Am I there yet?
Am I a master yet? Am I brilliant yet? Am I … in reference to my last post… perfect, yet?
If so, THEN i’m ready to present myself. Then I can put what’s on the inside on the outside. Then I will share.
Doesn’t work that way.
Sure I can delude myself into thinking I’m brilliant. Act like I’m the best. Ignorance is a great substitute for self confidence… for a while. In fact, in the beginning it’s necessary. If I didn’t think I was god’s gift to actors when I began my career I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do anything. Why? Because I hadn’t worked at it yet. I had no experience. How can I be expected to have experience on my first job? I can’t. So my expectations were low, and because I booked a job, my confidence was high, so I must be brilliant naturally: I’m free to do whatever I want.
But eventually the artist becomes conscious. I became conscious. This is when ignorance replacing confidence stops working.
It’s like the coyote chasing the road runner off the end of the cliff, for a while the laws of gravity don’t apply to him, because he’s ignorant of the fact that he is standing on thin air over a canyon. – I’m going to catch him! I’m the coyote! – I don’t need to work at this! I’m brilliant! … Oh wait, I only thought I was brilliant, I’m not actually brilliant yet, brilliance takes a couple decades of work to achieve, it’s impossible to be as good as I think I am, I’m still a work in progress with flaws… and down I go.
But I still need that confidence. I still need a level of arrogance to be able to walk into an audition room and say, “I’m worthy of this role.” That’s still necessary to do my job. So if I’m conscious now, and aware that I’m not yet as brilliant as I wish I was, and I’m aware of the work it takes to become that actor, where is my confidence coming from?… I must get my confidence in the midst of the pursuit of it, and the humility of not needing to be there yet.
This is where love comes in. The love of doing it takes over the need to be brilliant.
In a way, I must walk in and go… Look how NOT brilliant I am right now… but look how much I don’t give a shit that it isn’t genius yet. Look how much I am okay with sharing with you exactly where I am in my process right now, flaws and all, because this is how much I LOVE doing this.
It’s an expression of love to be an artist. A lot like being in love in a relationship with another person. I can’t wait to be a perfect person to be in love. Or to date someone. I also can’t wait for my partner to be perfect to love them, or commit to them. I love them so much I’m willing to reveal my flaws to them, and hope they love me anyway, and in turn I accept their flaws. Equally as much I need to love myself, and my work, even though I am a flawed person and artist.
I have an audition today. I can’t go in the perfect actor, but I can go in the actor who loves doing this so much, I’m willing to risk showing you how not brilliant I really am… And it’s in the doing that, that a little brilliance leaks out now and then.
p.s. Similar to this post, I wrote an article in Toronto’s INTERMISSION magazine on the phenomenon of brilliant child actors. Check it out here: http://intermissionmagazine.ca/artist-perspective/to-begin-to-master/