We are all but actors on a stage ....
by Neva J. Howell
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If you consider life, we did come in to be a certain someone, to enliven a role of some sort or perhaps many roles. We had an idea about what life could be and what we could be in it and our actions moved us toward creating that kind of life. The role each of us chose may have been different yet the experiences chosen always seem to show us more about ourselves, about others, about life, about the human experience of divinity in form. Shakespeare said it well in that we are all actors on the stage of life.
What is My Role?
Like most people of "a certain age", I have worn many hats in this lifetime, from actor to counselor to waitress to healer to accounting assistant to factory worker to singer to writer to teacher to construction worker to office worker to ... for the largest chunk of time since I became an actor, I've made my living online as a marketer and writer. In my 20's I went to Hollywood for the first time and thought of myself as an actor. As of now, I still include acting among my life roles although I do not actively pursue acting work as I once did. That's not a decision exclusive to vocation either; I find I don't pursue much. A few years ago I found out that the "letting things come to me" mode is actually my design, the way I came into this life to experience life (Human Design Generator 6/3, Sacral Authority).
An Actor's Dream!
Imagine having your very own studio, where you could write, produce, film and edit your own original work? Thanks to a new platform called theatrics, pioneers of mass participation tv or MPTV, it's possible! In fact, a lot of my personal creative fulfillment comes from participation in the MPTV web series at theatrics. Rather than being a scripted web series, theatrics launched Beckinfield. Each week, actors were given a few topics of goings on in the fictional town but what each character brought to Beckinfield was uniquely the work of the actor who created the character. I've created several quite interesting and fun original characters since Beckinfield including Nanny Spratt, Princess Oleska, Vampoola (the singing vampire) and Nurse Gertrude.
What is so wonderful about this type of online platform is that you get to practice and develop a character from the ground up. You can look back at characters you've created and literally see the development and transformation that occurs with that character over time. For example my first and still most beloved (Leda Jo Gupta from Beckinfield went through a number of changes including the rhytym of her speech, her attitudes, her costuming, etc.) Without two years of videos to look back on, I would not have seen how this character evolved into the solid character she is for me now. I could play Leda Jo anywhere, at any time, because I know her well now. Beckinfield was such a valuable creative process for me!
For several years, within the Beckinfield storyline, I honed my craft as a writer, editor, videographer and mass participation television participant. Recently, I've gotten in front of the camera a lot more for films. I've done three independent shorts in the past few years, all three of which were just wonderful experiences. These were substantial roles too, the likes of which have not previously been available much outside of the big three (Los Angeles, New York, Chicago). While I'd love to be acting more, and feel that more and more of Hollywood will be coming to the south in the future, it was the right choice for me to leave L.A. I left Hollywood for the last time a few years back. Though I'd certainly return for work, and keep in touch with producers and creative folks I met while there, I don't ever see myself living there again. The pace was too fast and the traffic too unrelenting.
What I Learned In Hollywood:
I've had several stints in tinseltown. The first time, I went as that starving artist we all hear so much about. I was fairly miserable because of the situation -- if I had money for classes and food and transportation, I had to work ... but then, I wasn't available for auditions. If I was available for auditions, I didn't know how or if the rent could be paid. The next time I went, I was in better shape but still got wore down by the money thing. The third time was a charm in many ways because I actually had money to take every class I wanted and free to do any audition that came my way or struck my fancy. This was fantastic because, for the first time since I'd been trying to make a living acting, I was able to go for it full blast. And I discovered that I didn't want it bad enough to drive for a living. That's another story, part of what I learned in Hollywood