"Only the gentle are ever really strong."
-- James Dean
Tonight I find myself in soggy San Diego visiting one of my best friends... I've swept myself away from the city in body, but in soul I am still making sure that I'm putting myself out there. A simple 5 things and I'm sooo loving getting away! And what I've been reminded of in this one day is that there is a healthy mix of being ambitious and being gracious that creates breakthroughs...
1. Follow up. Over the past month, I'd reached out to this TV casting director twice and didn't hear back -- and as it's pilot season and she's cast some excellent shows -- I absolutely wanted to meet with her. She'd emailed me in the beginning of the year that she wanted to meet with me after a specific date. But when I emailed her and didn't hear back, I didn't know how or even if I should follow up. Then I talked to my super- talented, about-to-be-huge screenwriter friend and he said, "Kieren. We are artists. We HAVE to put ourselves out there." And be bold. Everyone who has ever succeeded in breaking glass walls, in truly inspiring others, in realizing giagantic dreams has had to keep knocking on the doors, keep practicing our craft. Keep reaching out and telling people what it is we want. Seeing if we can create something together.
So, I did go ahead and follow up. Through a friend -- the one who'd introduced me to her in the first place. Because I did not want to give up. But I did it with gratitude. Because the truth is I am always grateful when sometime takes the time to meet with me. To watch me and listen to me, to see what I came to here to do.
And she did get back to me. This morning. Because of my friend who forwarded my message to her. She emailed me her office number and her assistant' s name. She asked me to call her in two weeks. We are ON. Right in the midst of pilot season.
2. Turning a period into a comma. I have a brilliant idea of working with one of my favorite actors and friends. And when I put myself out there -- sooo nervous that I couldn't check my cellphone for the entitre afternoon after I did it. I checked and saw that he'd said he was no longer interested in working on the kind of project I'd asked him about. And first, when I got his message -- I was bummed. And I reached for the laptop and wanted to immediately be like a sad little hopeful pup. But then I decided to breathe and take a moment to think about what he'd said and how I would want to proceed. I stil haven't deicded yet, but I am determinded to turn what looks like a period into a comma. How can I continue this dialogue? Because this is my dream and I believe that we can create somethimg magical together. And I adore this person. And I would be honored to work with him. To learn from him. To be mentored by him. We shall see... I am breathing and thinking not of periods, but of commas... Always, commas...
3.Gentle Soul. I adore James Dean. I find him to be beautiful and so hartbreakingly honest as an actor. Hyper ambitious -- 3 Academy Award Nominations for the 3 movies he starred in. And yet, if you watch Rebel Without A Cause, there was this reckless, agressive spirit which was also equally vulnerable and poignant. It's the combination that has created stars that have lit up our darkest skies. MJ was the same way. I saw an interview where he spoke of breaking records like most people talk of ordering a latte, but he said it in the most childlike, awed way. Like he was this sweet child in the world's biggest candle shop. And sometimes I've thought -- maybe I should be more this or that -- like hardcore or aggressive or balls out. And what I always return to -- every moment of my life when I am a "first rate version of myself," as Audreyt Hepburn said -- is my gentle soul. This does not mean that I am not balls out or fighting for my dreams or being unstoppable.
It just means that I will never ever let the years or this town or anyone in it take away my gentle soul. Because ultimately I believe that this is precisely my soul that will make me shine.
Okay... my cyber-blades, I am off to spend some quality time with my friend. Continue to follow up, keep turning periods into commas, and hold onto your gentle souls...
The world needs more of us.