First Drafts

One thing writing every day is teaching me is the importance of simply getting those initial ideas down on paper (screen). Writing can be daunting: I can get intimidated by a blank canvas. The act of jotting down thoughts is a success in itself.

Same goes, I would say, for acting. Often we have to follow our instincts and do what feels most natural. It’s hard not to get in our heads when we know we’re going to be watched: “What will this action look like to the audience? How will I be perceived?” But what’s most powerful is those moments that are seemingly authentic. Making choices in a rehearsal that feel right, taking risks and trying something that could very well fail, can lead to an ostensibly raw performance. “Ostensibly”, of course, because if there’s decent direction happening in the rehearsal process, those moments of authenticity will be spotted and repeated until they’re ingrained in your muscle memory. The purpose of rehearsal is to try new things and then zero in on the things that work, practicing them until they can be repeated perfectly in a performance that seems as though it’s done on the fly.

Crappy first drafts can contain kernels of interesting truth. I like collecting these random thoughts on creativity then looking back on them to see if there’s anything worthwhile. Often there isn’t. But if I didn’t write these, then I wouldn’t have anything search through.

Take that messy first step and do the thing!

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