Let’s Talk: What Am I?
These days, it’s more common to see someone’s professional descriptor as “actor, director, writer, brutal regime dictator, and producer” than it is to see simply, “actor.” So, when someone asks what you “do” – are you supposed to pick just one?
If someone were to define themselves as an “actor, writer, and director” – to ask them to pick just one would be like asking a linguist to pick their favorite letter. It doesn’t make sense to do so because at the end of the day it all adds together to form the whole picture.
“Well, which one do you like best?” is one of the worst questions you can ask someone in the arts who just listed the 5 things they do. To be an artist is to live fully in each moment for what it is.
If we did anything else, we’d be philosophers.
There’s also the implication in there that because the arts are such a financially risky business to be involved in that working under multiple role titles is a last-ditch effort to try and survive. If anything, the longer the title is, the more versatile the human is and that deserves respect. To be able to switch from being told what to do (successfully) to (successfully) telling someone what to do are two inherently different skills. We’re taught to believe that because our jobs can’t be summed up in two words or less (i.e. banker, computer programmer, regime dictator) that there’s something to be ashamed of as a result.
I didn’t realize I loved directing until I took a class on it in college while majoring in Acting. I didn’t realize I loved writing until I stumbled into a journalism minor while trying to impress a boy. I didn’t realize I loved moviemaking until I transferred colleges and was told I needed to pick a new minor to still graduate on time.
All of these twists and turns of events in my life helped to shape me into the person that I am – and I’m proud of that. Get what I’m saying?
For anyone who’s felt backed-in to a corner when asked, “What do you do?” I encourage you to take pride, instead. If you’re an acrobat teacher, part-time nanny and seamstress – first of all, please tell me the group of people you hang out with because they sound amazing – second of all, good for you. Be different and be comfortable. Get lost and enjoy the journey. Never let anyone take the comfort of what you do away from you. You are well rounded (you is kind, you is important.)
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