Oddly, I clicked on two videos of Facebook that highlighted the POPE this AM… Hopefully they’re embedded below in the order I watched them. I find them horrifically comical in their contrast.
I’ve been a fan of this POPE, and honestly blame a country of loud mouthed, rabid, hypocrites that made me first become cynical, very early on, as a child, both doubting my family’s belief in Christianity, and leading me towards becoming an agnostic.
I love that people say what they believe, ONLY when they follow what they say.
Walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Go POPE.
Consider not only what you say that you believe, but what you say, actually believe, and demonstrate it in what you do, and how you live…
Now, watching poorly lit and poorly positioned video, recorded from a small, dated, point and shoot with an inferior internal microphone is nowhere near the same as being there LIVE in person… But we know not everyone can be at every performance… so…
Last night, talking with a friend, I offered a technique that has helped me last as long as I have in the Show Biz world of frustrations, rejections, broken promises, shattered dreams, fluff, bullshit, fake people, built up false hopes, unreturned phone calls, feelings of disrespect, not getting parts, people passing on my scripts, people letting me down, good auditions that didn’t result in jobs, and bad auditions that felt like they crushed my soul…
Now, whether or not I developed this technique on my own, or I borrowed, learned, stole, or adapted some part of it from one, or a variety of classes I took, books I read, or series of various cassette tapes I listened to during my years selling pharmaceuticals or during my early acting days, I don’t know, I only know that twenty plus years ago, it greatly helped me move beyond things that were in my past, both recent and distant, and help me create tools to “let go” easier.
As silly as this may sound, and as ridiculous & insane as I may have looked doing it walking down sidewalks in Manhattan, I can remember the exact street I was on when I first tried this technique. I was dressed in cool weather clothes, walking in the sun, on the South side of 23rd Street, slogging Westward, towards 5th, the Flat Iron Building & Madison Square Park. I can’t remember what rejection, acting job, or phone call that I wasn’t getting that I was obsessing over… But it was just one more broken dream piled on top of a huge stack of NOs that were weighing me down, and I was at a point of bending back the breaking point, from feelings of heartbreak, being punched in the metaphorical guts, and perceived defeats…
At that very instant it hit me, I decided I would give myself one solid minute to obsess about whatever I was obsessing over, and for one, exact, timed, sixty seconds, I would allow myself every permission, every ugly thought, every crazy fantasy, delusional drama, crude curse word, everything I could think of that had anything to do with whatever one particular thought I couldn’t let go of. For one minute I could curse out the people involved, blissfully consider how my life would change if the phone rang, dream of who would be on the other end, how stupid a particular person was for not choosing me or calling, how much of a victim of circumstance I had been… Whatever… No rules… No censorship… No apologies… Anything that came to my mind was permitted and encouraged… And all this as I was walking in full view of the passing public… At the same time I forced myself to tense EVERY SINGLE MUSCLE I COULD, as those thoughts flew through my mind, holding on to everything that surrounded that obsession, as tight as I could.
When the minute passed, and my body and mind had both been worked, once again I’d look at the watch on my wrist… I gave myself 30 seconds to let everything go, before I made myself DO IT ALL AGAIN. However, this time it would be for half the amount of time… After 30 seconds, I had to tense my muscles up again, gripping and holding, for 30 seconds, once again thinking of every single thing I was obsessing about, with that one particular issue I was stuck on… I could repeat things that came up during the 60 second silent rant, explore ideas and thoughts further, rant on things I discovered in the 30 break, mention things I forgot in the 60, or come up with new crap that just popped into my head in the moment.
At the end of those 30 tense nutty moments, I gave myself another short period to relax… But after about 30 seconds, I’d split the time again, giving myself only 15 seconds, tense up, grip, hold, after getting clear and specific on what I wanted to obsess over. Another short break, 30 seconds or so, I’d split the time again, 7 seconds, to hold on to and obsess over… By the time you get to 3 seconds you only have time for one thought while tensed up… And at one second it’s pretty much only a singular feeling that you’re able to obsess over and let go of.
I loved the results so much that I used it many times afterwards, and still, to this day, though I’m able to move past things much quicker, and I’ve found other techniques, I occasionally find myself employing a mutated version of the gripping obsessing technique. And if there has ever been a singular issue I wasn’t able to move past by using the TIMED TENSION method, I would simply repeat it, starting back at one minute, and again, each time splitting the time in half, till I got back down to 1 second.
I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this publicly before, and perhaps you’ll find my silly, simple technique hilarious or worthless… But if it helps even one of you get over one singular thing… And move on to a more creative, positive moment afterwards, then perhaps it was worth the time in me writing it down and sharing.
It’s getting off the mat when we’re knocked down and no one seems to be routing for us that’s equally as important to having a dream and believing in your talent.
I won’t go into specifics about a most recent issue, because first, I like everyone involved, on all sides. Second, I don’t know all the facts at this point. And third, and it would be to no one’s benefit for any specifics to be made public. However, I’m writing this particular post to once again explain the reason why unions are so needed, and why it’s so important for all professional actors to become union members, and then act in solidarity, to keep the union strong.
Something has gone sideways in a project that employed my acting services in the past, apparently payments are behind, and now other issues are being addressed. The great thing is that my union has reps addressing, handling, researching, and chasing everything that needs to be chased down.
Now, this is not the first time my unions have acted on my behalf, or on behalf of other actors I’ve worked with. They’ve chased down payments on commercials from big respected national companies, and they’ve, of course, negotiated strong, standard contracts, which I’ve worked within for over twenty years.
Work a day or two on a set as a non-union actor, along side union actors, and often you’ll find the benefit of those collective agreements, and why so many look forward to getting their card. I have had medical insurance, and it won’t be so long from now that I’ll be looking at collecting my pension.
Some of you may know this story already: My first professional TV job as an actor, before I was in any of the unions… I was hired to play a super hero, and for twelve weekends, fly to different cities, to shoot an episode at different stadiums. I believe it was eight of us that were employed as actor/writers, and we were hired in part to come up with our own dialogue on the spot, based on stuff we self-generated and a writer’s thin scenarios. After we flew out of New York City, and arrived at our swanky hotel a thousand miles away, the producer came to us with our contracts… The contracts offered us far less than what we were all told before we accepted the offer of employment, days before we got on the plane.
Smartly, the eight of us acted in solidarity, demanding time to discuss amongst ourselves, and refused to sign anything without bargaining as a collective. This was before emails and text messages, so it was really eight people’s words against the producers what we had been told… However, proudly, the eight of us held firm to what the deal was, agreeing that we’d all walk if we didn’t get what we were initially told.
After many tense hours, the producer suddenly remembered the original deal, and we got what we were promised, never asking for anything more. Twelve weeks turned into sixteen weeks, swanky hotels turned into mediocre hotels, limos turned into gypsy cabs, we were put in positions that weren’t always safe, comfortable, and something’s had nothing to do with acting or writing. However, as actor/writers we all did our best, went in positive, and rolled with it, until things would go way above and beyond.
The show never went any where because allegedly that same producer, that had trouble remembering what he told people he promised to pay them, was embezzling funds from the executive producer. Allegedly, inflating production costs, and then allegedly, spending very little actual money… He’d, allegedly, say he rented a complete lighting package, and on set there would be one little 3″ Fresnel, an inky.
The whole thing ended up with only one episode of sixteen, roughly cut together, that I have never seen, court papers filed, and settlements out of court, after much stress. Let me tell you, to have a union behind you, professionals working for you… That’s a much better deal.
Though I was fortunate to work on two different films last week (Watch The Sky & White Fang), this post is about an entirely different kind of bread.
One of my friend’s has a brother who works as an apprentice for a bread maker in Silver Lake/Los Feliz… He prepares and bakes the bread out of his home, and apparently he has been voted one of America’s top ten bread makers.
Here’s the skinny: Apparently three times a week he bakes bread. If you want it on Saturday… You email your bread order before Thursday, then on Saturday morning you get a text when it’s ready, and you finish by picking the bread up in a basket on his porch (and dropping your payment in his mailbox). Or you can get it at various local shops…
Honestly, I’ve been looking forward to this AM since I placed my order Wednesday night…
My girlfriend and I found his home, and snapped a few pictures… Both delighted by the experience, the weight of the bread, the crispness, and the heat emanating from the brown paper bag which had my name written on it. We shared slices of our loaf of sourdough rye with my neighbor and my house cleaner and the four of us all relished the flavor, texture and freshness.
Each slice was like a meal in itself.
Experiencing local flavors has always been one of my favorite joys in life, whether it’s in other countries, or even just down the block. Are there places in your town, that if friends/I were to visit, you would steer us/me towards?
Happy to be performing a song at Rockwell Table and Stage, in the next Up With A Twist… Always a fun night with a variety of singers and moments to remember… Hopefully Deirdre and I will crush it as we break in a BRAND NEW MASHUP.