Tuesday, April 20, 2010


'It's Not That Deep,' or is it?

Do you ever get an idea that is perfect? I mean, the kind of idea that could literally change your life if you followed through with it and turned it into a reality?  I get ideas like that all the time. Yet,  the ideas  I typically come up with somehow involve writing (a screenplay, a play, a musical, a book, and now... a blog?), and yet I am not a writer. I have a very hard time labeling myself as one, even though I genuinely enjoy the act of writing. I am however, a director. More specifically, I am a theatre director. This is a label I do not have a problem with, and wear it proudly in my everyday life. However, as much as I can label myself as a director, I am not yet the kind of director I want to be, and know I will one day be...

This blog, like many other creative ventures in life started out as a spark. A flickering idea in the back of my head about a project that could literally change my life and launch me into the next phase of my career as a professional theatre director. A project that could take me from an struggling emerging director, to a director that every major West End/Broadway director in the industry wants to hire as their assistant (cause lets face it, I'm still like really young in director years). The problem with this idea is simply that I am still a student and will not be done with my training until Fall 2011. And it is very hard to launch myself into that next phase of my professional career while still in school. On top of having this idea which is so overwhelming that I seriously don't know how I will ever make it come to fruition,  there are very little resources available to aspiring theatre directors. I know we are a rare breed and all, but come on! There are a ridiculous amount of books telling actors how to pick head shots,  agents, monologues, training programmes, etc. in addition to general books on acting. And while there are plenty of books on directing, there are far less books giving directors advice on how to navigate their own careers. The business of directing, if you will. And when you do find one of those books, they usually tell you the same thing. Put on a play (anywhere) to get hands on experience and build your resume (or CV), then write to every director you know (or whose work you've seen) and offer to assist. Do that often. Then write to theatres for work, offer complimentary tickets to your latest show, pray to your god, spin around in three circles counter-clockwise, spit on the ground and  hope for the best. While generally good advice, what these books don't tell you is how to go from assisting to full on directing. Or better yet, how to go from a Fringe/Off-Off (off-off-off) Broadway director (which will probably be shows you rehearse at night while you assist during the day, in addition to your job waiting tables or making double soy lattes at Starbucks) to a Off-West End/Off-Broadway director, and work your way up the artistic latter.  They don't tell you how to make that leap from being a good undiscovered director, to joining the ranks of the great directors of our industry. And that is what I want to know.

My goal with this blog is to explore what it means to be a great director, and really pull apart that label, and explore why we do what we do. To explore what it means to be a working director, how to become one, and hopefully inspire other struggling emerging directors to find a different route to becoming the director they want to be. Because sometimes its not about writing letters, or simply assisting, or going back to school to get an MFA (even though that is what we're lead to believe). Sometimes it's the path less traveled, the road not taken, and having the strength and courage to just get off the road, and run over some trees. As cliche as that may sound (and trust me I'm aware... I did type it out), I am starting to get the feeling might just be true. Oprah would dig it.

When something isn't worth getting upset over, fixating on, or generally just not that important, I tend to use the phrase "it's not that deep." I can't remember where I first heard it, but I imagine it was from one of my sassy gay friends, and I claimed it for my own. Generally, when it comes to almost everything in life, I can adopt this attitude. But for some reason, when it comes to my career as a theatre director, and becoming the kind of director I want to be (I'll elaborate in another post), it is like... mad deep.  Because when you want something so badly, and have been working towards it for so long that it consumes every aspect of your life, it gets deep, and stays that way until you reach the point in your career where you can just breathe. The thing about it is, I know I am not the only emerging director who feels that way.  So here is to making it less deep, more of a reality, and hopefully one day, being at the point in my directing career where I can just breathe.  Word.