Staying Enthused

I’m in the middle of a big project.  One that has been in the writing and planning stages for several months now.  It’s a web series called Mags N Mel that I’ve co-written with Maritza Cabrera and we are co-producing and starring in it.  It’s been a lot of work to get to this point and now we are halfway through shooting all the episodes.  A feeling I used to feel when I was doing a play is starting to come over me and I’m a bit surprised at it’s appearance.

When you are planning something big there is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm leading up to the commencement of it.  Months of planning, writing, rehearsing, what ifs and how abouts.  All leading up to that first day or first performance or first launch.  There’s so much energy in the air, you can feel it.  Then you start and that feeling carries you through the first day or so.  And then you realize, this is going to be a grind.  More so that I thought it would be.  And that feeling always surprises me because I don’t expect it.  It’s happened midway through the run of a play, when my closet contents are spread all over the floor and when I’ve commenced a complicated craft project.  That’s when the “ugh” factor kicks in and it’s not fun anymore.  It’s work.  I thought it was going to be fun!

We started this project for various reasons, to get ourselves in the Screen Actors Guild, put ourselves and our friends to work, create content and put our writing skills to use.  All of these objectives have been accomplished but the project isn’t finished yet.  Finding the enthusiasm and the drive not to mention the money to finish what I’ve started isn’t going to be easy but finishing it will be so rewarding.  This is usually when I wish I had Samantha Stevens bewitching nose to just twinkle it into completion!

TMI

This means too much information.  Not in the way it’s usually used where someone reveals WAY too much information about their gastrointestinal tract, or their hemorrhoids or their fetishes.  You get the picture.  No the too much information I’m referring to is all the information that’s out there for our consumption.  The blogs (guilty!), message boards, e-blasts, e-mails, newsletters.  I am constantly bombarded with information about my industry and those working in it.  It’s hard to get through it all each day but I make sure I sort through it or it starts to build up.  Very often there’s some good stuff buried in the muck, tips and job possibilities.  But the flip side of this is it can all become one big distraction in the guise of work.  I read, sort and comment so I must be working right?

Wrong.  This is busy work that takes me away from the “just doing it” part.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer in networking and marketing yourself.  I am my biggest cheerleader.  Biggest critic too but that’s a story for another day.  And I think that networking and marketing can be assisted by all this written communication.  But it all gets wrapped up and disguised as work when in reality it’s really not that connected to work.  Work, for me, is memorizing a new monologue, sending out an audition, learning a new scene for a class, practicing my movements, reading a play, improving my vocal strength.  While this is fun to do, it’s also not as much of a distraction as doing all that other stuff is.  And as I’ve mentioned before, I’m lazy.  I really don’t want to have to do the work.  I just want it easy.  I guess I’m a candidate for that ship on WALL-e.  You know, the people that move around all day in their floating barcaloungers sipping liquid stuff that makes you fat.  So paying attention to all this incoming data is like sipping that liquid stuff, it’ll make you fat with not-so-important info that slows you down and keeps you from doing what you should be doing.  Which is the work.  And my work is fun for heavens sake.  It really is.  I just need to unplug for a while to remember that fact.

Seriously?

Turns out one of the guiding principles of my life wasn’t a genius idea I came up with but was identified early by the renown actor Peter Ustinov.  He said “It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously“.  I’ve often been heard saying about myself and the work I did when I was selling television advertising time, “I take my job seriously, not myself.”  Beyond the obvious meaning of the words, I’ve never really thought about what that meant.  At it’s most basic interpretation, I think it meant that I took my clients and my company’s goals very seriously, with all associated diligence to their business.  At the same time, the impatience, anger and pressures that were directed at me during negotiations or budgeting weren’t taken personally.  I recognized these negatives were a result of things stressing the other person and were beyond my control.  I tried my best to help with whatever it was I could impact.

Now that I am self employed, I realize this truism is even more relevant.  I am working very hard, getting my business set up, managing every last detail, spending long hours in pursuit of work, putting myself out there as much as I can.  However this time I am the product.  So the line between taking the job and not the self seriously gets a little harder to draw.  Especially when I don’t get chosen to do the work.  Remembering that being invited again and again to audition for the job is a win.  If I wasn’t doing something right, I wouldn’t get the calls.  The jobs will come, just keep taking the work seriously.