This post is a continuation of Monday's ramblings following a seminar with Robbie E, a fantastic wrestler from Impact wrestling. You'll get more out of today's post if you read that one first.
Take your time.
Now that it's been five days since the seminars, the exercises and words presented to us by Robbie E have had some time to stew. One specific drill that people seemed to have trouble with involved working a convincing heat. In pro wrestling, the heat is a stretch of time where the heel (the bad guy) beats the crap out of the face (the good guy), to make the eventual comeback all the more powerful. It's prime time storytelling. It also sounds a lot simpler than it actually is. A heat can last anywhere from a minute to ten, and you can't just wail on the guy for that whole time. You need to get some kind of rhythm in there, a logic. You need high points, low points, breaks and mad sprints. It's like telling any other kind of story. This was of special interest to me because I'm a heel, and I want to tell a convincing story. Thing is, as I would be told, you can't just cut a promo during your heat.
The drill was simple, but the execution was the tricky part. You started with the face on all fours, like they'd just taken a big hit. They'd crawl around the ring, selling their pain, hopefully to different areas (like the ropes or the corner). The heel has one minute to play out a convincing heat. There's a catch. The heel can only touch the face three times. You kick the face in the gut? (That's a weird sentence.) That's one. Grab their hair and yank it back? That's two. Throw a punch? There you go, that's three, and you probably didn't make it the full minute cause you got too excited. Nobody hit the full minute. Many didn't make it much further than thirty seconds. Why? To our brains, a heat involves hitting someone. So we're going to hit them a bunch of times. The whole point of the drill though was learning to milk what you've got. Take your time, use your voice and your body language to convey meaning. It's a bit like teaching an actor body control; use all of you to portray a character, not just your voice and your face. Wrestlers, especially at our level, have a bad habit of rushing through their spots, and throwing five punches when one will do. Robbie E's whole point was that taking your time, going slow, will tell a better story than doing a triple back flip off the top rope.
So why am I boring you with a technical drill that has no relevance to your life if you've never put on tights and bounced of a rope? Because it is relevant. We're all rushing to the next big thing, especially in our careers. No sooner have we wrapped up our latest project, reached our latest peak, that we're already looking for the next one. Inversely, we tend to rush the climb, forgetting that a good climb is crucial to reach the peak. We're pushing through the grind with our heads up and swivelling, looking at everything around us except for what we're doing. We're forgetting that the grind is the whole point, and that without putting our heads down we're not going to make it through the walls that get raised in front of us.
Before I get too preachy, I'm going to tell you that I'm the worst offender. Back in March, I was flown in for a corporate video (if I told you where it was I'd have to kill you). My flight and accomodations were paid for, and I was paid a nice $1000 for a single day's work. "This is it." I thought. "I'm officially a professional actor now, and the jobs are just going to roll in." They didn't. I managed to get representation a few months after I got home, but since then I haven't worked a single paid acting gig. To this day, it's the only time I was paid to act. I felt like a failure for months. I was an actor, why wasn't I getting a gig? Looking back, it might be for any number of reasons. The main thing I'm telling myself now is; who the fuck do I think I am? I haven't been seen acting in anything "at large". I haven't proven my worth, paid my dues, or done the work. Many actors go to school for years before they can even dream of getting a paid gig. I get one and suddenly the phone's going to ring off the hook? It took months to put things back into perspective. It took months to switch lenses and realize that there was still a lot of work to do before I got to where I wanted. I don't think I'm there fully, but I've got a much better outlook on everything now. I'm learning to appreciate the grind. I'm reaching out to people, filming things on our own. I'm done waiting for someone to think I'm worth paying. I'm going to learn all that I can and show people what I can do until they know my worth.