Thursday, June 14, 2012

Discover Thyself

No matter how many goals you have achieved, you must set your sights on a higher one.

Jessica Savitch
Hello Stuart
In the early days of my acting career, when it became cold water obvious that I was not going to be an overnight sensation, with a Hollywood contract in my pocket too young to know what I had. I, at least, wanted to do more acting and less temp work. So one of the things I did was to keep a journal, a diary which recorded my experiences both working and trying to get work. One of the things I found was that it took me on average 10 auditions to get a job. "Well," I said in my boyish wisdom, "The answer is quite simple. Get more auditions."

That's not as easy as it sounds but I solved the problem by saying yes to everything. I went out for things I would have turned my talented nose up at, things I probably wasn't right for and things the heavy duty actors were trying out for. I was initially just trying to get more auditions but there were some surprising results.

For one thing I lowered the ratio to 6 or 7 auditions per job. And for another I was beginning to establish a reputation for myself so that even directors who didn't cast me would recommend me to other directors who did. Twice in my career I auditioned for someone who didn't cast me but then did a year later in a different production without an audition.

Gradually, as the years took their places on the string of my life and I was making a living as a performer, I began to think seriously about what entertainment was and how it fit in to the world of art. I knew other actors, of course, and singers, dancers and musicians, and we all had something in common. We were performing artists. That probably doesn't mean much to someone who isn't one, but to me it was very important.

From that level of acceptance I faced a vacuum. I needed to know more about art as a humble but cosmic adventure. So I began to take instructions in drawing and painting. I once described it as opening up a room in my house that I didn't know was there. I wish I could go back and learn sculpture and graphics. But I discovered myself as a painter

About 10 years ago I also began to write and now have written 2 novels, a bunch of short stories and this journal, Vagabond Journeys, which now has over 1,700 issues. I have discovered myself as a writer. And that is the point of this whole tome.

Some wise one said "If you keep doing the same thing, you'll keep getting the same result." It's alright to achieve success in some field and congratulate yourself for it. The reverse side of that coin is that your success has defined you, not just to the world outside, but also to yourself. And you will know that when you move on and "set your sights on" other levels of achievement and experience to reach for. Not only are we all capable of more than we do there is also more to us than we think there is. People are proving that every day.

Your achievements may make the papers, or strike you rich, but those are not what's important. Self discovery is what's important.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up


Jon said...

Self discovery is extremely important. Exploring every possibility is the only way to realize our many potentials, and especially to venture into the realms that we thought were unattainable. It is too easy to become stagnant and accept our imagined limitations.
The possibilities are limitless.....

Geo. said...

I know a young actor. I know a young costume designer too. I'm always astonished by their pluck, push and enterprise. I, see by your excellent description of your early career, they are part of a long tradition. Hard work, insecure and various, but focused on new possibilities of existence, a frontier. My admiration.

Arlene (AJ) said...

I agree if you keep setting goals for yourself, you'll be amazed at what more you can accomplish. It's when you give up reaching that you become stagnent and don't enjoylife and that's indeed a real waste of what one's life for sure. You should be proud of all the great accomplishments you've made in your life DB.

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