Kids these days, I tell ya what.

High schoolers are terrifying.

I mean, do you remember being a teenager and ushered into the auditorium and having to sit through some presentation or assembly?

There is an inherent skepticism on the individual level, that proliferates in a room of other teenagers.  “What can this adult possibly tell me about myself that I ALREADY KNOW!?”  Ahem.  Maybe it’s that whole, you-don’t-realize-until-you-get-older….thing, but I remember feeling that way, and the first time I ever stepped onstage as a “grown up” for 1100 students for a Deana’s Educational Theatre show, I was reminded of how my peers and I felt “back in the day” about required school assemblies.  It made me feel a little nauseated.

After being with DET for almost three years, I can attest that it’s not always easy to garner the attention of an entire class of teenagers but it is certainly not impossible.  And YES it varies from school to school, town to town, state to state.  Seriously.

So over the past few days, some members of the company and myself rehearsed and presented a new show that’s in development, to a couple of groups of teenagers. Talk about intimidating.  Classroom setting!  Digital Age!  Short attention span! 

I really felt out of place generation-wise when I saw a sign that had a big X over a photo of ear buds.  “In MY day, in MY high school we had CD players, not these teeny inconspicuous ipods.” 

But something rather miraculous (strong choice of word I know) happened.  They were engaged during the entire presentation.  And they had TONS of feedback!  The parts we thought they would find corny, they fully accepted.  And they pointed out issues that we hadn’t really thought about. 

It was then that I also realized that these kids respected us, and maybe some of them even looked up to us.   Many of them also cared very much about the issue we were trying to address (cyberbullying) and gave us detailed responses.  Definitely encouraging.

I guess I kind of fell for stereotypes about teenagers, even though I’ve already been one. LAME.  And I guess these kids were already ahead of ME because they were completely open, accepting, and willing to help us help them.

sniff.  That is all.

Inspiration to be BRILLIANT!

In college, playwright, professor and overall awesome person Michael Bradford used to say to us “You all are so lucky.  You get to do what you love EVERY. DAY. Most people in the real world don’t get to act, direct, or design every day. But you do.”  And we’d all sigh, and lament behind our desks, dressed in sweatpants and smart-ass responses.

Here’s the thing…he was right!  Of course, graduating from college is great, and being on your own and all is…great. ahem. BUT it’s true.  the emphasis in college is on the craft, not on the business.  I’ve definitely learned the business side on my own, but that’s not the point.  The point is, we were invited to be imaginative, creative, and taught to find inspiration from past events in our lives, people we met, and the environment surrounding us.

When you get out on your own, sometimes it’s trickier to be inspired on your own.

Recently I sat down with a professor from college and two of my classmates from my Acting Class.  We weren’t really getting together for any other reason than to catch up.  Thomas, Glen (my classmates), and I have done a pretty good job at staying in touch.  But Ms. Jean had a ton of questions for us. What were we doing?  How were our social lives?  Were we happy?  What was our focus?

We talked about acting, theatre, film, politics, love, everything really.  It was only a span of a couple hours, but something happened.  We became inspired.  It made me realize that a lot of us had probably taken a lot of the creative energy that we were always surrounded by for granted.  At the same time, it was wonderful to meet up with people I’ve known for a long time and just talk about what’s making us tick these days. 

Thomas, Ms. Jean, myself, and Glen

I walked away from the lunch feeling very good about how far I’ve come since I graduated, but also with a sense that I have a very long road ahead of me.  It’s exciting and scary, all wrapped up in one. 

A couple days later, I get a call from Glen, and it turns out that he and Thomas want me to help out with their next project.  I’m very excited, naturally.  And the word Glen used to describe the meeting of the four of us?

Inspiring.

No matter what you do, or what field you’re in, I challenge you to find ways to become more inspired.  Feel like you’re in a rut?  Maybe an adjustment is needed.  A new environment, a break, a new group of people, whatever it is, find ways to break up your routine. You may surprise yourself.

What inspires you, blog-readers?