Monday, December 5, 2011

Your Own You

Whatever one's role in life is, we all have our own particular style, our own particular character.

Jim Capaldi
Hello Rose
There is always a narrative involved, always a story. Whether it is a painting, a sculpture, a symphony, a song, a novel, a legal document, an essay in a scientific journal. a play or a life, there is always a story involved.

Some people tend to tell their life stories, in bits and pieces, by writing it out in their blogs. I had a conversation today with someone who mentioned a man she knew who said that he thought a second person, disinterested or not, should edit our blogs. Well, I thought, that might not be a bad idea if you are unsure of things like spelling and grammar. But if someone takes it upon themselves to be editor and critic of my blog I'm going to say "Mind your own business."

I enjoy reading other people's blogs because they are all different. Every one has a style and purpose of it's own. The character and personality of the blogger makes it what it is, and any editor should take that into consideration if they are called upon to read and make corrections or suggest changes.

The world is full of critics. Everyone, it seems, is a critic. Some people actually make a living as critics. Most of them, alas, do more harm than good. New York City critics are infamous for destroying a perfectly good show or gallery exhibit by doing nothing more than expressing an opinion. The artists, hopefully, will survive it, many don't. But the critic will generally be forgotten. The composer Jean Sibelius put it succinctly when he wrote "There has never been set up a statue in honor of a critic."

Critics love to analyze artists. 99.99% of the time they don't really know what they are seeing or hearing. Actors are particularly vulnerable to that kind of misplaced energy because it is the actor's own person that is the canvas, the musical instrument that is being played. The actor is the one upon whom the story is being told. And a good actor never forgets that. His first obligation as an artist is to tell the story.

Those who observe and comment on actors come in three types: those who are helpful, those who are abusive and those who seem satisfied. The helpful ones are those who can make good suggestions because they can recognize what the actor is doing and how to enhance it. Those who are abusive are usually the most ignorant ones.

I ran into one of those idiots in a directing class at a major New York City film school. I played a scene for the class and after it he immediately began tearing apart what I was doing. It was a directing class but he was trying to teach me acting. I had been an actor for many years.

What he couldn't understand was that as an actor I had made a choice and was acting on that choice (and doing it well, let me humbly add). If he didn't like the choice then as a director he could ask for a different choice or suggest one. I had worked with many good directors in my day. That man was not one of them. I pitied the kids in the class. He wasn't teaching them to properly direct a scene. He was teaching them how to abuse actors.

No two actors will play a scene the same way. The important thing is to get the story told. I can't live your life, and you can't live mine. We both have our stories, and how we tell them is what makes us unique in personality, character and style. That uniqueness should be respected, and not abused.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never give up.
With the holidays coming up I'm going to risk it all and ask for some guest bloggers to enter my journal with special thoughts on the holidays. So be thinking about it. Beginning tomorrow I'll state the specifics. Admission is free. All are welcome.


pacifica62 said...

A second person editing blogs? To me that smells of censorship and far as I know we are supposed to have freedom of speech.

Valerie said...

I would hate a someone editing blogs in any way. This was a great post, Dana. You piqued my interest in guest bloggin about the holidays. I will be back tomorrow to hear about the specifics. You have a great week and Merry Christmas!!

Valerie said...

Guest bloggin'. I sound like a hick. LOL I need to proof-read before I hit publish. LOL Hugs!