"To those who have talent: Let's talk about actually doing it." Tue May-01-07 12:46 PM by Frank Longo
As I head to grad school next year to put two more years of intensive studies in, I look ahead toward the future and seriously considering pursuing creative endeavors as a career. I've gotten really strong encouragement from several people, and recently an author who's a professor at Duke, Reynolds Price, had some words for me that really made me think:
"You're a talented man-- need I tell you?-- Russell, and I trust you're going to do something interesting with your gifts. You'll likely suffer if you don't-- and I don't say that as any sort of threat, only as what seems a realistic observation after nearly fifty years of observing a large number of Duke students-- some 3,000 of them by now."
That quote really scared me to some extent. I really think that I could make it-- why not risk it and go out and try to achieve? My creative writing gets really well received, and I know my plays are better than a girl who recently got accepted into the M.F.A. program at Columbia for playwriting. There are directors who I've worked with who now work in NYC that I'm confident I am better than, and I've gotten great reviews from local theater people and professors who've said I've directed some of the best work Duke has seen, including better than department shows. I've also got a thick skin for bad reviews and rejection when they come, and I really feel like I could make it in the real world. I'm also currently of a mindset that I really might be heading to a big city and trying to get a job in the arts, something that a couple of years I never would've thought I was good enough to do.
So why am I making this post?
I want to hear from some of you who are actually out there working, using your talents (or holding down a job until you can). Tell me about where your mind was when you were in high school/college. Did you honestly think you could go achieve in the profession of your dreams? What have all the benefits/downfalls been that you've encountered since going out and doing it?
For whatever reason, that quote above really has made me think recently that unless I give it a try, I'll never know if I could become something special and make movies/write or direct plays/do whatever that really matters. So I'm kind of really really excited about the future, how this program is going to train me further for theater, and what I can go out and do after this. And while I realize that in a decade I'll likely be a jaded industry type like some other OKPs (no snitchin'), I still can't help but be excited about what the future holds.
So to those who are out there doing it: what were your dreams in high school/college? How did those dreams evolve? What obstacles have you faced/overcome/continued to face? Where do you see yourself ideally in 10 years? This is a positive post for those who are out there using their God-given talents doing something they love and to those like me who are planning on actually doing it.