Finding Your Passion

I recently had an opportunity to meet with high school students considering careers in the arts. It’s not hard for 17-year-old kids to tell you what they are passionate about. And, at their age, I believe in feeding that passion, let them try everything until they are certain what their thing is. Science, business and art are all the same at that point in the process of pinpointing their passion.

Next, I told them to make sure they are good at it. That could mean college or apprenticeships or a whole lot of auditioning. This is when it’s necessary to be brutally honest with themselves. Are they good at it?

Finally, can they get paid doing what they are passionate about? They shouldn’t have to answer that question too early. There are subtleties and branches in any given field that won’t be evident for many years.

Then, they should ask themselves (often!): “Do I have passion for this? Am I good at it? Can I get paid?” If the answer is consistently “yes” they have likely found the perfect career and, ideally, happiness.

Here’s the rub. Things change. So I also told them this: “If at any point in your professional life any one of those areas starts to drift; you discover you aren’t good at it because you haven’t kept up with the new technology, or you lose passion because the popular style has changed, or you’re no longer getting paid (as is the case of 1,000’s of passionate journalists and song writers), you must re-tool. You must adjust your focus until all three are true again.”

Are you passionate about this? Are you good at it? Will you get paid?

by Charles Packard, Executive Producer

Stage vs. Screen

Are movies better than live theater?

Ask this one ‘innocent’ little question in mixed company (“mixed” meaning two humans or more) and you’ll ignite a lively (if not heated) debate. But rather than re-write what has been written countless times, let’s defer to wiseGEEK to start this discussion from the audience point-of-view. (Remarks in parentheses are our own interjections!)

“A constant debate between fans of both art forms is whether movies are better than live theater. Some consider theater productions to be outdated and out-stripped by the technological capabilities of film. Others believe that film is too often a sell-out, pawning substandard plots and writing through excessive special effects and gimmicks to draw a crowd. Yet both forms have the ability to attain astounding levels of quality and to affect their audience on an intensely personal level, using different methods.

Live theater has an air of controlled chaos about it that is impossible to replicate (ain’t that the truth?!) Each performance will be subtly different, depending on a variety of factors…”.

“It is precisely this uncertainty that makes theater appealing to many. The audience can be drawn in simply through the recognition that they are not watching a recorded performance but live people (even better than HD 3D).

Film, in many ways, is a safer medium. Performances are recorded and a single line or scene may be filmed ten or fifteen times. The work then gets further review and selection in the editing process, allowing the editor and director to choose the best versions that complement the whole of the film (which is why we don’t understand how a film can win BEST PICTURE without also winning BEST EDITING and BEST DIRECTOR)”.

From an actor’s standpoint, Conor McPherson gives a well-reasoned commentary in an article for The Guardian:

“What the actor must achieve in a film is getting each moment right. They move from moment to moment in no particular order that makes sense and often without any time to rehearse properly. scary thing about theatreIronically, film actors can work very quickly to put a scene together in a film that then exists forever while theatre actors may work for months to achieve a performance that only lasts as long as the run of the show.

Of course a poor performance in a film can be made to look a lot better. With judicious editing and good music, suddenly you can seem like a star on the screen. But in the theatre, there is nowhere to hide. If your performance is bad or lazy, you stick out like a sore thumb.

Ultimately the difference between making films and putting plays on is analogous to the band of musicians who go into the studio to record an album and the completely different world of performing the music live to an audience. The band can spend months perfecting their recording in the studio, and edit it and shape it into a kind of coherence, just like a film. Only the best takes are used.

But if you want to play live, you’d better be able to play well. Even though the music is available on a CD, the fans want to see it being performed. It’s a great feeling to see a talented person perform live in front of you. Curiously, the live experience both demystifies the performer and at the same time creates a whole other set of mysteries: “How do they do that?””

Ok, so we don’t agree with everything Mr. wiseGEEK has to say (and we might have said it more eloquently), and Mr. McPherson might be a little dramatic, but we ALL agree that some stories are best told on film and some stories are best told on stage. We think we’re pretty good at picking the right ones for our stage.

Feel free to weigh in.

Doin’ the Theatre Shuffle

Ever wonder what’s going on at this sleepy old movie theatre on East Colfax? Well, there’s a whole lotta shakin’ (and loadin’ and strikin’ and rehearsin’) going on.

Here’s a little snapshot for you …

December at The Fox:

11/28/14 – Red Ranger Opens, Fully Committed performs

11/29/14 – Red Ranger Performs, Fully Committed Performs, Guys On Ice rehearsal

11/30/14 – Red Ranger Performs, Fully Committed Performs, Guys On Ice rehearsal

12/1/14 – Guys On Ice Final Dress

12/2/14 – Load-in Guys On Ice at the Aurora Municipal Center, Performance, Load out immediately after

12/4/14 – Red Ranger Put-In Rehearsal

12/5/14 – Red Ranger Performs, Fully Committed performs

12/6/14 – Staged Reading rehearsal and conference in the afternoon, Red Ranger and Fully Committed performs in the evening.

12/7/14 – Red Ranger, Fully Committed Performs; She Kills Monsters auditions (70 people)

12/8/14 – Staged Reading performance, She Kills Monsters audition (70 people)

12/9/14 – Loaded out Red Ranger set for Nutcracker performance

12/10/14 – 2 Nutcracker performances

12/11/14 – 2 Nutcracker performances, Dance Academy rehearsal

12/12/14 – Load Red Ranger back in to main stage, Red Ranger & Fully Committed Perform, load out entire Fully Committed set AND studio seating overnight

12/13/14 – Choir/Dinner Rehearsal in Studio in the afternoon, Red Ranger & Fully Committed perform, Guys On Ice performs at a private party in south Parker

12/14/14 – Red Ranger Performs, partial strike immediately after, Choir/Dinner Performance in Studio, Dance Academy performance on main stage

12/15/14 – She Kills Monsters Callbacks (80 people)

12/16/14 – She Kills Monsters Fight Call Callbacks (24 people)

12/17/14 – Cultural Concert

12/18/14 – Load Guys On Ice into Dairy Center in Boulder, Tech rehearsal

12/19/14 – Guys On Ice Performs in Boulder, Fully Committed & Red Ranger Perform, Beets 1st Rehearsal

12/20/14 – Guys On Ice Performs in Boulder, Fully Committed & Red Ranger Perform

12/21/14 – Beets Rehearsal, Fully Committed Performs, Red Ranger Closes, Guys On Ice performs in Boulder. Load out Guys On Ice from Boulder back to Fox, load out Red Ranger, Ignite Loads in Dreamgirls

12/22/14 – Beets Rehearsal, Dreamgirls Rehearsal

12/23/14 – Beets Rehearsal, Dreamgirls Rehearsal

12/24/14 – Dreamgirls Rehearsal

12/25/14 – Christmas Day

12/26/14 – Fully Committed Performance, Dreamgirls Final Dress

12/27/14 – Dreamgirls Opening, Fully Committed Performs

12/28/14 – Beets Rehearsal, Dream Girls Performs, Fully Committed Closes, Fully Committed set struck after performance, Beets load-in

… and so forth!

Whew, we made it! And we look forward to another 365 days of doing the same “theatre shuffle.” We wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s an honor and a privilege to make artistic contributions to this community… to you.

Happy New Year!