Archive for December 2013

Dream Big

Dream Big Star

With New Years just around the corner, I’ve been spending a lot of time evaluating my goals for 2014. Like many people, I’m promising myself a year of healthier living, bigger adventures, and stronger friendships.

But this year, I’m adding something a little different. I’m also promising myself a year of difficult decisions, unfamiliar situations, and sleepless nights. A year of discomfort and sacrifice.

Why would I possibly wish for these things? Well, I’m trying to be realistic about what’s required to fulfill my actual, much bigger goals. Within the next thirty days, I’ll be the founder and CEO of an online art collective, and I want to have a dozen artists on my platform by the time the ball drops again. By the following year, I want to do the same thing with photographers. I’ll also be starting an exciting new project with the Gold in Them Hills crew this Spring.

I know beyond a doubt that these goals won’t happen if I stay comfortable. Running an art collective requires putting yourself and your artwork in front of the world, and I have to be ready to face criticism. I’ll need to spend hours on the phone trying to convince people that my platform is worth their time, energy, and money. And I’ll have to be ready to face the thousands of tiny details that will inevitably find a way to the surface.

And I’m really excited to start.

I feel like my dreams have finally outgrown my fears, and I can now use fear as a fire under my feet. I know it’s going to be hard, but life isn’t supposed to be easy. I’m looking forward to the lessons I’ll learn, and I hope that I can help other people face their fears and set their own crazy resolutions. Until then, here’s to the New Year!

– Clark

The Head and the Heart

Brain FlowerThere’s a dirty little secret all counselors know. It’s the trick to counseling. But the funny thing is, knowing it won’t make the slightest difference to most people.

The head moves faster than the heart.

This is, in effect, what makes the counselor’s job easier than the client’s. A cognitive, intellectual understanding of a person’s problems is a lot easier than the present emotional experiencing of those problems. In other words, thinking about about a problem is one thing. Feeling it is another entirely.

I see it all the time with my own clients. They may be aware exactly what their problem is, and completely understand that what I’m trying to teach them would be helpful. And week after week they come back exactly the way they were when I first saw them. But, I keep trying to get to the “heart” of the problem, for one reason.

Until you know the problem in both the head and the heart, change is almost impossible.

Lucky for me, I’m finally at a point in my life where I can feel the ways in which I need to grow. Anyone that knows me (or has read my posts over the last couple of months) knows I’m the shy, awkward type. And for the first time in my life, I’m in a place where I can understand that both intellectually and emotionally. Because of that, I am gaining the humility to accept feedback, the patience to suffer growth, and the wisdom to know my limitations (I’m pretty sure I’m ripping off the serenity prayer, but hey, same principle applies).

Think about all the major roadblocks in your life, and the ones still around today. They won’t ever go away until you can say the same.

-Austin

This is the True Story…

Caterpillar

I remember the first time I saw an episode of Survivor. Someone ate a bug. After that a “tribe member” tried to turn everyone against each other. And an eleven-year-old me despaired. I had always wanted to play a character on TV. But, characters and plots had just been voted off the island. Dramatic storying telling was dying a painful death. And it would be gone long before I would ever get my shot in the biz.

12 years later, Reality TV is a massive industry that takes up hours of screen time, rakes in millions of dollars per episode plus millions more from merchandise, and there is no sign of it slowing down.

And is the best thing to happen to scripted storytelling in a generation.

The juggernaut of reality TV made producers, production companies and studio executives realize that they didn’t need to pay the high cost of union writers and actors in order to bring in viewers and make money. This pushed scripted TV out of the picture and dawned the age of reality TV.

But, as any of you who watch TV know, this didn’t last. And scripted TV is back with a vengeance.

Rather than roll over, writers and creators worked harder than ever to create quality content. Production companies sought out cable channels for original content. And premium movie channels produced some cinematic quality shows with big name stars. Budgets have been used creatively and seasons have been shortened to tell a higher quality story for less money.

The threat of reality TV made scripted TV the best it has every been. Everyone from AMC and TNT to Netflix and Amazon have gotten in game, giving us more amazing options than ever before.  And it has rippled out into every form of entertainment, making film and even theater production companies work harder to give you the viewer, the best entertainment possible.

What does this mean for for the kid who wanted to be on TV? Options. There is more Television being made today than ever before. I have more job opportunities in entertainment than I would have ever thought possible. And it’s all thanks to reality TV.

So thanks, Jersey Shore, The Simple Life and American Idol. Thanks to the biggest threat to my line of work to ever come along, I now have more options as an actor than at any other point in human history.

Put a Word on It

RedBalloon
When I first started writing for Gold in Them Hills, I had a hard time putting my ideas into short, concise sentences. It may not be obvious, but it used to take me at least 5 hours to write an entry, and that was after spending weeks thinking of ideas and approaches for each topic.

Today, it takes me about an hour to write a piece – maybe two if you count our super-secret editing process (hint: it involves monkeys and hand grenades). How did I get to this point? Well, I realized that putting words on a page actually helps me let go of my fears and anxieties.

You see, ideas are constantly floating above my head like a bunch of balloons. I can reach up and grab one, but in order to do so I have to ignore the others. As I result, I feel like I’m  constantly missing out on an idea that may be  better than my current one. It’s the reason I can’t sleep, it’s the reason I can’t clearly communicate,  and it’s the reason I lock myself in my house for 10 hours at a time and ignore my phone calls. If I feel like I’ve found a good idea, I’ll shut out everything in order to catch it. Unfortunately, this gets in the way of my personal and professional obligations.

When I write an idea down, my brain tells me “it’s okay, you don’t have to worry about forgetting this anymore”. It’s like tying a piece of string to a balloon and tying the other end to my wrist. I know exactly where the idea is if I need it, and I no longer need to worry about it floating away. This is a huge weight off my shoulders, and it lets me to focus on finding new new ideas instead of desperately grasping for old ones.

So, if you view writing as a chore, or think that it takes more time than it’s worth, I encourage you to try again with a fresh perspective. You may find that it’s exactly what you need to calm yourself down generate new ideas.