maybe "rants" isn't the right word. these are simple thoughts about my life. some may be more colorful than others. some language may be offensive, but it depends on your definition of offensive. consider this your warning ;)

18 July 2011

Stanislavsky is like Pam for the soul

I don’t like getting stuck. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it usually isn’t for very long. Being stuck translates as getting lazy and losing perspective. Often times I look to better the situation, progress, and evolve. When I told my ex-fiancee that I was moving back to California, she said something to the effect of, “Go ahead, run like you always do. That’s why you can’t hold a committed relationship.”

That was the one thing that stuck with me (no pun intended).

I didn’t run, I moved on. I moved up and I moved forward. I got myself a few jobs, I started college, and I gave myself objectives. I encountered obstacles, I altered tactics, I achieved objectives. One step at a time, I make it from one scene to the next (yes, I’m referring to my life in acting terms…). Many actors, myself included, have said that living the life of a character in a play is simpler than real life because the play is scripted, the end is in sight, and you know the course of the story. One of the many challenges facing actors is embodying the character without telegraphing the end.

I can't remember where, but I heard somewhere (perhaps in the DVD commentary of the film Ray) that Jamie Foxx was able to spend some time with Ray Charles in his preparation to portray the musical legend. However, as amazing as it was basking in the genius of Ray Charles Robinson, he opted to cut his time short with his visits. His explanation was that he wouldn’t be portraying the 70-plus musician, and therefore did not want his performance to be overwhelmed with the last few months of Mr. Charles’ life; he only wanted to spend enough time with him to catch him in action, notice some nuances, and just watch him be.

Although I can’t speak for every actor, I know a few that proudly joined the ranks of “drama geeks” in high school because they enjoyed the escape from their miserable teenage lives to enjoy the fantastical wonderland of the scripted. As I mentioned earlier, one of the challenges of an actor is to not telegraph the end result. As much of a structure junkie as I am, I have realized one (of the I’m sure numerous) aspects where the uncertainty of real life is much easier than the scripted definite world of theatre: it’s impossible to telegraph the end result. Reason being—THE END OF YOUR PLAY ISN’T WRITTEN.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, naysayers can say that it isn’t impossible—committing suicide can easily be telegraphed beforehand. Ah, ah, ahh, any human that I know moves forward (or doesn’t) through choices. A choice to create a new life is equal to a choice to take a life, insofar as they are both choices. Where am I going with this? Any self-respecting human being who operates in the interest of self-preservation and progress moves forward by making their own choices. Bite-sized, manageable objectives are set, and whether they are achieved or altered, further objectives are set, obstacles are encountered, tactics are utilized, and life goes on. In day to day life we don’t have the option of telegraphing the end, so our up front objectives are faced more naturally and (dare I say) organically.

Compulsive over-analyzers like myself can find themselves second-guessing, backpedaling, and essentially undermining their own decisions if they don’t stand by their choice. It’s nearly impossible to make a choice without affecting anyone. Really. Human nature integrates this knowledge with our decision making more often than not. People choose to make choices everyday, accepting or declining offers, with varying degrees of acknowledging how far the ripples will go. Some people make more decisions based on how others are affected. Some make them based on how it affects them. Decisions are obviously a case-by-case basis, with some decision causing greater ripples than others. If you need an example, choosing which combo meal from Del Taco probably won’t ripple out as far as eloping with your cousin, but they are both decisions nonetheless.

If you’re stuck, you’ve reached a rest stop of laziness. If you think you’ve settled and hit a plateau, you have. I don’t plan on getting stuck or running, but I do intend to stay in a committed relationship (i.e., get married…duh). If I settle, that means I’ve given up. If I’m stuck, that means I’ve become too lazy to make things better. These two results are products of weak objectives, a lack of tactics, and obstacles that weren’t necessarily insurmountable, just big enough for me to stop reaching.

I like where I’m heading, and I love whom I’m heading there with. I’m far from stuck and nowhere near settling. My objectives are strong and my super objective (which, if you asked me what it is, I couldn’t tell you to save my life) is even better. The tactics I’ve accumulated over the years are fantastic, and the obstacles? Ha, I enjoy when people think they’re throwing me a wrench, when I’ve deflected torpedoes. Strap me to the back of a pace car and cut me loose when the green flag goes up, I’ll make it.

Note: although this self-empowering post may seem a bit random and obtuse, but a story I recollected earlier today sparked this feeling. I’ll have to share that story another time…let’s just say I’m in a much better place now, associated with a much nicer family. J

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