Friday, April 27, 2007

It May Not Be Your Passion If:

#2 - You and your passion have a long distance relationship (and you aren't willing to move).

I thought I wanted to be a screenwriter. I wrote plays for 7 years, and even had one produced in Los Angeles. I met actors I'd seen on television, now playing the roles I wrote. It was all very exciting. So I started writing screenplays. But I live in DC. I briefly considered moving to LA - I even spent some time there, getting my bearings, seeing what it's like..

Trouble was, I REALLY didn't like it. I remember looking at the Hollywood Hills one evening, at the lights coming on in the cliff-dwelling homes, and I thought "I don't want that."

In my DC neighborhood, I walk to work, the gym, grocery stores, restaurants. In LA, I'd have to drive. In DC, I leave my house a few minutes before I have to be just about anywhere. In LA, I'd have to leave my apartment maybe an hour beforehand, and figure out the shortest drive to where I wanted to go. In DC, I have all this extra time, given to me because I don't have to commute. In LA, it would be all about the commute.

For a screenwriter, it's also all about the networking. In Hollywood. Not in DC. And it's really difficult if you're not living in LA.

Not that you have to move to where your passion resides, if it's geographically important. But I've found that distance can be a critical factor in deciding what I want to do with my life.

And I'm still living in DC.

Read Part 1: You're in love with the idea of your passion, but you can't stand the component parts.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

It May Not Be Your Passion If:

#1 - You're in love with the idea of your passion, but you can't stand the component parts.

For years I've heard "do what you love," and "follow your bliss," and "find your passion."

But what's my passion? What happens if it changes? How do I know if I should quit and do something else?

I've thought about those questions - over and over. And I've come up with some ways to measure for myself whether or not what I'm doing is REALLY what I want to do. Hence, #1: It may not be your "passion" if: You're in love with the idea of your passion, but you can't stand the component parts.

No matter what you do, no matter how exciting your passion may be, there are going to be portions of it that aren't all that interesting. Still, they shouldn't grind you down. I believe that you don't have to absolutely love everything about your dream, but those "grunt work" parts should still do something for you. Let's say mountain biking is your passion. What are the component parts? Well, you have to know about the bike's technical aspects (how much air in the tires, what type of tire for what terrain, what the bike's made of), along with safety concerns (types of helmets, other protective clothing and accessories), and where to ride (what time of year is the best, how crowded is it, how long does it take to get there.) If you say you love love love mountain biking, but bikes and fitness and terrains just bore you to tears, that may be telling you something.

I'll be posting these from time to time, and when I get to the last one, I'll include the entire list. I've come up with fifteen of these statements... who knows how long this will take!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

There Comes One Of Them Now!
Turner Classic Movies is running a Guest Programmer contest. All you need to do is create a short video explaining why you should be chosen as Guest Programmer for an evening of movies on TCM and you might just win. Funny how they don't ask you what movies you'd pick. So I've gone ahead and NOT produced a video, and selected the movies I'd screen if I was chosen:

Monday, April 23, 2007

It's About Joy
Fascinating article in Sunday's New York Times (titled "Seeking Fans, Ballet Scrambles for a Killer App") about the role of ballet in modern American culture, and the financial/artistic struggles of ballet companies in New York City and across the country. The article lists the usual tactics arts institutions employ to bring in audiences: "Girls Night Out" at the New York City Ballet, offering dessert and "girl talk" with ballerinas; newly-minted ballets featuring tried-and-true stories from other media like "Peter Pan" and "Dracula." I say "usual" because I read about this kind of thing all the time. Instead of trying to understand how to appeal to the customer when the customer says "I don't like or need what you offer," the institutions merely ape popular culture, and nobody wins.

But a quote by Italian choreographer Luca Veggeti really set my head spinning: “You have companies saying, ‘We have to do Peter Pan and Dracula,’ ” he added, laughing. “What is the point? You’re not like a TV program. You’re supposed to raise the cultural level of your audience."

I have never
gone to any artistic performance to raise my cultural level.

I have always gone because I wanted to see something amazing, hear something incredible, or experience something transforming.


I went to school for that.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

While My Guitar Gently Weeps
The Washington Post story DC's commuters ignoring virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell as he played his rarified Stradivarius in the DC Metro during morning rush hour has generated much silliness among the online marketing pundits. I say "silliness" because, the way they're carrying on, you'd think this was a rigorous scientific experiment.

But it wasn't. It was merely a guy playing a violin in the subway. Something we've all seen before.

I'd like to see the experiment repeated, this time with P Diddy, Jennifer Lopez, or Clay Aiken doing some platform performing at 7:30 am. I think the results would be quite different. I bet there'd be a dangerous crush of people, and rush hour would slam to a halt.