I heard Dr. Gordon Neufeld talk about the importance of play in childhood development. He said the difference between work and play is simple:
Work is about enjoying the end result.
Play is about enjoying the activity itself.
When an artist plays with an idea, he looks at it from every angle, not to get it done, but from sheer enjoyment. He explores all of its possibilities like a child playing in a sandbox. And through play, the artist develops her idea into something masterful.
When an artist merely works on an idea, she stifles the creative process in a rush to the finish line.
The artists responsibility is to take play very seriously.
I have played with an idea in my mind for the last 5 years. It is a short film –sweet, touching, funny– awkward boy meets beautiful girl… I have watched this movie in my mind’s eye about a hundred times. And now I feel ready to work!
You have to eat a mango when it’s ripe. A day too early and the meat is tough. A day too late and its all mushy. It’s like that with ideas too. If you try to make it happen too fast, it doesn’t have a chance to ripen. If you play with an idea for too long, it goes rotten.
Do you have an idea kicking around in your head? My advice to you is play, play play… and then work, work work!
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I just had a dream that I was playing floor hockey with John Lennon. And I won.
I don’t need a technicolour dream coat to tell me what this means…
Or maybe I do. What do you think that means?
I should mention that I didn’t just win… I was running circles around the guy. I actually tried to let him catch up to me because I felt bad for him. The only move he had was a decent poke check.
I’m not even that good at floor hockey. But compared to John Lennon, I was like Disney Stars on Ice. And he was like Napoleon Dynamite on acid.
I totally respect how John Lennon changed the face of music forever… but when it comes to floor hockey, I just ate his lunch and popped the bag.
Today I had an audition for a voiceover commercial. Voiceovers are great because you don’t have to worry about how you look. You can be droopy eyed and ugly jean’d and the microphone will still love you. This particular gig was easy because it was only one line. But I have learned- there are no small parts, only small actors. I walked into the studio determined not to be a small actor.
I slipped the headphones on, adjusted the microphone for my height and we got down to business. I delivered the line a few different ways, varying my pitch and tone to show them my range. The director stopped me after take three.
“Can you sound more black?” He asked.
Now that is ironic. I just finished shooting a documentary film about race and identity and this seemed like a scene from the film. “What does black sound like?” I wondered. I decided to play along. I did the line two more times and apparently I got it wrong because the director said, “Try grabbing your balls as you say it.”
I burst out laughing and said, “No one has ever given me a note like that.”
“Yeah!” he said, “That sounds black. Do it like that. We’re rolling.”
I was baffled. I didn’t know whether to be amused at this poor guy’s ignorance, or offended at his idea of black culture. We did it a few more times and then he said what directors say when you don’t get the part:
“OK we got lots here. Thank you.”
I left with a smile on my face. Why oh why did I not have a camera with me today?
I’m still baffled… should I be amused or offended?