Thought of the day:
Lists are useful. Lists keep me sane. Every day I make a list of all the things I need to do and schedule them. And when by the end of the day every item is ticked I’m extremely satisfied.
Yes, it is possible. All it needs is realistic expectations and time keeping.
People often ask me how I manage to earn a fairly adequate living by being an actor and voice talent with an adversion to early mornings, and the answer is lists. If you look at your goals and expectations as a “whole” they look like a mountain you’ll never be able to conquer. But if you organise them in tidy daily tasks, the mountain becomes just a series of steps. One at a day…
I know I sound like a silly self help book and I apologise, I hate easy counselling, life coaching and quick fixes. And I’m not saying look at me, how fab I am, it’s not what I’m about.
HOWEVER, I’m tired with this silly myth that in order to be an artist one has to me messy, undisciplined, “spontaneous”. The implication being obviously that if you manage to have a decent life you’re probably faking it, because talent comes at a price and that price is craziness, social awkwardness and destitution.
Rubbish. That price is discipline. Your life is your choice. We could work in an office 9-5 but we chose not to. Blaming the unruliness of our crazy talent for our red bank account won’t get us any sympathy. The raising unemployment figures europe-wide depend on economics, social policies (or lack of) and politics. The average unknown actors’ frustration with their life doesn’t.
Most actors I know unfortunately are so chronically disorganised and egotistic they’d rather believe their destitute state is a proof of their artistic temperament rather than start rationalising their lives.
And don’t get me wrong, I haven’t turned into a right wing capitalist here. I still think art should be subsidised and helped, that artists should be encouraged and placed in the condition to work without distraction. But while we wait for society to change and acknowledge our existence, we can do something more edifying than just scraping by, struggling and accumulating debts in the name of our wild talent…
Living imitating Van Gogh or Baudelaire won’t guarantee any glory, only poor health. Their way of living isn’t the only way of being artists, free thinkers, anti-conformist, but their myth still exist. Why? Because it’s easier and terribly self complacent. But being hippie is far from revolutionary, guys. Floating by pretending not to have a choice is in fact a very privileged choice.
And to be fair, artists arent the only ones affected by this way of thinking.
Middle class stay at home mothers for instance fall into the same trap. They don’t work, they should theoretically be able to organise their days and their kids in the way the most befits them, instead they are always rushing around, forgetting things, being late, leaving behind a trail of toys, organic milk and soy pasta… Why can’t they schedule their days in a realistic way and stick to their plans?
I think the word REALISTIC is the key. Middle class mothers, like actors, have a totally unrealistic sense of what they can achieve in one day. They refuse to plan because they fancy themselves as bohemian. So they get excited with this million things they want to do, projects, appointments, courses, not admitting that they will NEVER be able to accomplish even half of them.
Result: they get frustrated and depressed.
So let’s make lists.
Lists are beautiful. Lists give you hope when you’re falling down. If you don’t itemise there’s no start or finish to your day, your life is a continuum in which you stumble about hoping done day to find your way. But lists show you a light at the end of the tunnel. And when you get to the other side, after ticking off all those items, you feel damn good.
At that point, you can relax, get drunk, stoned, angry, depressed, or just watch The Good Wife on the sofa with a plate of pasta on your lap.