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What are you saying with your art?

That’s really the question, isn’t it?

If you work in the performing arts you are always involved in collaboration with other artists. Frequently, you are not the main person responsible for the vision. There may be a playwright, screenwriter and director whose work you are bringing to life or interpreting. But the question remains, you as an artist, what are you saying with your work? How do you say it?

The answer may be different than what you think.

Many years ago when I was producing the movie Pleasantville, there was a day the entire movie changed. I’ll always remember it. It was a striking moment. We had been shooting for a few weeks and then actress Joan Allen showed up for her first day of filming. The excellence with which Joan approached her work that day, transformed the entire set.

Everyone felt it.

And everyone’s game rose to meet her’s. Not just the other actors, but the crew as well. The movie became a better movie because of her.

Literally, Joan’s presence in the room changed the course and direction of that film – simply by how she showed up. I think it’s one of the most important things to learn in the collaborative arts and the key to what you are really saying with your creative work.


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