Funny things Kids Say

I am currently teaching a 7 week course of Acting to kids K-2 and 3rd-6th grade in Newington, CT.  Their energy and overall enthusiasm for just about everything – reminds me that life is pretty freaking awesome. and funny. very, very funny. PS if you are interested in bringing the program to your school or town:  http://www.performingartsprograms.biz

I gave my older students an improv to act out where one of them was the doctor and the other one was a patient.  The doctor had to convince the patient that she was fine, while the patient had to convince the doctor she was sick.  The diagnosis after a well played improv?  “You have a fish living in your stomach.  It is going to be painful, but you need to take the emergency bathroom pills in order to have it out…in no time.  Just don’t take it right now in the office.”

Brilliant.

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Student 1: Can you tell us something embarrassing that happened to you when you were acting?

Me: Oh. Sure. Um.  How about I get back to you on that.

Student 2: There must be SOMEthing you can tell us.

Me: OK. Oh. Do you guys know who Taylor Lautner is?  (silence).  From Twilight?  

Everyone: *murmurs of DUH and YEAH and He’s Jacob!*

Me: Well, one night on a movie set I was very tired from working until 2 in the morning. I walked onto the stage and I almost walked right into him.  He said ‘Hello’ and I made a face and walked the other way.

Various Students: WHY WOULD YOU DOOOO THAT?!

Me: I still don’t know!  I guess I was tired!

Student 2: Was it on TV?

Me: No.

Student 2: Then it’s not really that embarrassing then.

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Me: OK everyone, before you go I just need to assign your homework.

3 students: YAY I LOVE HOMEWORK!  (I have never heard a kid say that.  Ever).

Student 1 to me: I am going to give you a sticker for that!  (I got two stickers, by the way).

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These kids make me laugh all the time.  They are honest, smart, open, and the best part of all of it is helping them through the times when they get stuck. I notice with kids more and more even just in general settings that they feel that they need to explain all of their actions constantly.  I don’t know where this came from or if it’s always been this way.  But when I told two of my actors last night that they could feel free to create whatever they wanted in the scene and it would never be wrong, they looked at me, took it in and suddenly they were more natural, in the moment and saying some pretty hilarious stuff. 

While I don’t think I would ever want to teach anything to kids other than acting, it feels amazing to teach these kids about something I love that they may or may not pursue, but will definitely help them in the process of being stronger people who actively engage in the world around them.

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2014 and how I got here

I read this amazing, kick-in-the-ass blog from Talent Manager Jenn Lederer this morning.  I was having one of those weak actor moments on the couch, by the fire, wearing three layers of clothing, bundled up with my dog and sort of resenting myself for over-analyzing every move I am making in my career.  I also blame my inertia on winter weather and the arctic blast, but I’ll leave that to someone else to blah blah blog about.

Just then I decided to take moment of reprieve from my pity-fest and saw an email come in from Jenn Lederer that absolutely grabbed my attention and made me say, “Well that’s a weird coincidence,” considering I was going through exactly what she was detailing in her blog post.  The next words I read?  “don’t even get me started on coincidences, btw.”  

I had taken a seminar with her this summer that was extremely moving and encouraged me to just plow forward with my career in brave, new ways.  This email was a much-needed brush up.

You see, I normally go into a new year without TOO much of a plan.  Yes, I make vision boards (laugh if you want, but call me up and I will convince you to make one in less than 5 minutes) and yes I am all about working hard with goals in mind, but this was the first year EVER that I had already acquired employment in December as an actor for the first 8 months of the following year.  WHAT?!  All I could think was, “Gee, last year I did say I wanted to teach to supplement my income.  Gee, I did want to do this and that and this.   Maybe it’s all just working out.”  WELL, here’s the thing.  It’s important to remind ourselves that we  didn’t just magically end up where we are right now.  Whether it’s on the 100th floor of an office building, or sitting on the floor playing  games with kids, or driving cross-country to pursue our dreams.  No, we make our lives.

Jenn also points out in this fabulous blog post (yes I will provide a link so you can read it too) that we tend to think that the GOOD things in life just “happen” to us, while the bad things that happen to us are the only things that we are responsible for.  But what if we adopt the idea that WE are responsible for everything that “happens to us?”  And find the goodness in that!?  Holy crap, it’s a mega-mind shift.

Several years ago I was in an accident in which I was hit by a truck while crossing the street.  I had finally processed what had happened to me, and I was talking to my friend Jim Hetrick about it.  He said, “The thing that people don’t seem to realize is that everything in their lives…everything that happens to me, everything that happens to you, we bring it upon ourselves.  We attract it to us.”  I had JUST started to feel that was true, but I needed someone else to say it out loud.

Now I know what some of you may be thinking.  “I didn’t ask to lose my job!  I didn’t want a disease!” etc.  Yes, some EVENTS do happen in our lives that we do not personally control. BUT…what if you just accepted the idea that you have the power to change events in your lives?  That you weren’t just floating along through space?  Cause if that’s what you think, that’s what you get.

Obviously, I wasn’t thinking to myself “Gee, when will I get hit by a truck!  I really feel like eating some asphalt!”  BUT you know what I  WAS repeating to myself for YEARS?! “Nothing ever happens to me.  Nothing ever happens to me.  My life is so boring.” I was ungrateful and I needed a really huge wakeup call.  Well guess what?  Sometimes that’s why accidents happen!  And they aren’t coincidences…

Anyway, back to my worried self.  I thought about all the good things that are happening for me right now, and I decided to embrace them entirely as my own creation.  Then I spent an hour and a half laying out the groundwork for what I want in the new year.  Here’s what I ALREADY have laid out for myself this year:

Teaching Kids, ongoing acting as a patient at Yale Medical School,  shooting a short film, “Tracy on a Bench” with the magnificent John Henry Soto, releasing “Holding” for all the world to see, oh yeah…and going to Cannes Film Festival for a  production internship.

So I noticed that after the holidays I was feeling kinda down.  Like…what power do I have to actually shift my career to the next level?  When DUH, it hit me that I already am responsible for all of the great things I already have laid out for the year. And if I want more, I can go get it.  And obviously, I want more.

NO MORE EXCUSES.  NONE. ZERO. ZILCH.  No more thinking that good things just happen to me.  Cause I’m bringin it to myself!  And I wish you the same for 2014.

Also, check out the blog I was speaking of earlier (even if you aren’t an actor, this still applies to LIFE my friends).

http://jennlederer.com/blog/

Cheers.