I once took a workshop with a woman who lives in LA and coaches all sorts of creative types from actors to directors to screenwriters to special-effects makeup artists. She has a never-ending list of clients because they all have essentially the same problems around creativity and bringing their “A” game every time. She’s just figured out how to deal with those general problems with those specific people.
I am one of those people.
She said that all creative types have a flame that burns in them that others just don’t have and just don’t get. It’s the flame that causes us to keep creating regardless. We create not because of but in spite of. And we will do anything to keep that flame burning. The problems arise from that.
Sometimes the flame gets low and sputters and we have to tend it lovingly. Other times it just rages so out of control that it almost consumes us. No matter what, we’re always making sure the flame never goes out.
Creative types starting out are usually asked why they do what they do when they’re not making any money. There was a period in my life when I had a wife and a mortgage and was making $69 a week performing improv comedy with Toronto’s Second City Theatre.
My wife at the time had been in a horrible car accident and couldn’t work. So our parents paid our mortgage. And I brought home less than $70 a week. But that is part of this business. It will test you over and over. It will taunt you. It will ask you to prove your worthiness. It will make sure you tend the flame.
I can be funny. I can draw, I can act, I can write, I can improvise, I can do photography, I can sing. I cannot dance to save my fucking life. Never cast me in a musical where I have to do more than a box step. And even then… You have been warned.
But know this about me: I can do nothing else.