Good Viruses

“We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

I know the Coronavirus is top of mind right now. Here’s a great post by Seth Godin: https://seths.blog/2020/03/thoughts-on-a-virus/ Give it a read.

Rather than freak out and be glued to the news (what mainstream media would like us to do), focus on the few, simple actions you can take to prevent it’s spread while protecting yourself and others. Trust that while difficult now, we’ll get through this. And know that with the world being as inter-connected as ever, you have the opportunity each and every day day to make an impact. To spread good viruses.

Like…

The virus of leadership.

The virus of passion.

The virus of generosity.

The virus of service to others.

Don’t wait. The world needs your good ideas. Your good viruses. Now more than ever. Spread them.

Bonus Post! Bonus Post! “Fellow Traveler” Newsletter Vol. 1 – January, 2020

Being a producer is about taste. Not necessarily good taste. But specific taste. To develop that taste, you need to first devour as much art as possible. It can be anything that interests you–books, plays, music, short stories, films, poems, articles, podcasts, tv, etc….Then, reflect on the art you’ve just consumed. Finally, and most importantly, share what you think is worthwhile with others. It’s in the sharing that you’re taking a stand. You’re putting yourself out there. You’re saying, “Hey, I’ve read or seen this and I think it’s worth your time.” That takes guts. That takes generosity.

Welcome to “Fellow Traveler” where I highlight a few things I really loved that month. Maybe it develops into its own online newsletter, but right now, consider it a bonus blog post. Thanks in advance for reading. I’d love your feedback and welcome your own “picks.”

Here goes…

FILMS

  1. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. DiCaprio, Pitt and Tarantino working at the top of their games. A rich blur of music, color and craft that instantly transports you to Hollywood, 1969, and never lets you go. How good is that scene where DiCaprio works himself up in his trailer? Wow.
  2. Knives Out. Who doesn’t love a great, murder mystery where everyone’s having tons of fun?
  3. Emilie Muller. This spellbinding, French, B&W short was made in 1994 but looks like it’s from the thirties or forties. I would have loved to see more from this director, but he died young. The link goes right to the film. Watch it. An acting clinic from Veronica Varga. (Thank you Alex Waintrub for turning me on to this one.)

BOOKS

  1. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. Despite the cheesy, infomercial title, lot of gems in here about why it’s so important to have a big vision for anything you want to do. And how to think and do.

ARTICLES

  1. The Haunting Beauty Of Snowflakes by Maria Popova. Worth reading just for all the incredible pictures of snowflakes!
  2. What Vanishing Angle Sees Over The Horizon by Stephen Saito I know the principals at this amazing production company. Expect to hear and see big things from them. They’re doing it right.
  3. How William James Encourages Us To Believe In The Possible by Temma Ehrenfeld Dreamers and doers, James has something to teach us all.

PLAYS

  1. The Antipodes by Annie Baker. I love Annie Baker’s plays. The Aliens, Circle Mirror Transformation and The Flick are all fantastic. Read them. Her newest one about storytelling and the writer’s room is awesome. I expect to hear your own ghost story the next time I see you.

PODCASTS

  1. Seth Godin on “The Moment With Brian Koppelman”. Great debate on Bob Dylan and the nature of genius v. hard work. Lots of good, actionable stuff as well. Seth never disappoints.
  2. Jeff Perry on “10,000 No’s with Matthew Del Negro”. Steppenwolf and Jeff Perry fans, this one’s for you! (Shout out to my friend Ingrid Rogers for turning me on to this terrific podcast and episode.)

P.S. – Why the name “Fellow Traveler”?…We’re all traveling on our own artistic journey. The journey to find and manifest the art we’re passionate about. Let’s travel together.

Stand By Your Passion Project

Image result for stand by your man

Sometimes it’s hard to be a producer.
Giving all your love to just one passion project.
You’ll have bad times
And you’ll have good times, 
Doin’ things that you don’t understand
But if you love it you’ll forgive it,
Even though it’s hard to understand
And if you love it oh be proud of it,
‘Cause after all it’s just a passion project 
Stand by your passion project,

Stand by your passion project
Stand by your passion project 

With apologies to Tammy Wynette, here’s the real version of her hit song, “Stand By Your Man.” Give it a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM-b8P1yj9w

And for more good times, here’s the link to The Blues Brothers version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Psm96Dn9KIIhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Psm96Dn9KII

“Why’d You Get Into This?”

It’s a powerful question.

Next time you’re talking to an artist friend or colleague or someone you’ve just met, slip that question into the conversation.

Notice their reaction. Often they’ll stop dead in their tracks. Then, if they do come up with an answer, it’s usually fascinating. A story about their first time on stage. Or the joy of being part of the high school play. Or a moment when they felt truly present. Truly alive.

While you’re at it, ask yourself the same question. “Why’d You Get Into This?”

Think about those first memories. Journal about it. Share them with a friend.

Now ask yourself, “Am I doing that? Am I doing what I wanted to do?”

It’s Not Your Fault

Image result for it's not your fault scene good will hunting

It’s not your fault…

…your computer crashed before you saved your script.

…your lead actor won’t learn their lines.

…your main funder backed out at the last minute.

…your production designer is way late with their set.

…your costume designer went way over budget.

…your director won’t return your calls and texts.

…your show didn’t get good reviews, word of mouth is absent and audience is scant

…everyone is blaming you.

You’re right. It’s not your fault.

But it is your responsibility.

The Search

Binx Bolling, the main character in Walker Percy’s brilliant debut novel, The Moviegoer, is on a “Search“.

Like Binx, maybe you’re on a “Search.” A search for your passion project. And it can be frustrating. Agonizing. No end in sight.

But unlike Binx, who’s mired in existential angst, trust that your search will end. Because you’ll take concrete, specific actions on your search. Like…

Reading. Read a ton. Plays, Books, Novels, Short Stories, Poems, etc…Anything that interests you even remotely. Read.

Watching. See films and plays. New, old, one’s you’ve seen a dozen times. See them again. Get inspired. See.

Writing. Write anything. Journal. Stream of consciousness. Stories. Sketches. Doesn’t matter. Write.

Meeting. Meet with friends and colleagues. Be deeply interested in what they’re doing. Tell them you’re searching for your passion project. Put out an A.P.B. to anyone who will respond. Meet up. Show up.

Most importantly, when you’re on your search, enjoy every minute of it. Because it’s just a season. It will end. Soon.

And when it ends, you’ll be in another season. The season of doing. Of manifesting. Of producing. Because you’ll have your passion project. And it will need all your focus.

But until then, be carefree. Pick and choose. Go down rabbit holes. Have fun exploring. And trust you’ll find it when you’re supposed to.

Good luck searching. I’m rooting for you.

Good

Some Monday morning motivation for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdTMDpizis8.

Couldn’t get the rights for the play you wanted to do? Good. Find another one you like even more.

Lost your lead actor to another project? Good. Find someone even more right for the part.

Funding hasn’t come through? Good. Embrace your limitations and get creative.

Reviews are bad. Good. You learned a ton.

Got no one on the books for this weekend’s shows? Good. Get out there and hustle your butt off.

Every single thing that happens to you on your artistic journey is GOOD.