Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, "certainly I can" - and get busy and find out how to do it.
One of the most courageous people I ever knew was an actor named Brett. I cast him in a small role for a Chekhov play I was directing. He did fine, but he wasn't much of a stage actor. However, he made a very good living as a commercial actor. One day he asked me if I would like to go with him while he made his rounds. I agreed.
We visited about 8 or 10 talent agencies during the day. He knew all the receptionists by name and some facts about them. So he chatted them up everywhere we went. Sometimes he would stop off at a deli and buy two coffees to go. When we got upstairs he would say that he had two but he only wanted one would she like the other one. Sometimes it was a doughnut. He had no trouble getting in to see an agent.
Later on that afternoon we visited one of the biggest commercial agents in New York. While we were waiting a woman came out and looked at us. She asked if either of us could ride a motorcycle. Brett said he could. She handed him a piece of paper and said to be at the address, 9 a. m. Tuesday for a commercial shoot. When we got downstairs Brett said he would see me next week but that he had to go. He had a buddy in New Jersey with a motorcycle and he had to get over there and learn how to drive it. And off he went.
One day when I was out of work an actor friend suggested I get some part time, temp work as a proofreader. I had never done that work but he set me up for a test at the law firm he worked for. I immediately went to the book store and bought a book on proofreading. I spent several days devouring that book and Monday morning I took the test. The supervisor was so impressed with my score that she hired me on the spot.
When I first went to work as a radio announcer I took an audition. There was an engineer recording me. I was hired and when I showed up for work they put me in a studio with no engineer. I had to be my own engineer. I didn't even know how to turn the microphone on. I figured it out and by the end of the first hour I was doing the show with no problems.
Another time I was with a Renaissance music group, the Aeolian Consort, playing basic bass notes on a cello, simple stuff. We were rehearsing at the directors house, He said that there was no need of the bass in one piece but there was an extra part for a tenor recorder. He handed me the recorder and the music. I went out into the garden with them and in fifteen minutes I had figured out the fingering and I was playing the piece. I had never played a tenor recorder before.
Out of necessity I've done many things I couldn't do or was told I couldn't do. The proper approach was that I did not tell myself I couldn't do them. We are all capable of more than we do. That's an old truism. But the only way to prove it is to try, Jump on the motorcycle, read the book, start playing the recorder and go on the air.
You don't know what your talents are until you use them. You never know what you can do until you do it.
DB - The Vagabond
Tomorrow: Inventing virtue
(This is not a contest.)
Given the resources and opportunity, what one thing do you want to do in 2010 that you've never done before.
You have all Winter to answer. Answers will be posted on the first day of Spring.
16 responses so far.