Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Biz Monday Starter: Keeping Busy

Hard work, research, ingenuity, perseverance, honesty. I feel like these are all things most American children grew up with as values--things to strive for if we want to succeed. Then we progress forward to college where these same values are stressed again, though this time streamlined and restructured to fit each major, each college of study so specifically that it can be a challenge to take each value and realize that they still fit into broader generalizations. To be successful, whether in business, government, science, mathematics, law, or the arts, requires the same sort of work ethic, the same sort of drive. M.K. Lewis, author of Your Film Acting Career, stated that he was convinced that successful actors would be successful at any career they chose to do. I read that statement and immediately felt the impact. So often an actor can be overheard saying, "I act because I am not good at anything else." I know that I've said it before. That statement, though, too often becomes a crutch. A way to try and permanently bind and justify your career path. Perhaps because acting seems to be an unusual career, and is often little understood by Industry outsiders, actors feel this push within to defend their career choices--to normalize them. Anytime, however, you attempt to be (at the risk of sounding terribly cliche) the best you can it becomes even more of a striking untruth. I believe that individuals who believe they are successful would not be overheard (seriously) saying that I do this because this is just what I know. As M.K. Lewis points out, they know that the things they did in one field, the steps they took to get to where they are now, are the same ones they'd take in any other field.
As I start to think of my career as just one stream in a larger basin, it becomes easier for me to put some of those values into larger context, which in turn allows me the freedom to pull from larger examples of inspiration, stories, and experiences. That, in turn, helps me to see that though some do stumble into success, most people, have been working hard, researching, getting up early and staying up late for a long time. And, that although, perceptions of what it means to be successful are individual, and often, very personal, a tenant of successful individuals is that the idea of fulfillment from what they are doing keeps them constantly reevaluating themselves and their work. A constant activity, a drive, a passion that keeps them busy and spills over even if they do work at a job that doesn't give them fulfillment like Pearl Fryar.
This week will be all about fleshing out this idea of research and hard work.

Continuing Tuesday with an analysis of the screenplay of Sense & Sensibility, including comments on Emma Thompson's production journal, and finishing off on Friday with a review of The Hours focusing particularly on the director and writer commentary.
Oh, and yeah, this guy works hard.

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