Sunday, June 30, 2013

Work it Out.


I am sitting here watching the opening to Beyoncé's I Am...World Tour and am just speechless. One because I am going to be seeing The Mrs. Carter World Tour in less than a month and two I am continually in awe of the dedication to her work. Over the past few months, I have watched her HBO special Life is but a Dream a few times and was continually blown away by her work ethic and sheer perfectionism in her performances.

Now, some of you are probably wondering; "Whoa whats with the Beyoncé kick?"

I am gettin' to it.

She gives herself over to everything that she does, every fibre of her being is left out on that stage after she does a show. You may be saying, "Uh...Yeah, that's her job isn't it. To entertain?" And I would reply, "Yes. It is." In my opinion she is one of the best performers of our generation, lyrically her songs aren't the deepest, and are usually about having sex with Jay Z, but it is her showmanship that makes her tours and live performances what they are. She will spend hours in the studio perfecting every dance move to the point where she outdoes her own dancers, and I know she is no skipper on the vocal side either. When she locks into Sasha Fierce, she just is.

I know my enthusiasm is probably freaking some of you out, but there is a point to this fangirl-ing.

The reason I am prattling on about Beyoncé is rather anecdotal. I have been thinking a lot, as I tend to do, and have started to pin point the issues I have with my work. And as I have talked about before, this year for me is about unlocking and putting into practice the things that I suck at, which to me is this "work" I have identified.

I pride myself in my ability to connect with people, both socially and via social networking. I try to go to as many shows/events as possible in an attempt to foster professional relationships with my fellow artists. I like meeting new people who are in the same boat as I am, we can help each other, teach each other. I find it is an invaluable skill to be able to connect with people in a way that isn't aggressive or invasive but complimentary.  I am also a very curious person, so I ask a lot of questions (sometimes to a fault). This natural curiosity that I have enables me to find enjoyment in researching a new script, finding different takes on the story, bringing in evidence, comparing, discussing, learning, and ultimately building a character from the ground up, which is my passion and what I have been doing for as long as I can remember.

I am good at it, they are the things that I love about acting, why I got into this gig in the first place.

What needs an overhaul is my ability to dedicate myself to simple things like reading the script and memorizing it. I find I will distract myself with trivial actions, like continued research or checking facebook for the millionth time that I don't spend time with the words and the story. I tend to brush it off by telling myself that I will memorize in rehearsal, or after simply reading the script once "I get the story". This attitude is so crippling to any performer and something that will ruin me if I can't integrate it into my rather stiff process.

Another example: I saw a show at the Ottawa Fringe the other day that was basically a guitarist who imitated other guitarists that he liked. Very simple concept. He was a brilliant player. At one point in the show he talked about one of his idols practicing for 5-9 hours every day, and this just hit me. Obviously I have heard of people practicing for insane hours every day before, but at this particular moment it made sense to me that the performers I look up to all dedicate immense amounts of hours to rehearsing and creating. And this is the "work" I am in pursuit of.

One of my teachers this year said that I didn't understand the amount of work that is required of me to be an actor. I know this isn't entirely true because I have a lot to offer, but they were right in the sense that I tend to avoid the things that actually need my attention, I convince myself that I am working when clearly I am not. Conclusively; If acting and performing is truly something that I want and cannot live without then I must do anything and everything in my power to make it a realty.

Perfection comes from practise and the only way that this will work is if I dedicate all of my time to making myself better and stronger. Physically, verbally, and mindfully. I have always fell back on the things I am good at rather than seeking the things I am not so good at, and now I have to step up and take what has been offered to me. I have to be honest with myself and LISTEN to what I need to do. I can't keep sliding through on my talent, I have to fight to have a place in this world.

I will now leave you with one of my favourite Beyoncé songs:


Night Abyss.


Jeanie said...

Loved your honesty and insight. Don't give up!, You are on your way. Remember to enjoy the ride!
It's not the destination but the journey.
Anything that is worth doing is worth doing right!
Put your whole heart and soul into what you love and you'll reap the benefits as I have over the years. I still love what I do. I work hard and I love every minute of it. I have taught around the world and will continue to do so even after retirement in a few years,
Acting is your passion. Stick with it ,work hard ,network., surround yourself with good people and smart people stay focussed and just get out there and go for it Wayne and don't take any shortcuts!
We love you and will always have your back! We are so proud of your accomplishments so far.... Please stop in any time.
Take care,
Kaitlyn's mom

Wayne Burns said...

Hey Jeanie!

So wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for your encouragement and I promise to keep plugging away. I feel so blessed to have so much support!

See you soon?