You Are Stardust

“You are both stars, don’t forget. When the stars exploded billions of years ago, they formed everything that is this world. The moon, the trees, everything we know is stardust. So don’t forget. You are stardust.” -The Rose Peddler’s advice to Jesse & Celine in Before Sunrise

For the actor…

You are in everyone and everyone is in you.

That means you can play EVERY part.

To do so, just dial up the stardust particles that most align with the character. Dial down the others.

P.S. – This scene. So good!

Do One Thing

“If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” -Mother Teresa

We’ll never solve the giant, messy, intractable problems by thinking, fearing, worrying and feeling overwhelmed.

Do nothing. Nothing happens.

Do something. ONE thing. One tiny, seemingly insignificant thing. Help one person. Make one change. Do it consistently, every day, rain or shine. Step back after a long enough period of time…and prepare to be amazed.

Feeling inspired and wanting to do one thing? Here’s two opportunities:

(1) Check out Weave.

(2) Check out The Carbon Almanac.

Go do your one thing.

The Long Way

When lonely days turn to lonely nights
You take a trip to the city lights
And take the long way home
Take the long way home
-Supertramp “Take The Long Way Home”

“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” -Jerzy Gregorek

“Sometimes it’s necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly.” -Edward Albee, The Zoo Story

We all want it to be easy. And trying to find the most efficient and least taxing way to accomplish something makes perfect tense.

But there are times when harder makes it easier.

When going slow makes it faster.

And taking the long way ends up being the right way.

Got Rhythm?

I got rhythm, I got music
I got my gal, who can ask for anything more?
– “I Got Rhythm” by George Gershwin

For The Actor…

Character is rhythm. And rhythm makes character.

To find the character, find the rhythm.

How?

Two tips…

One…Say the words out loud hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times.

Two…Type out the entire script.

Over Under

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” -Bill Gates

We overweight the obstacles and other people’s opinions, while at the same time we underweight our own capability.

As a result, many a passion project never gets started.  

Yes it’s hard.

Yes it will take longer than you think.

Yes you will be pushed and challenged to your core.

But it’s all worth it and you can do it!

Go make your art.

P.S. – “Under Oveur, Oveur Dunn”

No Hanging Out

For the playwright…

You must have some kinda conflict on every page of your script. Or at the very least, in every beat.

When you get to the end of your first draft, break the play down into beats. If any of them don’t have conflict, they gotta go. Excise immediately. Call it character backstory and move on.

No one wants to watch two people “hang out”/”get to know each other” on stage. Not for very long anyway. Even if it’s super-charged, very fun, highly vulnerable, and remarkably intimate, the powder in the beat keg will run dry. Fast.

Conflict. Conflict. Conflict…And more conflict.

P.S. – If you’re acting in a play that has “hang out” beats, beware. It’s a huge trap. You gotta find a way to inject conflict. Even if it’s internal, that’s great. And it could be riveting.

Reputation

“Trust is earned in drops and lost in buckets.” -Shane Parrish

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” -Warren Buffett

“We kept our rep bro.” -Sue in the film, Swingers

I know I got a bad reputation
And it isn’t just talk, talk, talk
If I could only give you everything
You know I haven’t got
-Freddy Johnston, song “Bad Reputation”

Your reputation.

Hardest thing to gain.

Easiest thing to lose.

Guard it with your life.

The Unspoken Agreement

Agreement between theatre-maker and audience member.

I, theatre-maker, agree to…

-only produce that play which I am extremely passionate about.

-strive for excellence and generosity at all times. Go all out. Leave no stone unturned. I shall give myself, my fellow artists and stage crew a long enough runway to make that happen.

-always foster an empowering, creative and inspiring environment for our artists and stage crew to do their best work.

-employ radical hospitality towards the audience who’ve agreed to sacrifice their precious time and dollars to be here tonight.

I audience member agree to…

-show up on time.

-show up with an open heart and mind to the story I’m about to witness.

-have a rooting spirit for the actors who are up there giving their all

-if I loved and was moved by tonight’s play, then I will tell everyone about it.

Right Place, Right Time

You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. This is it. Everything you’ve done before, including the failures, the mistakes, is exactly what you were supposed to do and has led you right to this point.

Do you truly believe that? Yes?…Good. You should, because it’s the truth.

Take a deep breath.

Now that we’ve got that covered, what would you like to do?

Go for it. Make it happen. Clear eyes. Clear hearts. Can’t lose.