Cheap talk and hyperbole

If you wish to be taken seriously, you must be a person of your word.  I’m not referring to being trustworthy or doing what you say you will do.  Obviously those are important character traits to have.

I’m speaking about not stating things without giving them some thought first.

I really wonder about my students and what they actually know when they make statements like “the film is amazing” or “I’ve got a brilliant idea” or “so and so is a tremendous artist” when the truth is that none of that is true.

The proof is in the pudding and if you tell us the pudding is awesome and then it’s not you’re the one that looks bad.

It’s great to be supportive but when you make statements about the quality of something you should be thoughtful because that statement tells us about your ability to see clearly.  It tells us about your own standards and whether or not you have seen enough to even make a judgment about these things.  And it reflects poorly on you to accept the 5 stars someone gave you without really wondering if you deserved it. 

I’m embarrassed when I see young actors engage in hyperbole like this.  They look dumb.  They have no idea – simply no idea how they really come across.  They don’t take the time to reflect on “do I really believe what I say?”  "Did I really deserve the praise being offered?“

Best not to put too much stock in the reviews you get either way; better to just keep doing the work.  And best not to throw around grandiose reviews of others’ work – sometimes when you haven’t even seen it – just to make and keep friends.

Actors:  Be a person of your word.  Be thoughtful.  Mean what you say.  Otherwise, your words just stop counting.

"Vote for my project! I know you haven't seen it but who cares!"

Many years ago a young actress wanted coaching on an audition for a very “in vogue” theater company.  I said to her, “Well, they’re going to interview you too so what is it about their work you like?"   Response:  "Oh, I’ve never seen their work but everyone says they are THE company to get into.”

I hate this. She hadn’t even seen their productions. How could she expect to appeal to them?

No wonder a less talented actress got the callback – one who actually knew all about them and who had seen their last three productions.

What I see a lot of – especially on Facebook – is “vote for my project” in this contest or that one or for this festival or that one without our being able to actually view what we’re voting for.  Because we’re virtual friends we’re just supposed to vote for them.

I’m sorry.  I try very hard to be a woman of my word.

What happened to EARNING it for Christ’s sake?!  More and more the internet becomes a numbers game rather than helping the real cream get to the surface.  (Well, we all already know this, I suppose.)

I’m not talking about Kickstarter campaigns or things of that nature.  I admire and am happy for folks that secure financial support this way.  But this other thing – nope.  At least on the The Voice, as much as the masses are frequently poor at differentiating mediocrity from true talent, you get to hear the people sing and compare them before you vote.

The true danger is when an actor wins the numbers game and then believes it has to do with the quality of their work rather than their capacity to drum up oblivious “Sure, I’ll click on anything” voters.  It just can’t last.  At some point your mediocrity catches up to you. 

At least this is what I have seen.

"Can you feel that?"

Recently a yoga teacher said this to me and I really didn’t know what she was referring to. I was reminded of sitting in on a body awareness class for actors some years ago where the teacher asked the students “Can you feel that?” And I remember a different class when a movement teacher once asked “Feel that?” and then nodded her head as if she had made everything perfectly clear.

The problem is that in none of these cases did the teacher make it clear what “that” was. I watched students look around rather apprehensively but they dutifully nodded their heads because I’m guessing they certainly felt something and, more importantly, wanted to please. But who knows if what they were feeling was the right feeling or in the right place.

I’m trying to make it a point to understand what my teacher is looking for in specific terms rather than feeling that pressure to make her feel affirmed. I believe I said, “Well, this is what I feel and here is where I feel it. Is that what I should be feeling?”

And sometimes we aren’t going to be aware of what we feel when we’re doing something new. We’re just trying to figure it all out. It takes some time before we’ve done something enough to then actually be in touch with it all.

I’m never impressed when this question is asked again and again without any specific backup, so for me it’s a signal that maybe this teacher isn’t so great. What I do know is we should ask the follow up question or say, “I have no idea what I’m feeling right now I’m just trying to do the exercise.” Honesty helps both the practitioner and the student be present and have a constructive experience.

A note about bios

I’ve been reviewing various sites to find a particular instructor and in doing so have found that people really don’t know how to write an appropriate professional bio.  (Gee, I better take a look at mine now that I’ve said that.)

If I want to hire you for something that you are supposedly a master at, please don’t tell me that you were “thrilled” to continue your training with so and so or that you were “excited” to be able to take blah-blah-blah workshop to become certified in whatever.  These words are about your feelings and not your expertise. 

If you’re a professional, you need to leave these phrases out of your bio.  I know in programs people want to write “Sarah is thrilled to be working with this company again” but even there I usually ask my cast to leave those sentiments out.  Those feelings are better expressed privately.  I certainly am not impressed when I am doing my research to select a professional to provide services to me.

So those of you who might be writing up your own bio or website for something that you do well please keep it professional and don’t tell us about your feelings.  It makes you seem very amateurish.

Breast Cancer Political Correctedness

Thank goodness for Madhulika Sikka’s new book on breast cancer.  She talks brilliantly about our new cult of breast cancer victims and survivors as being pressured to become our new contemporary Super-Woman stereotype.

There is so much insistence that women fall into this “all-powerful, self-realized, I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, get my children into the right school and give great head to my husband without ever appearing vulnerable"  vision of true womanhood.  It’s rot.  And it has so many negative ramifications.

Hell, it’s taken me years to admit that I don’t like Vagina Monologues outside my closest group of friends. I have always felt that I dare not say it.  But I don’t like it.  (longer story)

I’m glad that Sikka has the guts to say that we have to stop suggesting that women put aside their extraordinary fears and become these fearless combatants. 

Yes, great.  I want my friends to fight their cancer, and I’ve watched dear friends die from it.  I do not want any of them to feel that competitive, one-up"man"ship (that women know really well how to do) over their disease.  I want them to cry and carry on and do whatever they feel like they need to do to be honest about the emotions going through them.

For some women, cancer is going to kill them.  And it won’t have been their fault.  We need to examine where we all set women up for that.  It’s shameful.

The answer is: The trash

Question:  Where do emails end up from people looking for a job that are addressed:  “To whom it may concern?”

If you haven’t bothered to notice who the director of my studio is, it’s highly unlikely that I would ever consider interviewing you for a job.

So, let this be a lesson for my students as well.  If you’re looking for a job ANYwhere – do your research, know who runs the company, what the company has done, etc.  And know who to address in your correspondence.  Also, no first names until someone gives you permission to use their first name.

Wanting to get the right answer

I distinctly remember struggling on the first day of a wonderful writing class in high school.  Our teacher put three pieces of text up on the chalkboard.  She asked us to respond to each.  One was, in hindsight, a cliche although well written.  One I don’t remember.  The third was a very cool, written from the heart sentence by I believe a Hawaiian teen-ager full of sounds and a sort of description that was kind of weird – something that today I would definitely respond to.

When our teacher asked us to respond almost none of us could.  I certainly couldn’t because I didn’t know what the right response/answer was.  I was a student used to being in the top of the class because I had mastered the read it, learn it, memorize and spit it back skills that I needed to get A’s.  (It wasn’t until I went to Duke that I threw caution to the wind breaking all the rules when I handed in fiction in my history class – only to receive higher accolades from my professor.)

I had no intuition and was afraid to even ask myself seriously which piece of text I liked, which sentence set something special off inside, which sentence interested ME.

Unfortunately, that’s what our schools teach to a large degree. 

Now that I’ve been teaching acting for almost 25 years, I see that the same need to get it right that plagued my work in that writing class is the same approach to acting that gets in the way of my students’ best work. 

Writing and painting and composing music and acting and creating a dance piece do demand skills – you cannot perform them well or perform anything worth seeing without skill – but they have to come from our own person-hood, if you will.  If they are not connected to us, our intuition (dare I use the word “soul?”), then the work falls short and we are busy up in our head trying to get out of the wretched mess.

When I taught college drama I was directly asked “What do I have to do to get an A in your class?"  As if I was teaching accounting. 

So if you find yourself working very hard to get it right – well, that’s your problem.  You’ve got to explore (with discipline and commitment).  You have to listen and absorb and watch your fellow students.  And you have to go out on a limb.  You’ll get better.

You simply won’t get there if getting the right answer or doing it right is what is in the forefront of your mind.

Who knew -- My Kitchen Rules and Acting

I’m finding that one of the reasons I enjoy this show is that there are so many similarities between the folks around the table and the actors one meets in dressing rooms or green rooms.

There are the people who brag about their technique, put everyone else down and then when it’s their turn are always the least talented in the group.

There are the intellects who want to push the boundaries on the conceptual side of but cannot deliver a simple, compelling dish or moment of human interaction.

There are those who believe themselves to be avant-garde and have the over-used excuse of “you just don’t get me” if someone criticizes their work.  (Ah, no we got you.  And it’s not good.)

There are those who have no idea how bad their presentation is.  They either have no aesthetic or over-do it thinking that more is more.

And there are the participants who feel sorry for the people that deserve the criticism they are getting.  These participants are the enablers.  They don’t want their peers to get better.  They’re just so uncomfortable with anything negative that they hope to keep everyone happy even if it means that nobody becomes a better artist. 

And then there are the folks I love.  They don’t brag.  They don’t put anyone down.  They are honest and judge fairly – even when it means that someone must hear challenging feedback.  They hold themselves to high standards and do not laud their successes over others.  They themselves can make a simple dish that looks lovely but more importantly is absolutely delicious.  They make and art out of what they do.

And ‘they love the art in themselves rather than themselves in the art.’

Fashion comments for actresses

While I do not pretend to be a fashion plate myself, I am going to make some comments about fashion – especially for young women wanting acting careers. 

When I was at the O’Neil (National Theatre Institute in Connecticut), they told us to always dress a little more conservatively than any current fashion norm.  This is 1983.  I don’t know how well I got it then but I definitely get it now.

  1. If you’re too fashionable we cannot see you in a role that is not in this particular time and place.
  2. If you’re too fashionable, you may be wearing clothing that makes you less grounded when you’re auditioning.
  3. If you’re too fashionable, you may be wearing necklaces, piercings or scarves that distract us.
  4. If you’re too fashionable, you may be wearing clothing that is too revealing.  You need to make sure they are watching your acting not thinking about your body.  (Last week I saw three women whose thongs were clearly showing through their gauzy see-through skirts.  Fine for your boyfriend – pretty bad for a casting director.)

 Even when you’re not auditioning, take a look at the trend and:

  1. See what message it’s giving.

 Ex.  Mini-dresses.  Love them – especially the well-tailored styles reminiscent of the 60’s.  What do I see today?  Young women wearing floral print mini dresses that make them look like Mormon women who cut their dress off too high on their thighs.  The dresses look like they should be on kewpie dolls.  Most of all,  they INFANTILIZE the women wearing them.  This is what bothers me most.  It doesn’t look feminine.  It actually infantilizes them.  Be a woman – not a child.

Ex.  Nose rings.  Used by farmers to chain one pig to another.  Sorry, I can’t get past that.

Ex.  The “hippy” look.  Great.  Love it.  Wear it on the weekends.  It still looks like you’re going to be too stoned, too touchy-feely, too much of a free spirit to care about getting down to work.  Believe me!  You’ve got to look like you’re serious.  And eough with the bare feet – you’re not proving anything except that you bought some bad acting teacher’s desire to have you look like creative spirits but wasn’t interested in actually developing your creative skills.

2.  Find the version of the trend that is fashionable but makes you look great.

Ex.  If super high heels are the trend but you are 5 feet tall, wear a version of the heel that is proportionate with your body and legs.  Sometimes wearing a slightly more conservative version of the style is the difference between looking silly and gorgeous.

3.  Ask yourself if YOUR best assets are enhanced by the trend.  If not, remember you’re an actress – you don’t have to be fashionable.  You do have to look great, professional and appropriate for the event, the role, the time period or environment in which you’re going to be working.

“To this generation I would say: Memorize some bit of verse of truth or beauty.” Edgar Lee Masters

From the New York Times Obituary for Maxine Kumin
Ms. Kumin was such an evangelist for the sound of poetry that she exhorted her students to memorize 30 to 40 lines of it a week.
“The other reason, as I tell their often stunned faces, is to give them an internal library to draw on when they are taken political prisoner,” she told The Times-Picayune of New Orleans in 2000.  "For many, this is an unthinkable concept; they simply do not believe in anything fervently enough to go to jail for it.“

Busy lives and quick fixes

The busier we are, the more important we seem to ourselves and, we imagine, to others.    WAYNE MULLER

 When I found this quote I really got something at a new level.  Why, I’ve been asking myself, do I find more and more young actors so arrogant in how they address me, my colleagues and other industry experts “of a certain age?”  How could they think it appropriate to say “I need you to” or “Call me back today” in their first contact with us?  How do they not know that they need us more than we need them?  How is it possible they believe themselves to be more worthy than the thousands of other actors who have come before? 

I’ve always maintained that people love Facebook because it makes them feel like they are in People magazine where every move they make, every bar they go to, every person they’re hanging out with and, most importantly, what they are wearing is fully documented. 

But now I have a new context for it.

The faster our lives go, the more options we have, the more there is an increasing desire for the quick fix.  Give me a short-term workshop and let me pay a fortune for it because then I will have “gotten it.”  Give me an uber-inspirational weekend workshop where I am taken through a series of strong emotions that make me “feel” like something important has happened – so I can tell my friends on Facebook that I did this amazing thing but don’t ask me to look at myself later to see if any substantive improvement really occurred.  Don’t ask me to accomplish something substantial.

 The very sad thing many for actors is that this busy-ness of the present age means that these temporary highs are going to be followed by a palpable hollowness and terrific emotional lows.  An aware individual might feel how ineffective and how unchanged they remain after participating in those costly inspirational workshops.  But most will shield themselves from experiencing these painful feelings by signing up for more quick fixes that will distract them from the emptiness of the last quick fix.

So some advice:  take the time to be fully present, participate in a longer term of study where real improvement can be made, commit oneself fully to mastering something before moving on to something else.  These are the experiences that will nurture you for the rest of your life.

And after you have gone through what it really takes to become a master at something, you will be humbled. 

Maxine Kumin

I just discovered Kumin. 

And today the New York Times has her obituary in it.

I rather like this poem written for her…

Parents Pantoum

 for Maxine Kumin

Where did these enormous children come from,
More ladylike than we have ever been?
Some of ours look older than we feel.
How did they appear in their long dresses

More ladylike than we have ever been?
But they moan about their aging more than we do,
In their fragile heels and long black dresses.
They say they admire our youthful spontaneity.

They moan about their aging more than we do,
A somber group--why don't they brighten up?
Though they say they admire our youthful spontaneity
The beg us to be dignified like them

As they ignore our pleas to brighten up. 
Someday perhaps we'll capture their attention
Then we won't try to be dignified like them
Nor they to be so gently patronizing.

Someday perhaps we'll capture their attention.
Don't they know that we're supposed to be the stars?
Instead they are so gently patronizing.
It makes us feel like children--second-childish?

Perhaps we're too accustomed to be stars.
The famous flowers glowing in the garden,
So now we pout like children. Second-childish?
Quaint fragments of forgotten history?

Our daughters stroll together in the garden,
Chatting of news we've chosen to ignore,
Pausing to toss us morsels of their history,
Not questions to which only we know answers.

Eyes closed to news we've chosen to ignore,
We'd rather excavate old memories,
Disdaining age, ignoring pain, avoiding mirrors.
Why do they never listen to our stories?

Because they hate to excavate old memories
They don't believe our stories have an end.
They don't ask questions because they dread the answers.
They don't see that we've become their mirrors,

We offspring of our enormous children.

So many yoga teachers… so few who are masters.

After years of avoiding yoga due to a severe back injury sustained during my early experiences with yoga, I decided this morning to watch some sun salutations for beginners on YouTube.  Extraordinary!  So many practitioners and the range from excellent instruction to poor instruction became so immediately obvious and concerning to me. 

There are the instructors who have beautiful bodies and know how to do it themselves but have no idea how to impart the knowledge to a novice.  There are the athletic practitioners who don’t mention the inner qualities of yoga or even breathing.  There are the instructors who work in conference rooms, some in expensive private studios, some in the out of doors and others in their own homes.

What is clear is how many people decided to teach it because perhaps they love it but who are not good teachers at all.  They believe they are teaching (or perhaps they are simply exhibitionists who like making YouTube videos) but they are actually just reflecting the superficial qualities of yoga practice.

I couldn’t help but make the analogy to Meisner instructors.  So many people claiming to teach it who only present the superficial “appearance” of doing Meisner without having any clear understanding themselves of what something as simple as repetition is all about – forget about the advanced levels of Meisner training.

Once something becomes a fad everyone wants to make money off of it and most have no idea why they too shouldn’t be teaching it.  Here’s why.  You don’t know what you’re doing!  You’re trying to imitate something you’ve seen without having the substance, the core, the expertise to know what you’re doing.  You may not have even been great at it yourself.

When something works everyone wants a piece of the action.  So it’s no surprise that in a ten-year period the world went from having a few extraordinary Meisner teachers to having thousands of third-rate copycats. I get it.  Everyone wants to be a part of what is working.  And that is why we see so many people saying they teach yoga and so many people saying they teach Meisner.  (I know actors who were dismissed by Sandy who insist that they are true teachers of the approach because they studied with him.  Ridiculous!)  

So I’m going to continue to do my due diligence and watch and investigate and consider and make a thoughtful and informed decision about how and with whom I am going to study yoga with the second time around.

A MUST SEE! Herb and Dorothy

Megumi Sasaki’s documentary (2008) on art collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_and_Dorothy_Vogel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vma2T5luy08

It moves me beyond words.

From Wikipedia:

He worked nights as a clerk sorting mail for the United States Postal Service.  She as a librarian for the Brooklyn Public Library.

Early in their marriage, they took painting classes at New York University, but later gave up painting in favor of collecting. They had no children, lived very frugally, and shared their living space with fish, turtles, and cats named after famous painters.

The couple used Dorothy’s income to cover their living expenses and instead of eating in restaurants or travelling, they used Herb’s income, which peaked at $23,000 annually, for art. They didn’t buy for investment purposes, choosing only pieces they personally liked and could carry home on the subway or in a taxi. They bought directly from the artists, often paying in installments. Once, according to the Washington Post, they received a collage from environmental artist Christo in exchange for cat-sitting.

They amassed a collection of over 4,782 works which they displayed and also stored in closets and under the bed, in their rent-controlled one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Though their focus was mainly conceptual art and minimalist art, the collection also includes noteworthy post-minimalist work. Their collection eventually came to include work from artists such as pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, photographers Cindy Sherman and Lorna Simpson, minimalist Robert Mangold and post-minimalist Richard Tuttle.

In 1992, the Vogels decided to transfer the entire collection to the National Gallery of Art because it charges no admission, doesn’t sell donated works, and they wanted their art to belong to the public. 

I can hardly get my brain around this couple as they are the sorts of people I fear are becoming extinct from our world.  I am sad because I want to have known them.

 Yet my life has been enriched by their example.

QUOTES FROM THE DOCUMENTARY

They were “participating in the growing of a culture…”

“They gave up their lives for art.  They lived only for art, loving it and caring for it.  They are pure people.”

“There are no collectors in the world who would give their collection to a museum after they had sold their apartment on Park Avenue, their house in Aspen and their yacht and are left with only food money.  And that’s the Vogels.  There are no collectors anywhere in the world who have given everything they have.”

Dorothy Vogel:  “The minute it stops becoming fun we will stop.”

The Vogels show us how great life can be made.  They prove how little money matters in building and living a rich life grounded in the arts.  They remind us how empty the cult of celebrity is.

They could be overlooked by most people as they are passed on the street.  And here they are – perhaps the most important art collectors of all time.

I’ve been reading Andre Agassi’s autobiography.

Besides all the very interesting accounts of his life in Tennis, I am reminded of just how hard athletes must work to be the best – how extreme their sacrifices are, how much pain they must endure, how they must struggle to manage their feelings about themselves, the press and their competition, and how very important it is that they select the right team to support them.

It’s comforting to know this.  Because those who commit themselves to a career in the arts will have to make the same sacrifices and deal with the same hardships – IF they want to be the best. 

Of course many, many, don’t want to be the best – they don’t even want to be the best they can be.  They just want to be famous. (But this is not about those actors.  I’m not interested in them.)

While it has never been so true that ‘many are called, few are chosen,’ what I know to be true is that becoming a great actor still requires the same attributes as becoming a great athlete.  And I’m becoming less and less interested in students who just don’t care to become great.  They’ll settle for their friends and family telling them they were “awesome” even when their work is forgettable.

I am confident that the best artists among us (whether they are known on unknown) are just like our best athletes.  They have made the same sacrifices, experienced the same anguish, have had to reckon with the same inner demons, have felt pain beyond measure, have gone months if not years without a good win and yet have found the courage and stamina to continue on.  They continue to prepare for the moment of opportunity in their future when all of their skills will have to be mustered, and they are not delusional about how good they are going to have to be. They’re also willing to be the tortoise in a race full of hares.

It takes a tremendous amount of passion to be a great tennis player and as much passion to become a great actor.  Passion!  Not just motivation but passion, which comes from deep within. 

Many believe they have the passion but only a few will be able to couple that passion with the relentless work ethic and daily commitment to the repetitious skill-building activity that is required to produce strong muscles that cannot fail you. Few will be willing to put all their resources towards their career.  Few will be willing to give up their social lives in order to be rested for a class or rehearsal.  Few will be able to handle the criticism or tough love they need to become tough enough to survive a career in the arts. 

Many are called; few are chosen.  Even fewer are ever known.  But the few who dedicate their lives to getting better against the odds will achieve a tremendous and rare gift.  They will developed courage.  They will have confronted and accepted their own humanity. They will have gotten to know themselves well and be able to say “I’ve had a wonderful life.”

Make no mistake about it.  There will be costs.  So be thoughtful before you begin. 

Stop playing characters that aren't in your age range

Actors do themselves a disservice when they allow themselves to be cast in shows where they play characters significantly older or younger than what they can believably play.

The days are long gone when anyone over the age of 20 should be playing a 15-year old.  It’s embarrassing and doesn’t teach you A THING.  If the production team can’t find or doesn’t realize they should be casting people who ARE that age, you don’t want to work with them.  It speaks poorly of their acumen.  So say no and spend your time working towards something better.  This isn’t the way to build your resume.

I saw this a few months ago and it made us all uncomfortable to see how badly the actress was working in an attempt to fulfill the younger age requirement through really phony stereotypic characteristics.  There it is again – characteristics – they will always make you look bad.  Probably suggested by the very young director. 

Which reminds me, guys – work with people who have better and more experience than you.  Actors who take anything that comes their way just get worse. 

Respect for our Elders

Maybe it’s because I spent a lot of time around older adults when I was growing up but I get enraged when our senior citizens are patronized – especially when it’s my own father.

My experience is that they are frequently more intelligent, wiser, more progressive, braver, calmer, more assured, more open-minded and have better senses of humor than their 20-something counterparts. 

Our culture presumes that they are conservative and not really “with it” anymore.

Many, many years ago I saw a very “cutting-edge” movie with my Dad.  I felt embarrassed.  He turned to me when it was over and said, “I guess that movie would shock a lot of people."  He was completely calm.

I saw Albee’s "The Goat or Who is Sylvia?” with an audience of senior citizens at a Wednesday matinee.  They were not nearly as shocked as the cool and hip audience when I attended the show a second time. (Yes, I know this in New York City.)

They’ve been there. They’ve done that. 

We need to remember that age can make people better and that people still have mighty minds and might wills when they get old.  Not everyone shrivels up into a pale imitation of their better selves. 

Maybe this isn’t everyone’s experience.  It is mine.

Letter from a discouraged student and a little advice

from a former student who has just completed Tech I but not completed Tech II or III yet.

‘Wendy, I’m halfway through a rehearsal process and I’m feeling a bit discouraged. I’m not doing good work. When I’m on the verge of doing good work, they shut it down because they want cookie cutter. I’m feeling confused about how to work with directors and actors that aren’t Mesiner-trained. There’s a certain standard of work that I got used to while studying with you, and it’s scary how hard it is to find that elsewhere. I’m so ready for LA in July. I need more goodness. This fake shit is dragging me down. Any words of advice?’

Reply:

1.  Who is “they?” The other actors can’t tell you how to do your role.
2.  The director can tell you what he or she wants but you can fulfill that through reality of doing.  Don’t play the adjective. Do what will give the director the result.  If you’re told where to move or how to say a line, fine.  Do so.  You can deliver it with authenticity – louder, softer, etc.  Just find your way into that organically.  It’s a drag but you can do it.
3.  It doesn’t matter if they aren’t Meisner-trained.  It doesn’t matter if they can’t hear you. You can still listen.  Listen and really connect no matter how fake the other person is.  Just keep staying connected and doing what your character needs to do. Use reality of doing.
4.  Yes, come do more training because your skills aren’t strongly rooted enough yet to stop you from letting others lure you into bad work.  If you need to, schedule a Skype coaching session with me.
5.  You may not be doing as bad as you think.
6.  Don’t sweat it.  Who’s going to see it? You’re going to do some bad work in learning how to do good work.  You are talented and are going to become very, very competitive.  I’ll see you in LA.

Wendy