Why Write a Blog?
Updated: Mar 3
Michelle Wolf is one of my favorite comedians. As she so poetically put it, "Blogs are conversations no one wants to have with you" - I couldn't agree more. But here we go anyway..
I’ve always been curious about articulating the process of creating art. My first memory trying to organize those thoughts was in 1997 when I started a journal to document the evolution of 'creating a character'. (yawn) That process included how I memorized lines to writing a backstory to costume choices, etc. I wanted to keep track of, document and articulate my own personal exploration of a character.
Twenty Two years later, I am still writing in that same journal. It has evolved into much more than just a record for acting, I use it for articulating just about everything I’m artistically working on: Writing, photography, film, ceramics, painting, theater, teaching, etc. In addition, I found that my personal life often was reflected in my art, and visa versa, so it seemed only natural an all encompassing journal be born out of a desire to articulate my artistic and personal life.
But why articulate your work at all? What’s the point? I guess at first it was a way to document the process, but then writing about it actually became the process. Which simply means, writing in my journal has become one of my many tools to create work. And by extension, writing this blog is also going to help me understand my process.
So in short, that’s why I’m writing a blog. To formally write down my thoughts, ideas, theories and explorations on creating art. Mainly this will focus on performance, however, the creation of one medium can splinter into many. For example, I might shoot photos in order to create a ‘mood’ for a short film. Or if I’m playing a character who is a painter, I might take up oil painting to have the experience for my research. I might learn a new style of dance for a movement piece. These are the residual side effects to creating any given performance, film or theatre. It brings with it the creation of unexpected art. I think it’s one of the main reasons I love working in theater and film. It is a medium which has the potential to include every other art form and medium.
So with the writing of a blog comes the understanding of my process.
What is process? Process is literally whatever you do to create the work. Over time you discover what works and what doesn’t. What excites you and what you find boring. Process can be fun but it can also be exhausting. I don’t always have to understand why I’m doing something, as long as it’s effective to my work. I am, however, interested in understanding what I’m doing. If I know what I’m doing is effective, then I know I can repeat it and get similar results. For example, If going for a long walk in the middle of the night helps me flush out a complicated story arch in a script, I will be sure to repeat that process the next time I’m faced with a similar problem.
Of course, what works before, may not work again. And I think that’s the key to an effective process. You have to allow it to evolve and change over time. You have to be flexible. You have to be malleable. You might have to work with people who don’t work the same way you do. Instead of complaining about it, see it as an opportunity for growth. Instead of forcing them to change, it’s so much more rewarding to be able to change yourself. It’s like having the ability to speak several different languages. Rather than forcing everybody around you to speak your language, you simply jump into their’s. That is the power of evolving your process.
There is a phrase I often use, “You create the process and the process creates the work”. It is a simple, to the point, phrase that allows you to focus attention on the nuts and bolts of the process in creating art rather than the abstract or sometimes overwhelming nature of a project.
For Example, if you want to write a feature film, it might seem overwhelming at first glance. However, if you decide that your process will be to go to a specific location, like the public library, a coffee shop or someplace you won’t be distracted, and spend two hours every day writing, you will eventually have a script. That commitment to setting aside time to write, is the process. You create that process, you create the work. Not saying you wont run into obstacles. So you have to commit to the process. If you miss a day you make up for it. Or you don’t let it throw you and you just keep going. So you must have commitment.
Process plus commitment equals the creation of work.
As I move forward to chart this journey of creating work, I hope to evolve my process as I write. And I hope to evolve my writing in the process. It’s a journey in time to not only understand what I’ve done in the past, but also where I am today as well as what new adventures I will explore in my future.