Gumption

I spent some time today, thinking about people and the choices we all make.

I live my life out there on the edge. I take chances. I put myself out there. Yes, it can be terrifying. The fear of failure…the fear of rejection…the fear of not being good enough.

Those are things that seem to paralyze people. I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had with people, and they talk about some elusive thing they want to do. My answer: “Go try it!”

And the person immediately backs away and says, “Oh…no, I can’t.”

That absolutely baffles me.

If you’ve always wanted to…play guitar, for example…then pick up a guitar and play. Hold it in your hands. You won’t be able to do anything at first. So, you learn one thing. Then you learn another. Then, if you keep trying and study and read books and talk to people and watch videos and LEARN…then you can do it.

But…for most people…they won’t even make the effort to try.

That is so sad. Why not try? What have you got to lose?

I think it’s better to try and fail, than to not try at all.

The other day I got a rejection letter from a theatre company, where I had submitted a play. My response: YES!

Because it means I am in the ball game, and I am trying. It doesn’t matter that they rejected my play. What matters is that I have a play ready to go, and I submitted it and I took the chance. Not every answer will be a no. You just have to keep going, until you get the answer you want.

I’ve spent some time thinking of these things, in relation to acting. This week, after a few months of production, we released a live action music video, with real actors and dancers, etc.

I’ve been an actor for awhile now. Built a good resume, and a (hopefully) good reputation.  (She shows up; doesn’t complain; obeys instructions, etc.) So, when I am a producer, I know some of what the actors are going through.

On this particular production…the actors were amazing. They were the best part of the whole project. They were good and talented and professional and fun to be with, and easy-going, and talented and…natural on camera.

So…for that to happen immediately…when I didn’t have to _ease_ anyone into the shoot…we captured that ‘good vibe’ on tape, and it came thru in the video.

But…when I look at these actors and the choices they make…yes, they are talented.

But? In the big picture? What is the difference between success and not-success?

When I think about it: the answer is: GUMPTION!

Does anyone even use that word anymore? I don’t hear it out in the world?? Perhaps it is a family word, that we use often.

For me…going out and networking…how many times have I had a conversation with someone…who wants to be an actor, and I hand them my card and say, “Email me your resume and headshot.”

That’s an easy task. And they DON’T DO IT! Why not take the opportunity? Why not? You have nothing to lose. But people, and it baffles me…do not follow through.

In this particular music video…the actors did follow thru. I met two of them at a playwright’s meeting earlier in the year. One of the actors took my card, and two months later…emailed me the resume and headshot…once the headshots were taken. That is what it takes. The follow through. Making someone remember you and behaving as if you are willing to talk to a producer in the future, to be considered for future roles in movies/videos. Another actor remembered me, and we’ve had a good email conversation for a few months. When I put out the casting call..he responded.

It’s because of that professionalism, and the willingness to “put yourself out there”, that this project came together. I’d be honored to work with any of these actors again.

So…if I were the betting type (and I am), I’d bet on THESE people being the ones to find success in acting. To tell the truth, I’d bet on them finding success in ANYTHING.

When an opportunity appears, most people hide or ignore it (or don’t even recognize it). It is those select few, who operate outside the norm…they are the ones who make opportunities for themselves. They are the ones who are more destined to find whatever it is that they are seeking.

I’m baffled, in my everyday life, when I mention something about my creative life (to a civilian) and they just stare at me. It’s like I’m speaking a different language. [I write songs! – for example. They  just stare.] They have no concept of the enormity of my creative life and how I nurture it, and how it means everything to me. I need this as much as I need oxygen. I can’t live a ‘normal’ life–however that might be defined.

I have letter magnets on my refrigerator. The main sentence they spell out:

PUT IT OUT THERE!

Maybe I need to have another word: Gumption.

From dictionary.com:

gump·tion

[guhmp-shuhn] Show IPA

noun Informal.

1.

initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness: With his gumption he’ll make a success of himself.
2.

courage; spunk; guts: It takes gumption to quit a high-paying job.
3.

common sense; shrewdness.
**
In other accomplishments…my writing partner and I, today, finalized our latest stageplay. This one has a song in it, and a dance number, so I have done some composing on the project. It’s a comedy, and we haven’t delved into comedy before…but it’s a hoot! I did a read-thru today, reading all the characters, in character -myself. I’m still laughing at the jokes and the way it plays. Sure hope that translates well on stage.
Response on the music video has been positive. Even with “gumption” and courage..I still was quite nervous to put it out there. What if the actors hated the way I edited them? But…mostly the ‘feeling’ of the ‘have fun’ vibe on the video shoot came thru.
Thanks to everyone for making this video project come to fruition. It’s a dream come true to have it out there.
Once it was released, I spent about a day feeling like I was wondering around blind, going “What in the world am I going to work on next?” Fear not…there’s always another project (or 14) on the horizon.
Peace.
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