explore & enjoy.

#1 me, watching an actor work.
photo: Geoffrey Wade

#2 Matisse's "workroom" The Red Studio, where there are no hands on the clock & most everything is unreal but the art.

#3 A letter from Tennessee Williams a few weeks after he cast me in his Vieux Carre at the theater bearing his name in Key West. He died about one week before we started rehearsals.
photo: my iphone

#4 The cast of La Ronde, performed by my students in Antaeus' A2 company, directed by Young Ji.
photo: Geoffrey Wade

#5 The artist's studio from my production of Cousin Bette by Jeffery Hatcher, set design by Tom Buderwitz.
photo: Michele K. Short

#6 Click on the image to visit my WORKROOM board on Pinterest. &/or create one of your own!

are credited at the end of each blog post.

« Mastery & Optimism 9/18/12 | Main

Survival of the Creative-est  9/7/12

When I began my Workroom project I knew I wanted to create something different / dynamic / reflective of the varity of things I do.

I also wanted to challenge myself to learn things I didn't know. (For sure, something here about the dire urge in middle-age to remain cutting edge.) 

In the process, I discovered some of the newfangled things going on in the cyber world actually filled a need I already had. Example: like a lot of actors I've always collected articles & pics related to roles & craft -- both in print & from the internet. I love making character collages for acting roles. (Remember tear sheet files?) So, I was giddy to discover Pinterest as a place to save & share these things in an organized & beautiful way.

As well, for years, for no particular reason, I've scribbled, journeled, typed 120 WPM about acting, auditioning, performance, the creative process -- ostensibly fodder for another acting book tentatively titled Talent and Personality -- but really because it's the way I process & figure out my ideas about the work. Putting it down on paper kicks up my game as actor & acting coach & lets me find out what really matters to me. Anyway, I don't have much of a choice. I feel compelled to do it.

And then...along comes Tumblr, an easy way to publish, a "social" place to blog & follow blogs. The most difficult thing about blogging, I read, is coming up with enough content. Well, hello. Unbeknownst to me, I'd been preparing "content" for many years. (& I also have a backlog of dozens of essays about all the other things in life, along with maybe 30 short stories & 200 poems. hmmm...fiction/poetry blog next?)  

For a long time the internet & everything you could do with it seemed more suited to business than art. (Start with power point & excel spread sheets.) The new social media outlets seem to favor artists. (I'm especially interested right now in "MEDIUM" -- the new site for collections of all kinds that Twitter will soon be launching.)

Purists take heart: these new platforms don't really work for conformists, bankers & social climbers, or those greatly enamoured of the emperor's new clothes. It's real easy to see on these sites who's got it & who ain't. It's no longer about survival of the fittest or even the brainiest. I'm tempted to say this new era can be called survival of the creative-ests. The most talented will be the last ones standing. And not just in artistic fields. In human resources, in marketing, in management, in non-profit-ing. Creativity is welcome everywhere.

The curating-&-creating-combo skill set is one that actors are exceptionally adept at. I think of this as an arena for expressive people to create for the sheer joy of it. To enhance skills & craft. And, along the way, to connect with people on the same wave-length. (Oh, hell, why not say it? In order to take over the world. The lawyers, cheerleaders & sycophants have knocked it around long enough.) Most of all to do what real artists always want to do: reveal & share our essential selves. 

I'm just starting with all this stuff. "This stuff" meaning the enhancement of my artistic life & work via new media expression. I'm eager to hear from actors / theater artists about similiar experiences.

QUESTION: How have these new social media sites intersected with your creative work?

POST IMAGE: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's (1810) color wheel. It reflects his experimental findings regarding the oppositions inherent in complimentary colors. Goethe was interested in the psychological aspects of colors. Public domain

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Reader Comments (9)

Bravo Jeannie! It will be put to great use!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNikita Breznikov

This is my first visit to your page and I'm looking forward to reading more. I think the biggest intersection for me was learning through this new media how to build my own website for my acting work. I found a platform with lots of possibilities, Joomla, and learned through a one month free trial site, and through Joomla's Forums to put my site up in 30 days with only a hosting cost (about $6/month). And my site, which is now one year old, has become an invaluable tool to assist in opening new streams of creative work flow for me. Just this past week, I was contacted by a composer who wants me to do a recording of his work, and without my site, he may never have had access to listen to my prior recording work, or to contact me directly. By the way, in learning to use new media, you can find answers to almost anything in Community Forums - they are shared knowledge, by those with similar goals and intentions, who may be a few steps ahead of you on the learning curve. Another media plus, is being active in creative circles on Facebook, which for me has reminded old contacts to rehire me. Also, through new media, I've learned self-publishing (again, using the forums), and at no cost, I designed and published a book which grew out of a Tumblr page of writing that I began as a side hobby. It is remarkable what we can do these days, pretty much for free, to open new streams of creativity for ourselves, thanks to new media. Before this, we were often held back by lack of funds, and/or lack of access to skills, which are simpler to acquire at present. Now we can create our craft's necessary tools ourselves, and do it for a song.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Yacko

Thanks, Nikita. What are you working on these days?

September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterJeanie Hackett

Hi Robert -- glad you're here. Sounds like we're very much on the same journey. Looking forward to visiting your site. Yes, all this stuff affords us the ability not just to do the things we love, but to do them quicker and share them better. I am going to have to start using forums more often -- I really haven't used that resource much at all so I thank you for it!

September 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterJeanie Hackett

this is a beautiful site. i plan to look in on it regularly. inspiring. more anon. xoxo

September 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermimi lieber

Dear Jeanie, I am trailing you, off in the the distance. Thank you for including me on your email list. We only known each other from chance encounters at Antaeus and occasionally sitting next to one another at the bar at the Eclectic Cafe, I was first an actor, but now mostly produce theatre and direct. I've been a member of the The Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre over on Burback - six years on the Board, two years as President. I received my AEA card in 1959, as a Stage Manager in musical theatre and have participated in all areas of the business every since. I'm a graduate (many odd years ago) of Northwestern University. I provide all this so you get an idea of who I am, "a tip of the iceberg.". Oh, I'm also a close friend of Bonnie Snyder. I own the rights to several musical projects and I am currently working to bring them to fruition.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Alan Woody

Richard, thanks for connecting with me. Yes, of course I remember you! Please keep me in the loop of what you are working on, and I will appreciate hearing more from you here, in response to some of the things about acting & our theater biz that I will be putting out there. Hope you subscribed so that you'll get an email whenever I have something new up. Yes, & aren't we all wearers of many hats? I've grown to like it...

October 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterJeanie Hackett

Dear Jeanie,
What I love about your Workroom site,is it feels like a creative act in itself-it's how I think the creative mind seems to work,and most incredibly,how it LOOKS. !!!! I have always experienced acting as a combination of image and sound. While acting,either a word or phrase sounds in the inner ear,or a series of pictures flash across the inner eye and this is what moves you from one thing to another,and this string somehow becomes a performance-still a mystery after over 50 years of doing it. Your WORKROOM concretizes this process.
More please. With love,
Lawrence Pressman

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLawrence Pressman

Larry, what wonderful words to hear! You have so captured just what I was trying to do with this thing. Important to me was not to be linear in any way-- which I think is also how our minds work on "acting" -- there are quick jumps back & forth in time. Lightening connections. Nothing in a row. I revere your work, you are someone who I think is so completely connected to your gift. So your response means a great deal to me, my friend. Thank you. I hope you don't mind, I've shared it on FB.

October 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterJeanie Hackett

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