Sunday, July 24, 2011

You're a WHAT!?!

Schizophrenic.  Imbalanced.  Unfocussed.  These are a few of the suspicions you sometimes get when you reveal yourself as a hybrid actor/writer.  That’s changing as more and more artists cross lines and perform more than one profession.  But you still run across prejudice from time to time:  that one art takes necessary focus from the other; that you can’t do one as well as the other; that you can’t love one as much as the other.   So let me shatter those myths. 

Myth #1:  Your true calling takes all your focus:  you don’t have time for more.
Who says?  Lots of folks have two jobs in today’s world.  Most spend eight hours or less at one thing and the other eight at something else—often many things—completely unrelated to whatever they do in those first eight hours.  So spending some hours a day devoted to writing and some to acting shouldn’t make anyone balk.  When I’m performing in a film, obviously I spend significantly more hours acting than writing.  And when I’m not acting in a film, I spend more time writing.  As far as my focus and time, the two disciplines have a perfectly complementary relationship.  

Myth #2: You can't possibly do one as well as the other.
There are so many examples of actor/writer hybrids who succeed brilliantly at both that this argument should never enter anyone’s mind:  Steve Martin, Woody Allen, Orson Wells, Will Rogers, Carrie Fisher—to name a few.  In fact, even in this list, there are actor/writer/directors.  I’d argue most of them are as capable in one category as another.  And yet folks still hold to the belief that you can only really excel at one thing.  I like to think I act and write well.  I’ve gotten recognition for both.  And if I do one a little better than the other, I couldn’t tell you which.  It would likely end up a matter of opinion; subjectivity is always a part of the arts and one’s appreciation of them.  And, since I don’t care which I do better, I continue to merrily pursue both.  

Myth #3: You can only have one true love, one true passion, one true calling.
In a world of infinite diversity and possibility, I’m staggered at people who limit their thinking like this.  I know it makes things easier to comprehend if we box them up, label them, and put them orderly onto shelves.  That, in fact, does seem to work for the most part in the physical world.   But in the world of ideas, the world of passions, the world of appetites, boxes and shelves have no place: such things blur lines and defy boundaries; they are, in a word, limitless.  So why not love more than one thing?  Why not love as much as you can?  If you have a passion for something, why not explore it?  If you have a passion for something else, why not explore that, too.   Life is a bounty; try many things. And if two things come to the forefront instead of only one, embrace them, celebrate them and follow their callings.

So there you go.  Hope I’ve demystified the actor/writer hybrid.  And if I’ve inspired you to try something new, let me know.  I’d be thrilled.  I’ve always been a cheerleader for positive change.   

Uh-oh.  I just added to my hyphenate!

1 comment:

  1. Completely agree Gregory ( if you don't mind me calling you Gregory!) interesting post! And all the best with your blog.