventually seeing something special emerge. However, it wasn't until after many years of doing shows on stage and off stage, I realized that I knew enough to really start looking at things differently.
I became more selective of the roles and shows that had auditions going on. I really wondered "OK, what am I going to get out of this? Is it worth the hours and time?" I found that while I still wanted to have fun, I had to make sure that it was really worth the effort. I also knew that there were younger and hungrier actors out there who would try harder and fight to get those roles. I no longer had the drive because of what I learned, whether it was how each production process would be different, the hours/long rehearsals were taking a toll and the desire was less and less prominent.
While it was sad for me to take a long break from theatre, I soon found design and writing turned into a new form of creativity for me that would fill a void.
I had never done much design or writing before. I tinkered, but nothing like I all the stuff I do for now. Like jumping into theatre, it was something that as I went along, I started learning things. Mind you, I have had decades of experience with theatre, so the writing and design work are still fresh. The very thought of taking on a new form of expression was of course very scary, but just doing it and learning as I go, taking classes and seeing what's out there reminded me a lot of my 8 year old self, just hopping on the stage and taking it all in stride.
I have done several different pieces using a variety of tools in order to hone my skills, but the world of art is ever-changing. With the internet, everything is accessed a lot quicker and easier than it was before, and that landscape is always evolving. Right when I learn something new, it seems it all changes and each person has something different to say about it, but overall, it seems artists strive to protect themselves and their art. I get that completely. You don't want to let anyone exploit or take advantage of you. That right there is key. Your art and work is precious and you should be rewarded accordingly.
Striking out on my own as someone who focuses more on design and writing now, I don't know a lot but deep down, part of me just wants to go with it and get it done myself since I feel that I have to do it all on my own. It's a conditioned behavior. It's something that has been with me since I was young, but it's something that I need work on.
As an actor, there were plenty of resources to explore and classes that I should have taken. Yes, I went to school for it but I ended up hopping into all and hoped for the best. I learned a lot and I thank each and every production experience, good and bad, that help me become more aware everything and what goes on on and behind the stage. That being said, I think taking the advice of people who have done it is important. This time around, I want to be sure to listen and ask more. I've already had a few missteps here and there (misunderstanding the intricacies of convention tabling to the experience of finding out a design pitch website is not the best idea sometimes), but I hope to learn from learning, in a way and not be afraid of the idea of asking someone for help, especially if that person has already been on that rough road.
Here's to the new challenges and experiences to learn from.
Sterling arts & Design
Creating, getting inspired and reflections.