For Artists the struggle is not always financial
One of the most fascinating things for me to observe in an Actor is the dance of self-doubt and the degree to which we will lie to ourselves. It often takes a coach (or a therapist, yes) to unmask the skilfully masked self.
For a few months now I have been doing battle in my own personal-emotional trenches. This battle is peculiar to me. You might call it my Artist’s way. Either way I have been stuck. A lot. As an Artist when I am stuck it feels as though the entire axis of the planet is off-kilter, which is silly really because why would an entire planet go off-kilter because I happen to feel out of sorts? It doesn’t go off kilter. I do. At best this state helps me to appreciate the unique peculiarities of the Actors and Artists that I work with and coach. We are off-kilter in a seemingly ‘kiltered' world We are introverts in an extroverted existence. We are intense beings in a casual dimension. But what I always re-discover is that connecting, authentically connecting, through the morass of seeming impossibilities makes a world of difference and can alter my off-kilter reality within seconds. That is why I know that connecting with a scene partner (or reader) works, yes ... Every.
Time. After many years of coaching actors on set and in studio (12 max) I have the privilege of now coaching just two actors. As we began our process I noted habits they needed to address if our process and agreement was to work. Simply, they had to communicate with me more than they have ever communicated with me before. Of course I can "make them" communicate because I am a highly effective communicator. By all accounts I can make tree trunks communicate their needs to me, yes! But my actors, descendants of Thespis, have a tendency to hide. This itself is a beautiful, poetic lie, but a lie nonetheless. In truth, their collective emotional energies could power the entire US grid and reveal the darkest recesses in any mind. It is what the actor does.
So our agreement is writ thus: though it can seem or feel impossible, even "inconvenient" to communicate sometimes, they must communicate with me. I, in return, will accept any mode of communication. This includes a smoke signal, a flare, (forget text or email or dare I say it: "a phone call", not necessary!) I’ll take breadcrumbs leading up to their trailer on set but honest communication is key; however vulnerable they feel.
I have been (re) learning the same in my own day to day reality. One day, the Artist remembers that it is simply time to let go of the beautiful lie and, in light of liberating truths, to make connections that would normally seem impossible to make; be that on Set, on Stage or in Life.
Original photographs by Nike