Archive for November 2013

Life in the Johari Window

Johari WindowIt’s funny. Ever since I started asking people about my blind spots they’ve been telling me about them. Bastards.

Life never comes at you from the direction you’d expect. All my fears and things I never wanted people to find out about me? Perfectly fine with them. But all those things I do automatically because I never thought to do them differently?

In those gaps are the roadblocks keeping you from being truly whole.

Even now, I’m scared to share the things about myself that people keep saying aren’t a big deal. I’m geeky (as if the blog didn’t give that away), I’m selfish, I bore easily, and I withdraw from things more often than I face them head on. The funny thing?

These all contribute to the things people love most about me.

I’m geeky and I bore easily, so the things I do love I love intensely. I’m selfish and I withdraw, so my own knowledge of my own inner workings gives me a wisdom beyond my years. I don’t face things head on often, but when I do, I end up making change, real change. Like now, for instance.

But the things that almost damned me were the things I didn’t even think of.

I keep things to myself. I tend to underplay emotions. I set most of my goals around the expectations of others. Perhaps worst of all, I don’t listen to the things inside me that tell me when I’m struggling.

For the first time in years, my head and my gut agree on where I am and what I want to become. I’m struggling where I’m at right now, and that’s fine. But to struggle alone and deny who I am in those struggles? That’s the blind spot I have to change.

A Fatal Flaw

PopcornThere are many negative stereotypes when it comes to actors. They are loud, attention grubbing, overly dramatic, etc. But of all the bad things that could be said there is one, that for my generation of actors I find the worst, and sadly, the most accurate.

We are, as a group, overwhelmingly lazy.

There is an entitled nature for so many young actors. Too many of my peers have a problem with expectations versus reality. Many expect a fairy godmother casting director is going to make all thier dreams come true, because they are special.

Too many of us have done enough shows to feel like a hot shot in our town, come to this city, go to a Broadway audition, and just expect that we end up at the Tonys with a gold trophy. And all this will happen without an ounce of sweat.

While we do hear stories of people who were cast in a movie off the street based solely on their looks: or the tale of the girl who nails her first Broadway audition, and becomes a star. This exception has become the rule in the heads of many young actors. And when it doesn’t work out, they feel cheated.

Our generation was told we are special. Our parents and teachers and whoever else have told us all that we can do great things, which is true, but only half the story.

Working on your craft, your body, your voice and being prepared to go after any job. This makes a professional actor, not a wish on a star.

My peers, both in age and industry, are either ignorant of the world or have a phobia of hard work. Whatever the case, it seems to be a problem in many fields and many places, but the solution is very simple.

Start working hard.


Basic Shapes


Earlier this month, I bought a book called “Figure Drawing: For All It’s Worth” by the great Andrew Loomis. The book was written in the 1940’s, but I found the writing to be surprisingly modern and easy to follow.

The most important thing I’ve learned from the book (admittedly, I’m only a few chapters in) is that everything is made of shapes. A human is just two cubes with some spheres sticking out, and a dinosaur is just circles with teeth. At the end of the day, even the most beautiful, intricate drawing is just a bunch of lines and shapes.

This is an incredibly important concept for artists to understand, but I feel like there’s a lesson here that can be applied to every profession. As someone who tends to over-think everything, I have a hard time breaking complex drawings into basic shapes, and an even harder time breaking large goals into smaller steps. As a result, I get intimidated by the size of my dreams and retreat to something more familiar.

Drawing doesn’t give me that luxury. When there’s a pencil in my hand and a reference drawing on my desk, there’s no way I can cheat, no way I can outsmart the pencil or the pad of paper — I can only draw one line at a time.  It’s frustrating. It’s humbling. It’s personal growth in it’s most basic form. And it’s beautiful.

Now that I’m experiencing the process in such an obvious way, I’m finally starting to see my goals for what they are – a bunch of small, simple tasks.  My dreams are possible, and so are yours, we just have to learn the shapes of this world and face our fears one line at a time.

– Clark