My first acting teacher, Mrs. Delvecchio, (a tiny Italian woman with a big personality) had a sign on her classroom wall that read, "Acting Is Doing." She also had a sign that read, "Show up on time, know your lines, and don’t bump into the furniture."
I, therefore, assumed in high school that acting meant doing what an actor does…he shows up on time, knows his lines, and doesn’t bump into the furniture.
In college, my professors expounded on the concept of "acting is doing" by teaching that an actor must do what the character would do…walk like he would, talk like he would, behave like he would. Now that I’ve been in Los Angeles for a few years pursuing acting professionally, I’ve come to realize that "acting is doing" also means doing exactly what Craig and I are doing with our pilot project…doing what it takes to create our own opportunities.
I ended last week’s blog by saying we’re making progress with our fundraising campaign for "Don’t Take This The Wrong Way," It was certainly true, and in many ways, we’re still making progress. But we’re also losing momentum now.
It’s been a tale of two halves since Craig’s been gone. The first half went extremely well and we were right on schedule. In fact, at one point, we were ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, the tides turned over this past week and not many contributions have come in. And thus, the second half of Craig’s time away has been challenging and frustrating, to say the least. But ebbs and flows are simply a part of the process. They are, of course, also a part of life.
Before our campaign began, I reached out to a mentor and friend of mine who is the creator of the one of the most successful shows in the history of American television. I asked him for any words of wisdom or advice he might have for the journey Craig and I were about to embark on. He was gracious enough to email me right back with essentially a blueprint for success:
"Passion -- for what you do. Hard work -- NO substitute for this. Focus- on one thing. Persist- thru failure, criticism, rejection, pressure. Push -- through failure, self-doubt. Serve -- others something of value."
He also said, "People don't do business with you because they need what you have, they do business with you because they BELIEVE what you BELIEVE!"
When it comes to talking about success, we’ve probably all heard or seen a list like this before. But it’s always good to be reminded. And it’s even better to be reminded by someone who fought his way to the top; someone who implemented these principals to persevere through many challenges and frustrations in his own remarkable journey.
I imagine people just love when an artist compares what they do to what an athlete does. Trust me, I sometimes laugh at myself for doing it. But there is a reason for the comparison. In fact, there’s a list of reasons. I won’t bore you with the entire list (those of you who hate sports may now take a collective sigh of relief), but I will name a few (you’re welcome to the sports-lovers out there).
Like the athlete, the artist must possess a certain amount of raw talent. This raw talent will only get a person (athlete or artist alike) so far. Therefore, like the athlete, the artist must also train and train hard. They must train physically, mentally, and emotionally. And like the athlete, the artist must be ready to perform to the very best of their ability whenever there’s an opportunity. It’s when preparation meets opportunity that success is achievable. Or another way of putting it is, "There’s nothing as beautiful as when talent meets skill." I can’t remember who said that, but I love it!
Craig and I do have raw talent. We’ve trained extremely hard to be the best we can possibly be, and we continue to training. We’ve done a lot to prepare for this amazing opportunity. Now it’s time to perform. The First Act went really well. To make the Second Act successful, we’re going to have to remain passionate, persistent, focused, and committed to working hard and serving others something of value. This is what we have to do. And I BELIEVE we can.
At the risk of sounding like a high school basketball coach (no offense to any coaches out there, nothing but love for you), I told our team, "This is the make it or break it point in a lot of campaigns. Let’s make sure we make it."
I BELIEVE we can. Craig and I agreed in the beginning of this that we will do everything we possibly can to make this a success -- no need for regrets. I BELIEVE we will.
Did Craig mention I’m an idealist!? What can I say? "Acting is doing." So is life. And we’re doing it.