Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dawn of a New Age

Last night, I was driving home and the great big world suddenly zoomed in front of me. If my life was a movie, it would have been a quick rack focus from the lights of Hollywood Blvd onto my face as I mouthed, "OH craaaaaap..."

Last month, I stepped away from my home at the Acme. I'd been there for about four years and it was this very nice, fuzzy little security blanket where, no matter what, I knew I could show up on a Wednesday night and play with my friends. I had some amazing times there and met some of the dearest folks I know.

But, if you're not growing, you're dying, and I realized it was time to leave the nest.

I've kind of been in this place recently where I don't know if I want to be an actor anymore. I've heard this struggle play out in the lives of a lot of folks who've been here longer than me, so I know its not entirely crazy talk. I've been acting for almost 25 years. I spend thousands of dollars on classes and headshots and workshops, not to mention the emotional angst of bombing at comedy clubs and being rejected at hundreds, nay, THOUSANDS of auditions... for maybe one paid gig a year. Maybe. If I'm lucky.

And it has just kind of made me scratch my head and wonder if this is any fun anymore.

In my core, I believe that you shouldn't be afraid of exploring your life. This writing deal hasn't been so bad for me. People seem to genuinely like my books.

But there is a Mt. Everest I have yet to climb and that Mt. Everest is the world of writing sketch comedy. It is what originally drove me to the Acme before I got sidetracked by that improv stuff. I mean, sure, I took some classes and I performed in some shows, but I always sort of felt like I wasn't "getting it".

So a couple days after my Acme departure, I signed up for the Intro to Sketch Writing over at The Groundlings. If you read between the lines, it is a class for knuckleheads like me. No audition necessary, no prior classes necessary, just come out and learn. This COULD have been a recipe for disaster.

Instead, it ended up being one of the Top Most Valuable classes I think I've ever taken here in Los Angeles.

My teacher was Guy Stevenson, one of the writers on MadTV. RIGHT?!?! An intro writing class being taught by one of the MadTV writers?!?! WHAT??? And he's brilliant. And then the class was filled with folks like me who were waiting for some of the upper level Groundlings classes to open, folks with experience doing improv and sketch. Also, my puppet buddy Erik Kuska (you know him from the Sock Zombie videos) in it and we always have a good time.

I learned a new structure for sketch writing and new ways for generating ideas and new angles for approaching an idea and ways to keep the pacing up. It was amazing.

And I walked away from this whole experience going, "Well, huh. I guess I don't suck as bad as I thought" which, truly, is worth its weight in gold.

So, if anyone else looking for a great class, the intro to sketch is a GREAT class and Guy is fantastic and he is really good at getting your brain clicking.

But back to my car ride last night (WHOA THAT WAS A TANGENT), I'm driving home. And the writing class has ended after six weeks of awesome. And I realized that I don't have anything planned. Like. Nothing.

I've got the whole wide future laid out in front of me with absolutely no ties to anything and I have to pick which road to travel upon. Writing? Acting? Grad school? Shakespeare? Shakespearian Improv? Generating webseries? Watching Netflix on the couch until I turn into a pile of dust and blow away? ALL OF THE ABOVE?!?!

As of last night, I've got to decide which path to set my feet on. QUICK! SOMEONE HAND ME A CRYSTAL BALL! OR AT LEAST A MAGIC 8 BALL!

OOOooohhhh CRAAAAAAAAP.

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