"Happiness is only real when shared."
A wise friend told me that if he wants to be great at anything before he dies, it's living. So he picked his career based on what makes him the best possible person he can be. My career in the arts fulfills me in a way that it is difficult to imagine any other line of work. However, I often question if my approach is allowing me to grow to my fullest potential. Especially when I hear people compare the success of a working actor in the midwest to a big fish in a small pond.
Though I love the idea of being a big fish someday, under no circumstances would I consider myself one. I still have much to learn about this industry, many relationships to establish, and am constantly developing my craft. I can understand why some might brand locations outside of NYC/LA as "small ponds" based on the traditional form of an actor's career: There is less competition for roles, the opportunities are comparatively limited, and there is simply no budget comparable to Broadway/Lionsgate. Being the avant-garde-hippy-wierdo that I am, I say, why do we have to limit an artist's success to a pond at all?
Here's a puzzle that I was handed as a child, and after hours of frustration (and tears) I had to ask for the answer. The response blew my mind, changing my perspective of problem solving completely.
Here are nine dots, your task is to connect them with
No matter how many established artists I ask, workshops I attend, or books I read, the same conclusion is always presented: there is no one way to succeed in this industry. So I am figuring out my way, and inviting everyone that may be interested along for the ride, sharing my experiences of success (and failure). Let's figure out how to succeed together, and let's do it without limiting ourselves to any boundaries of whatever a "pond" might be.
Let's Be Big Fish (out of water).
The term "big fish," in my eyes, not only holds the implication of success, but gives me a great sense of play. The style of storytelling in the novel Big Fish is a great reminder never to take life too seriously. So along with the invitation to be successful, I also invite everyone to enjoy the ride. I desire a sense of playfulness and a need to be silly. I tend to reject normalcy and ordinary. I want surprise, and confusion.
Have you ever tried brushing your teeth with the opposite hand? It feels wierd, but you could clean a spot in your mouth that you didn't know you had been missing, or is more thorough from a different angle. Ever stared at a painting upside-down? Try it, you'll find something new. How about ordered food using a dialect? It could change the way you interact with people. It's amazing what you can learn about yourself and the world by applying small changes to actions that can become so ordinary. You could solve problems that you might not have known were there, or find a new appreciation. At the very least, you'll have a bit of fun trying something new.
"Run into the fire," a colleague of mine said, as we discussed her philosophy as an artist. I have only met with this colleague once, and seen very little of her work, but the words continue to ring in my ear, and inspire me to be the best artist, no, person that I can be. Let's go towards what scares us. Let's avoid what makes us comfortable. Let's be big fish out of water.