I have 3 points of advice if you care to take it:
1. Take Your Work Seriously
2. Learn to Laugh at Yourself
3. Don't Take the Business Seriously Either!!!
What do I mean? Let's explore it...
TAKE YOUR WORK SERIOUSLY
Study, explore, develop, commit...what you DO matters. "Good enough" is not serious. If you are pursuing it - THEN REALLY PURSUE IT and see where it takes you! You can't be successful in discovery if you don't really find out what it means! Failure is not an option - because if you are PURSUING there is no such thing as failure. Pursuit takes you somewhere. It might not be the place you thought you would go, and all that means is another path/angle/choice. That is not failure, but rather a new discovery! Taking your work seriously means a choice. A choice to discover fully and find what it shows you. You cannot know unless you pursue it. Your craft DEMANDS that.
LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF
I MEAN THIS! Take your work seriously, but not yourself. We need to laugh at the ridiculous and the sublime! We are human beings - and we are multi-faceted and need to recognize what we DO isn't always who we ARE. Who we are needs to be silly sometimes; needs to make mistakes and missteps; needs to just relax and laugh and know it's okay. The self does not need to get so wound up that it forgets the difference between DOING and BEING. The DOING of the work is serious - and how we pursue it and how we commit to it. THE BEING of the SELF needs to enjoy the space between...the ability to not take yourself so seriously is KEY to finding balance as you pursue this career called theatre...
AND LAUGH ABOUT THE SUITS
Talk about the ridiculous to the sublime!!!! Sometimes the business "sees" you - and most of the time they don't. They aren't looking to see you. Their focus is elsewhere. You are part of the equipment. If we take this too seriously, we will drive ourselves mad. It isn't worth that. Know the reality of what you are dealing with, and to thyself be true. Otherwise, you will tie yourself up in knots!!!
Know who these people are and what their function is. Know it's not personal. Know everybody has an option and it doesn't mean it's informed just because there's a "title" beside their name! Know you'll never figure it out, so there is no point angsting over it!
Commit to YOU not to the business. If you try to please the business, you'll never do it. The confusion will overwhelm you and your pursuit of an artistic self will be left in the dust.
Laugh because you CAN. Laugh because it IS ridiculous in the truest sense of things, and opinions are like assholes...everybody has one. The opinion has no relevance if there is no knowledge to inform it. Yes, that IS laughable.
Examples? You want examples? I could go on and on but here are a few...and no, I am not making them up...
An agent said to a FINE belter at a workshop "well, I see that singing isn't your strong suit." Don't you wish you could just say "And I see evaluating talent isn't yours?!"
A casting agent in a class commenting that "The only thing I have to say is that you need to learn how to wear high heels" - to an actor/singer who wears heels daily. That CD's assistant broke out and laughed at the absurdity!!!! And the response from the CD 'Well, I guess I don't know anything".....hmmmm....out of the mouths of...
An agent listening to a legit soprano ingenue singing a full legit song in audition who sings it beautifully and comments "That was lovely. Could you belt the high note now?"
Two agents together listening to a soprano quirky ingenue who can sing both legit and quirky belt - who is blonde and beautiful. One agent turns to the other and says "How would I market her? I am confused." It was good to see the 2nd agent look at her like she'd lost her mind.
An artistic team after a singer's audition: "You are fabulous! Could you be taller?"
(that's still one of my all time favorites)
"We love you - but you are just too good."
"I really want to hire you, but you'd make everybody else look so bad."
"I love your sound, but I really need a blonde."
(those are mine personally by the way...)
And my all time favorite as I walked into an audition with two 20-somethings at the table. With my resume in her hand, the 20-something said "So, Susan, what have you done?"
I take my work very seriously. Myself, not so much. This business? It is what it is and we MUST laugh. I was at a point in my career where it didn't matter if I got this job. So my response: "Well, considering my career is probably older than you are, I am guessing more than you have!" MY RESUME IS IN YOUR HAND - READ IT!
Ridiculous. Laugh - BECAUSE YOU CAN!!!
WORK HARD. Develop your craft within an inch of your life. Know your worth, know your ability - DISCOVER YOUR REALITY. Be brutally honest with yourself or someone else will.
LAUGH HARD. PLAY HARD. Live your life.
Challenge yourself but challenge the business too. Find the laughables and laugh! Recognize what is real and what is ridiculous. Expose it through YOUR reality. Don't succumb to the stupidity but rise above it.
Opinions are simply opinions. Reality however is another thing...
If you lead with REAL, opinions matter less and less.
Work AND laugh. Realize AND be. Don't get sucked into the minutia of stupidity.
ENJOY YOUR DISCOVERIES and lead with your strengths. Laughter is a strength too...
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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