Making It Happen – Made Easy

Ready to kickstart your Monday? I thought so. Watch, rinse, repeat.

This lady’s cool credo and hip presentation offers some solid life advice. The perfect antidote to those doubtful days, those “meh” moments, and those timid thoughts that sneak up on each of us every once in a while.

Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. Get out there and do a little something that gets you closer to where you want to be.

You Can Dance If You Want To

“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking”

-Agnes De Mille

There’s something absolutely wonderful about these shots of some of the greats in rehearsal. Little moments before the polish went on, right in the midst of finessing a piece. Yet even in these “rough” shots, it’s easy to pick out the stars. They’re electric. Eartha Kitt and James Dean hanging in dance class? No biggie. Bob Fosse demonstrating wild 90 degree angle wrists for his troupe? Makes it look easy. Judy Garland and Gene Kelly catching some serious air? Obsessed.

What is your signature move? Dare you find time in your day to try out any of those above.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

Some of the Best Reveal How They Find Creative Inspiration

On Creativity and Finding Inspiration:

(The following excerpts come from this article from The Guardian. I’ve chosen a few of my favorites below.)

Guy Garvey, musician

• Spending time in your own head is important. When I was a boy, I had to go to church every Sunday; the priest had an incomprehensible Irish accent, so I’d tune out for the whole hour, just spending time in my own thoughts. I still do that now; I’m often scribbling down fragments that later act like trigger-points for lyrics.

• Just start scribbling. The first draft is never your last draft. Nothing you write is by accident.

Polly Stenham, playwright

• Doodle. I’m very fidgety, and I seem to work best when my hands are occupied with something other than what I’m thinking about. During rehearsals, I find myself drawing little pictures or symbols that are somehow connected to the play. With Tusk Tusk, it was elephants, clowns and dresses on hangers. I’ll look back at my doodles later, and random snatches of dialogue will occur to me.

• Go for a walk. Every morning I go to Hampstead Heath, and I often also go for a wander in the middle of the day to think through a character or situation. I listen to music as I go. Again, it’s about occupying one part of your brain, so that the other part is clear to be creative.

Tamara Rojo, ballet dancer

An idea never comes to me suddenly; it sits inside me for a while, and then emerges. When I’m preparing for a particular character, I look for ideas about her wherever I can. When I first danced Giselle, I found Lars von Trier’s film Dancer in the Dark incredibly inspiring. It was so dark, and it felt just like a modern-day version of Giselle – the story of a young woman taken advantage of by others. It brought the part alive for me. Now when I talk to others who are playing Giselle, they sometimes say they’re worried that it feels like a parody, and not relevant to today. I tell them to watch that film and see how modern it can be.

To be truly inspired, you must learn to trust your instinct, and your creative empathy. Don’t over-rehearse a part, or you’ll find you get bored with it. Hard work is important, but that comes before inspiration: in your years of training, in your ballet class, in the Pilates classes. That work is there just to support your instinct and your ability to empathise. Without those, you can still give a good, technically correct performance – but it will never be magical.

Mark-Anthony Turnage, composer

• If you write something in the evening or at night, look back over it the next morning. I tend to be less self-critical at night; sometimes, I’ve looked back at things I wrote the night before, and realised they were no good at all.

• If you get overexcited by an idea, take a break and come back to it later. It is all about developing a cold eye with which to look over your own work.

Fyfe Dangerfield, musician

I used to think that being inspired was about sitting around waiting for ideas to come to you. That can happen occasionally: sometimes, I’m walking down the street and suddenly hear a fragment of music that I can later work into a song. But generally, it’s not like that at all. I liken the process to seeing ghosts: the ideas are always there, half-formed. It’s about being in the right state of mind to take them and turn them into something that works.

Anthony Neilson, playwright and director

• Don’t forget to have a life. It’s important to look outside the business. There are so many great stories out there that have nothing to do with the theatre, or with other writers.

•Be as collaborative as possible. I do a lot of my thinking once I’m in the rehearsal room – I’m inspired by the actors or designers I’m working with. Other creative people are a resource that needs to be exploited.

• Try to ignore the noise around you: the chatter, the parties, the reviews, the envy, the shame.

Rupert Goold, director

• Once you have an idea, scrutinise the precedent. If no one has explored it before in any form then you’re 99% likely to be making a mistake. But that 1% risk is why we do it.

• Make sure you are asking a question that is addressed both to the world around you and the world within you. It’s the only way to keep going when the doubt sets in.

• Love the effect over its cause.

Lucy Prebble, playwright

• If ever a character asks another character, “What do you mean?”, the scene needs a rewrite.

• Feeling intimidated is a good sign. Writing from a place of safety produces stuff that is at best dull and at worst dishonest.

• Write backwards. Start from the feeling you want the audience to have at the end and then ask “How might that happen?” continually, until you have a beginning.

Ian Rickson, director

• Trust the ingenuity and instinctiveness of actors. Surround them with the right conditions and they’ll teach you so much.

• Embrace new challenges. When we’re reaching for things, we tend to be more creative.

• Try to remove your own ego from the equation. It can get in the way.

Image Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 78, 9

Well, You Can Tell By the Way I Use My Walk

Last night, the cast got acquainted with the Little Zanni walk, a commedia style stride characterized by high knees and bird-like head movements. All that striding around led me to this brilliantly filmed, and well-acted example of the Zanni stock character.

In the commedia tradition, Zanni was a typical comic servant. The longer the mask’s nose, the ‘stupider’ the character. Take a look at this gal’s interpretation.

The ending is surprisingly effective as well.

Old-timey Movie Projector

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.”

– Jim Henson

A cinemagraph from Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg (top) and a still from The Artist (below).

Image Sources: 1, 2

Bite-sized Wisdom: Ionesco

More words of wisdom from another artistic mind. Monsieur Ionesco, take it away…

“Theatre is simply what cannot be expressed by any other means; a complexity of words, movements, gestures that convey a vision of the world inexpressible in any other way.”

– Eugène Ionesco

Image Source