NOTE TO SELF

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You probably won’t remember this blog entry when it becomes most useful to you. And probably neither will I…


There’s something I’ve discovered about myself which gets more acute over time and that is, that I’m extremely impatient. That’s a benefit as well as a curse.

But because I get impatient, I get into a weird situation regarding work.


The cycle begins like this:

I get a lot of work, I’m in production, I’m not concerned in the least about generating new assignments, everything looks rosy… then of course at a certain point the work runs out and I find I now need to concentrate on promotion to generate more work.

I’m very familiar with that phase. That’s pretty easy. All part and parcel of being self-employed.

So, I get nice and busy and I PROMOTE, and soon bring myself to a point where that flow is reversed and I’m no longer worried or anxious about things, and it’s all going in the right direction, (OUT) and very soon something will respond and come IN.

Then…

THEN there comes a period when I have truly HAVE promoted enough and work SHOULD by rights be coming in… but as yet the lag of the physical universe is in effect and I find I am becalmed in that dreaded thing- a WAITING PERIOD.


I then have to ENDURE that waiting period. Which is hard.

So then, since I’m an impatient person, I get a little bit frustrated that all my promotion hasn’t had an impact INSTANTLY, resulting in jobs coming in. (My calendar is still bare.)

So then I get a little more anxious and do the only thing that makes sense to me: I promote MORE…

and THEN…


And THEN I go through a period, (which is really the period I wanted to draw your attention to) which is a kind of ennui, a kind of “it doesn’t matter anyway, I’ve tried everything I know and nothing has changed, therefore everything I know is wrong” (to quote the Firesign Theatre.)

But what I HAVEN’T recognized during that time where I was experiencing that ennui, was that the laws of the Physical universe were still in operation, but they were just not quite as impatient as I was.

And so, I don’t realize it, but it’s all about to hit me like a tidal wave, and the work that is about to come in, (now that I am in the depths of apathy about the whole thing) is going to present me with a LOT of problems, including that cliche: multiple jobs come in all wanting me to work the same DAY.

The day I was trying to fill maybe WEEKS ago. Back when I had nothing at all on the horizon.

And now the horizon is FULL of silhouettes of ships and vehicles and animals from strange lands…

All wanting ME. And no one else will do.

And so at that point I am faced with the emergency of having created a TIDAL WAVE of work that is really going to be challenging to pull off. And that becomes my problem.

But it’s a problem that I find much more delicious, and so it doesn’t really bother me nearly as much as NOT having anything to do and WAITING.

This cycle has happened to me so many times –just happened again, in fact– but I still get caught up in the sad, pathetic period before the deluge when I think my destiny is completely out of my hands and that I am a total loser.

Which turns out not necessarily to be true.

Maybe it’s happened to you.

 

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Published in: on May 15, 2014 at 9:52 pm  Comments (3)  
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ACCEPT IMITATIONS, A Beginner’s Guide to Performing Celebrity Impressions Chapter Five

SPEED OF DELIVERY

When you are developing a celebrity impression, or any character, one little thing to look at is speed of communication.

Not everyone speaks at the same rate, or processes information at the same speed.

Some personalities are as fast as a greyhound, others, as slow as a slug. Some, like Harold Camping, who famously predicted the end of the world in July and then again in October of 2011, are almost too slow to effectively imitate; no one will sit through the impression.

Sometimes that has to do with age or education, sometimes it’s just some factor resident in the personality of the individual themselves.

If you study early American movie stars, they generally have a much quicker rate of exchange in their communication than their modern counterparts. My theory is that Americans were in better shape physically and mentally back in the 1930’s and 40’s. They were more decisive and more used to dealing with others face to face than in modern times. They were more literate and relied less on automation to get things done. They were, arguably, more social.

Audiences, too were therefore more able to understand and absorb rapidly spoken language, as they too were more literate and educated than the audience of today.

There also might have been a financial consideration from the studios; they might have been guilty of trying to pack in the most dialogue in the smallest amount of time, to bring movies in at a little over an hour, so that more showings could be scheduled.

Who the Hell knows?

All I know is, listen to someone like Jimmy Cagney, Rosalind Russell or the blisteringly fast talking Noel Coward in films from that period, and then you try talking that fast.

It’s a challenge.

The only reason I bring it up is to get you to take a look at the speed at which your target celebrity delivers his or her dialogue. It will have everything to do with making your impression accurate.

Are they slow and methodical, like John Malkovich, or relatively rapid, like Martin Scorcese or Dennis Hopper? What is the general speed of that actor or character?

It’s sometimes easy to get excited onstage and whip through your voices quickly in your enthusiasm, but you might be missing a critical element in the rendition of that persona.

Break it down for yourself, compared to your own rate of speech, (and here you might do well to actually record yourself and see how quickly you talk compared to others– damn, I really hope you did that step back in Chapter Two) and see if that reveals anything to you.