May 29 – There’s always tomorrow.
So here is something I’ve learned about being an actor. It’s not good to be a procrastinator and be an actor.
Should seem obvious, but it took me a while to catch on. First of all, I shall admit that I am a procrastinator, and a fairly skilled one at that. I have pretty much managed to get through my life knowing how long I could get away with postponing something. Then running around frantically doing whatever it was I had to do at the last minute, cursing myself, that if I had done this earlier I wouldn’t be all stressed out.
I think I learned this in school as a kid. I was smart enough to figure out what I needed to do to pass a class, and that’s pretty much all I did, and generally waited until the last moment to do it. This sort of method, while stressful, lends itself to a more academic and paper writing, test-taking environment. Not so much the performance world.
Because let’s face it. It’s hard to memorize a bunch of text in a short amount of time. I find for myself this is done best in short bursts over a longer period of time, rather than trying to cram everything in at once. It doesn’t stick very well, and the brain has trouble processing it all.
Then of course, anyone who has done a play or a scene realizes that you can always use more time to work on it. Eventually you just have to go as is, but there is a certain amount of groundwork that needs to be done, or it just comes off as crap.
So here is my problem. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator, in fact at this moment I’m writing in my blog instead of doing my play research, and even this blog post was delayed several days, while I browsed the internet for useless widgets and weight loss miracles. How do I get over this and start working on my acting preps that I’ve posted about before?
I have to day dream my character’s life and relationships. I have to read the play and mine it for statements about my character. I have to analyze my scene for beats, and actions, and triggers, and blah blah blah. Somehow I find time not to do it, and then, of course, I stress out about not being prepared enough. Why?
It’s that line about insanity is doing something the same way over and over again and expecting a different result. My job is to figure out how to break this habit of procrastinating, because I want to do a good job. There’s enough crappy acting out there, I don’t need to add to the pile.
Anyway, if anyone has suggestions, let me know.