It only took me about 5 minutes to figure out how to actually begin to blog! This has great potential to be an epic disaster. I have been working with actors for almost 20 years now. My class is titled "How to make the transition from school into the business, from the actors side of the table", or "Buisness 101 for Actors". Crap title but not nearly as bad as the REAL WORLD, the name of the course they used when posting to the Juilliard scheduling board 19 years ago. I had been teaching almost 6 years before I realized that was what they were calling it! Ridiculous, but I guess you have to call it something.
Over the years everything about the way actors market themselves has changed. The most obvious being the use of social media. So every year I rewrite my classes to incorporate what ever new trend is being employed. So here I find myself blogging for the first time in my life. I figure I can't actually teach my classes unless I am somewhat versed in the changing landscape of the business. My actual feelings on whether actors should have web sites or be tweeting, and face booking, and blogging and running a linked in page are almost irrelevant at this point because they are, and it is quickly becoming as common as having a cell phone. I would like to point out that my daughter is 17 and when she was born I was still resisting getting a cell phone, ask my agent how happy she was that I was refusing to give her my cell number. But my pager now lives in the bottom of drawer and I dare you to find a working pay phone. That being said, if I weren't teaching, none of this would be necessary for someone of my advancing years. I could probably continue to work without participating in this obsession to share everything. That is not the case for the graduating classes of this generation. They can choose not to play in the social media arena but not without knowing what the realities are if they don't. Remember, I tried like hell to throw out that damn cell phone.
So, in the last 3 years, because of my students, I have found myself dipping my toes into all sorts of new ponds. These endeavors have been challenging, invigorating, frustrating, hair raising, frightening and surprisingly satisfying. I directed, wrote and produced my first 6 episode web series about event Planner Preston Bailey. I hand't a clue what I was doing and this project almost killed me. But boy did I learn....a lot!! I have my students to thank for lending their talents in a variety of ways to get this project to the finish line. It was recently picked up by the Huffington Post over 50.
I recently directed another project that is going to be made into a series of training videos. How I became involved in this is still a mystery to me. I also started the Catskills Retreat Weekend, again my students encouraged me, telling me if I built it they would come and they did. These weekends have been magical and have touched my life in ways those that attended will never quite understand. I have branched out and now teach my own private scene study and play classes, the joy this brings to me can not be quantified. It is humbling to have these talented students in my class and their trust in my hands. I will be directing a small project for the stage in December if we find a home. And finally I am looking forward to collaborating on a book about what it means to live an artful life. I have begun interviewing Juilliard alumni , curating conversations about how they translated their training into meaningful new paths outside the performance box. The stories are inspiring and I can't wait to share them with you. So this my first post is to say thank you to my students, who have encouraged, pushed, inspired and demanded that I keep up and show up.