Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trust : Doing

I've not written here in a personal vein of late--1) now that I've passed through the major portion of my formal training, I'm less interested in meta-explorations of process and more interested in just getting to work, and 2) I'm more aware than ever before that a blog is a professional document, which may--almost inevitably will--be read by potential employers, and there are oh-so-many ways to open ones' self to misunderstanding. But, it only occurred to me yesterday that my unwillingness to be as forthcoming as I've been in the past is symptomatic of a feeling that I'd only begun to have in grad school, and is in full bloom, now: a feeling of fear to extend professional trust, in general.

The theater and entertainment worlds are particularly dishy, and engender terrific insecurity in creative individuals who are, of course, turning their souls inside out in the expectations that the loose spiritual change, old gummy bears, love notes and lint they find among the nooks and crannies within will be worth something in the marketplace, which is not a little barbaric. But, I doubt that the real backbiting and competition are any more intense in theater and entertainment than they are in any other competitive field--e.g., Wall Street traders are not a gentle bunch. Theater/entertainment people must rely upon one another's good will and/or mutual self-interest just as much, and I'm assuming no more, than in any other field. It is essential for anyone in theater not only to construct and nurture networks (a mixed metaphor, but both terms are apt), but also to trust those networks--and the individuals within them--one has gone to the trouble of constructing and nurturing. I find that I have more trouble doing so than I would have expected of myself. Sometimes, I have good cause to wonder about a colleague's intentions, but far more often than not, I do not. Of course, the most obvious proximate cause to a temptation to 'doubt' is not being fully-employed. Actors live gig-to-gig. When in the middle of a gig, I find my temptation to doubt others ebbs away. When I'm between gigs, the temptation flows.

A few years ago I nipped in the bud a habit which may be corollary: to blame my acting partners on stage when I'm fearful my own work isn't good. It's a habit I've seen in others, and it's ugly, so I'm glad I have worked hard not to indulge it. Now, I must also make sure I don't 'blame' my networks and individual contacts for my own fear of not working.

I'm most probably experiencing fears and temptations that many people experience, in their early career, in any field. But the last time I ventured to 'crack' a profession I was going into education, and I found trusting more easy to do, probably because I found teaching to be relatively easy and completely trusted myself as having something compelling to offer, e.g., I trusted my taste in literature and instincts as a writing coach. I've had to work harder to become as good an actor as I was a teacher... a thought, of course, that brings me to this:

Whenever I feel myself doubting others, look for the source of projection in myself, and do the only thing worth doing:

Throw myself into the work.

Jan Powell gave me great advice a few months ago: that, when I find myself in a new city, with too little paying work on the horizon, make your own work. So, in essence, all of this post may be read as the back story for the post below, "To Do List," the emphasis being on "Do."

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