Sunday, September 12, 2010

Building a Discipline into CRAFT!

Sunday musings...

After a great class at CnCStudios in NYC yesterday (that will be the start of many more we hope) called THE ACTORS VOICE,  my thought return to craft and the discipline of craft.

What are the truths of having craft?

First, and most importantly it doesn't happen instantly.  It doesn't happen overnight.  It doesn't happen cause you think you want it.

Craft and the discipline of craft is about commitment.  This commitment is about study, about pliability, about discovery and about doing whatever it takes to find out what you can DO with it.

The truth of craft is expensive.  It costs.  If you want something badly enough, you will find a way to get what you need in order to have it.  This can be literal and figurative.  As an artist building craft in ANY discipline,  you need to INVEST.  As with any investment, it requires a great deal of research first to find out what you need, what's out there, how you will find what works for you, and then pursue it.

The expense of developing craft is literally money, yes.  Classes, lessons, coachings and more.  It is expensive in what it demands of you physically, emotionally, spiritually.  It costs in time and focus.

However, if the investment allows for further development,  creates tools that are more accessible to you,  creates possibilities to work, possibilities to network,  possibilities of ANY kind  - then investing in that expense is worth everything you put into it.

You can learn to dance, to sing, to act - but it doesn't make you a dancer, a singer nor an actor.  The investment of time,  money, temperament,  tenacity and guts will truly reveal whether or not the discipline can become craft.

In this "instant" society and this "star" mentality,  the truth of how craft is developed seems to completely evade some people.

You will not be able to dance after one class, or by learning one combination.  The art and craft and discipline of dance takes YEARS to achieve.

You will not be able to sing after one class, nor call yourself a singer,  whether you have a "natural" instrument or not.  The art, craft, discipline and athleticism of singing takes years and continual pursuit.

You will not be an actor after one class!  The truth of acting takes time and consistency to discover, acknowledge and develop knowledge.

You can "read" about discipline of craft, but until you make the commitment to DO it - you are neither learning how, nor being.

After a 3 hour introduction to voice from the actor's perspective yesterday -  I suggested to my clients that perhaps NOW they were prepared to BEGIN to learn HOW to sing.

Again,  this doesn't mean you are a singer.  That comes later.  Or perhaps you ARE a singer, and you need to invest in learning how you do what you do, in order to learn to summon it at will.

If you do not develop craft,  you are deceiving yourself, and ultimately deceiving the business in giving the illusion you are ready to do something you know nothing about.

What if you can deceive something through an audition?  What if you get a callback?  What if you get offered a job and have to DO that job and simply don't have the craft to sustain it?  Then what?

Wouldn't you rather know you CAN and know HOW you do what you do?

Don't you want to be known as a reliable, inspired and disciplined artist in the business, than a deceptive flash in the pan just because you didn't want to pursue something fully?

As my Dad used to say to me when I'd get upset with something I was struggling with - "who said it was fair?"

There is nothing fair out there.  Take that and let it go.  Nothing will be handed to you.  You need to work for it.  If you don't study dance, you have no business posing yourself as a dancer in the business.

If you don't study singing,  you have no business posing yourself as a singer, nor going to a singing audition.

If you don't study acting,  you have no business auditioning as an actor.

Your responsibility is to be able to KNOW and DO your craft.  If you don't know and can't do - it's time to either do something else, or quit whining about how expensive things are, how long it takes to develop, and DO IT.  Figure it out!

It isn't easy for any of us.  We have all had to struggle.  If the craft is important enough,  if the passion and the desire is strong enough,  if the need to pursue is deep enough,  you find a way to do it!

Only in these choices,  do our realities emerge.

If we expect it come to you,  you will waste a great deal of time.

If you are willing to do what needs to be done, get creative and get real - all possibilities emerge!

So, don't call yourself a singer, an actor, or a dancer unless you have discovered vocabulary,  have developed craft/are developing craft,  and know what it takes to BE - not what it takes to wannaBE.

The reality is, you only hide from yourself.  And that's a waste of spirit.

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