The following is less an article with a coherent point, and more a stream of consciousness from a man who doesn’t quite know what he’s doing and certainly doesn’t know who to ask about it anymore. So he’s telling the internet. How droll.
Recently, I took the time to read a little article which described the experience of Beyonce Knowles washed up dad running workshops on how to be successful. This man, for all his faults, helped create of the biggest stars in the world, and was subsequently dumped by her when he became too unbearable.
This man, who I really shouldn’t be taking advice from, not just because his success is based on questionable practises, but because by all accounts he’s a pretty terrible human- said something that nonetheless stuck with me.
“You gotta focus on one thing or you’ll never make it.”
For those who don’t know, I’m the antithesis of sticking with one thing. I make a point to do that. The reason is two fold.
1: I can’t stand standing still. I loathe it. If acting isn’t working out, I do a comedy show, if comedy is making me too vulnerable, I’ll try to write, when I discover that my writing’s crap I give acting another go. Repeat ad nauseum.
2: I suspect, and I have evidence to believe this, that I’m an irritating person. I’m dramatic, I’m easily hurt, and I don’t trust easily. This cocktail means I can be a bloody nightmare to work with. Let’s not even get started on my personal life.
If I had to guess, I’d say no one would presume to tell me what to do with my career, because they assume I have a plan. A set of steps. Something. But they’d be wrong. I, like in Neil Gaiman’s famous address to the University of the Arts, like to head towards the mountain, the mountain called “Entertaining for a living”
Sounds vague? That’s cause it is.
Two years ago? I would say I’m an actor. I act. That’s what I do. Have done. Will do. Continue to do. I have changed a lot since then. Comedy entered my bloodstream.
My show- The Brain Room:
Comedy is something I never knew I had a passion for- but it’s there. I love making people feel. In this case, I love making folks feel joy. If I can land a joke- I know I’ve done something good.
Why the move from acting to comedy? In a word, patience. As in, I have none. Acting is a waiting game. From waiting for the phone to ring, to waiting for the 9th round of auditions to waiting for your shot to be placed, it’s all about waiting. That’s fine, I’ve known it for years, but it’s harmful to the ego. I remember the faces of friends when I told them I’d landed another unpaid gig. “When was he going to be successful?” I heard them think.
So comedy was my answer. Put on a show. Put your own money into it. Make your own content, get people interested in you as a performer. Somewhere along the way though, the comedy bug bit me and now I want to take my show on the road in a shitty punk van, entertain the people in backalley pubs.
All this meant that I hadn’t done acting in about 8 months, which was the time I allowed myself to do The Brain Room. It made it’s money back and then some, I was chuffed. Then, I had to update my resume for future agents. I’d done nothing but this one show. Nothing.
No big deal, right? I had loads in my resume.
Then I came across that goddamn Mr. Knowles, with his vitriol of anyone younger than him, and I began to doubt. Or rather, question what I think I always feared.
Patrick Stewart in the remarkable documentary The Captains (which is on netflix if you want to give it a watch), said “my work is everything”, and as anyone who’s watched his performances knows, his focus is incredible. This is, as revealed in the interview, something that he prioritized beyond his own family.
Another hero of mine, incidentally.
And here I am contemplating whether to just go to sleep after I finish this or just play Fallout 4 for 12 hours before work. Clearly, clearly, I could be doing more.
Arguments could be made. My mental health, my deserving of a life away from my work and my drive. And as far as not focusing on purely acting anymore, it’s a good thing to have many feathers in your cap, right?
No says, Mr. Knowles. Nonono. If I keep going down this path, I’m fucked. I will not reach the celebrity status I could.
Is that all to life? No. Should it matter to me as much as it does? Absolutely not. Does it matter to me, despite all internal screaming and headbashing? Yup.
I want to be recognized. I want to be recognized by my peers, but beyond that, I want to be recognized by the people. The people who have no reason to bullshit you, the people that will give you 1 star on youtube if you’re talking to slow. I want people to come up to me and say “Your work helped”. I want so much to make a difference, to inspire.
And yet, I can’t even inspire myself. My website is stagnant, and I have no desire to fill my twitter or facebook pages with pointless wank. I want my work to speak for itself, and yet I have no work.
I want my relationships to be strong. And yet, here I am in a strange city with no close friends and no idea where to start.
I want so very badly to get up and jog in the morning, eat right, work on a script before lunch, do adult stuff before 3 and then go work. I’m just not that guy yet.
At 24, that’s a pretty sobering thing to admit. In my personal life, I’ve said goodbye to many people who seem to have given up on me without warning.
2016 looms, and Mr. Knowles words are ringing in my ears. Am I focused? Can I make it work? I honestly don’t know. All I know is that I can’t quit. All of this, from friends abandoning me, to work eluding me- are setbacks, hurdles to overcome. Until I figure out something better, I’m gonna keep plodding towards my mountain.
Besides, I probably shouldn’t be taking advice from a mean egotistical wash up anyway, that sounds like a Trump voter to me.
This is me by another mountain. Ah? AH? Geddit? Yeah, you get it.