How Actors Motivate and Unite Us – The Actor’s Role in Life as The Idealist.

“Something is stirring, shifting ground
It’s just begun
Edges are blurring, all around
And yesterday is done”

Our Time
MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG
Stephen Sondheim

Dr. Nicola Davies, a Senior Medical Writer with a PhD in Health Psychology, and BSc in Psychology wrote in 2012 that an “identifying trait” of an Idealist is:  “Their outlook on the future is always optimistic; the world can and will become a better place…”

Sixty-six years prior to Dr. Davies’s learned musings a songwriter—unable to write or read musical notation and possessing only two years of formal education—penned a tune for a community he knew well:

“There’s no people like show people, they smile when they are low…

You get word before the show has started that your favorite uncle died at dawn

Top of that, your pa and ma have parted, you’re broken-hearted, but you go on…”

Written for the musical Annie Get Your Gun, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” was composed by Russian-born immigrant, (Israel Baline) Irving Berlin. His “pa” died when Berlin was eight years old. As Berlin wrote, “but you go on,” Berlin he did despite many challenges to become an American master composer. His songs which include, “Blue Skies,” “Happy Holidays,” “White Christmas,” and “God Bless America” ring with an idealist’s optimism.

“There’s No Business Like Show Business” has become an unofficial anthem for an expansive ensemble of Idealists: show people. People committed to living their profession’s purpose to elevate and enrich the human spirit and condition. Placing “we” before “me.” We turn to show people for rejuvenation when our idealism is depleted.

Dr. Davies suggests we are drawn to Idealists, “because they will go out of their way to help people, and not just their friends.”

People of “show” play a role in protecting the “we” from deleterious mental health according to research.

Edgar Jones, professor of the history of medicine at King’s College released research on the effect of entertainment (show people) has on UK’s armed forces morale and psychological health during conflict. As reported by the BBC: “Professor Jones says studies show that as morale falls, psychological disorders rise…. ‘Morale is so important. It drives what you do and the way you do it. When morale falls off you lose determination, and that’s contagious,’ he said.”

During the COVID pandemic the morale of the world “fell off.” We turned to show people via our phones, computers, and TVs. Show people smiling despite their own morale being near mortally wounded. The business of show was (and nearly continues to be) decimated. To a point of there being no business to employ show people. Hollywood came to a standstill. Broadway, since March 2020, remains dark until at least the end of May 2021. Live, in-person, audience-attended, entertainment (theater, dance, music, comedy) is mostly in stasis. But within the ensemble of show people idealism/optimism persevered. Show people found new ways via video platforms to enrich and elevate our human spirit and condition. Creating solutions to challenges is necessary for the idealistic show person’s reality. Show people live a profession that encounters, almost daily, debilitating challenges professionally and personally. Yet many show people push forward with idealism.

Without show people’s idealism, its game over for them, and for the “we.”

Related: Being an Actor Means Maintaining Idealism

From the New & Expanded Edition of,

ACTING: Make It Your Business
– How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor

Chapter 2
Being An Actor – A Tough Love (excerpt, pg. 80)

Do you recall that initial flush of joy following the first audition you aced or during the applause of your first bow taken alone? When your first thoughts of being a professional actor had no obstacles? Possibilities seemed endless? That is idealism. Holding onto your early wonderment is the greatest perpetual challenge an actor faces. Lose your idealism and you lose yourself. Game over.

Idealism is both a burden and an asset on our journeys as artists. We must lug the load of enthusiasm upon our backs when the trail rises. And we ride idealism’s joys on leveling plains and gently rolling downgrades. Dismissive civilians, unsupportive family or friends, and criticizing peers often weigh down our idealism by loading on us doubt-provoking comments such as “What’ve I seen you in lately?” “How come you don’t have an agent?” “Why don’t you have a better agent?” “Why aren’t you famous?” and “When will you grow up and get a real life?”

But the dangerous comments that lessen an actor’s idealism come not from others but can come forth from within the actor. Thoughts like “What is my career?” “Where am I going?” “How much longer until I reach . . . wait . . . what am I reaching for?” “Do I know? I think so. But my sight is sometimes blurred by a blizzard of doubt.”

Doubt kills idealism. An actor must slaughter the assailing dissent before it murders your dreams. Kill the doubt. To keep your idealism alive—that joy you had when first beginning your career—you must cease thoughts, words, and actions that plot to diminish your wonder.

For any actor to succeed, he or she must recall during times of doubt why they first began acting as a journey. What was the lighted joy that sparked the imagination illuminating you forward? Idealism’s flame will flicker during gusts of despair. Protect the flame from crosswinds that threaten to extinguish the glow. No one else but you can keep lit the lantern that is your idealism.

ABOUT PAUL RUSSELL – PAUL RUSSELL CASTING

Paul Russell has been in the entertainment industry for over forty years as an award-winning casting director, director and the author of NEW & EXPANDED edition of ACTING: Make It Your Business. He’s cast for 20th Century Fox, HBO, Broadway, and regional theater. Featured in American Theatre Magazine, Paul has directed premiers, and at the Tony-award recognized Barter Theatre. He teaches master classes at university BFA and MFA actor training programs, and privately online with actors globally. Paul began his career in entertainment as a successful working actor.

Visit the NEW & EXPANDED edition of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor!
http://www.ActingMakeItYourBusiness.com

Visit Paul & Paul Russell Casting @ PaulRussell.net.

http://www.ActingMakeItYourBusiness.com

Anti—Mask Actors: Endangering Their Career, Industry & Society

#AntiMaskActorsHaveNoCharacter

Actors and masks. Actors have relied on masks for more than 3,500 years. Parading in the pageants of Ancient China. In Europe between the 16th to 18th centuries performing commedia dell’arte, a theatrical form reliant on masks. The union of actors and masks dominated Ancient Greek Theater, considered the cornerstone of modern western theater. Masks amplified the Greek actor’s voice and character. Two masks commonly utilized had a basis in Greek mythology. A mask symbolizing the Muse of Comedy. A mask symbolizing the Muse of Drama. These two masks paired form the universal emblem representing the profession of acting. Ironic that despite the iconic acting trade emblem there are anti-mask actors. Actors rejecting the wearing of a mask as protection during a pandemic crippling their business of acting. Anti-mask actors willfully endangering themselves and their industry. The anti-mask actors are not being asked to wear the non-porous wood, leather, or cork appliances which engulfed the faces of their thespian predecessors who performed in sunlight.  But a small, cloth mask. Covering only mouth and nose. An aide to protect the anti-mask actor from receiving or spreading a deadly virus.  As infection and death rates rise related to COVID anti-mask actors, who professionally traffic in fiction, choose in life to dismiss the reality of science recommending masks as a safety protocol.

An anti-mask actor recently shared on Facebook a post by an unidentified anti-mask author irresponsibly alleging, “the recommendations [for wearing masks] have never been about health or safety they are about control and compliance.”

The anti-mask actor added the hashtags #UncomfortableTruth #KeepingItReal.

What the anti-mask actor fails to recognize are these uncomfortable truths:

#UncomfortableTruthMasksSaveLives:

From:  World Health Organization, 10.9.2020

“Masks are a key measure to suppress transmission and save lives. Masks reduce potential exposure risk from an infected person whether they have symptoms or not. People wearing masks are protected from getting infected. Masks also prevent onward transmission when worn by a person who is infected.”

#UncomfortableTruthMaskUseInJapanControlledCovid:

From: Washington Post, 09.19.2020
As Infections Ebb, Japan Hopes It Has Cracked The Covid Code on Coexisting with The Virus

“TOKYO — There are no laws telling you what to do, but everyone knows the rules. Wear your mask, keep your distance, sanitize your hands, have your temperature checked. Don’t touch, don’t shout. Don’t cheer at soccer matches, and don’t scream on amusement park rides. (But if you catch the virus, it just might have been your fault.)…

“Months before the rest of the world woke up to masks and the dangers of confined spaces and dense crowds, Japan set out to find a way to live through the pandemic without a draconian lockdown…

“The virus…. spreading through microdroplets — not just through coughs, sneezes and contact, but in microparticles floating and circulating in the air, [is] what scientists call ‘aerosol transmission.’…

“Mask use was critical in containing a virus spreading through the air, while scientists concentrated on spotting and eliminating clusters of infection….”

(Aerosol spread of an exhale by a human not wearing a mask. Source: CNN)

#UncomfortableTruthCovidRatesRiseAfterTrumpRallies:

From: CNN, 10.29.2020
Many Counties that Hosted Trump Rallies had a Significant Increase in Covid-19 Cases

“A CNN investigation of 17 Trump campaign rallies finds that 14 of the host counties — 82% of them — had an increased rate of new Covid-19 cases one month after the rally.

“The 17 rallies occurred between August 17 and September 26. CNN evaluated the rate of new daily cases per 100,000 residents at four weeks before the rally, on the rally date, and four weeks after the rally at the county level and at the state level…

“CNN’s analysis also found that in 10 counties, the new rates of infection were growing faster than the overall rate for the state…

“Some of the rallies that were surveyed included the Trump campaign’s September 12 rally in Minden, Nevada. In the month before the rally, cases had begun to fall. But four weeks after the event, the rate of new cases in the county skyrocketed by 225%, outpacing the 74% increase the rest of the state experienced in the same time period…”

Uncomfortable truth: The chance for transmission is higher due in part due to lack of social distancing and many attendees not wearing face coverings. Trump rallies are attended largely by anti-maskers not wearing masks.

With few face masks and no social distancing to reduce the risk posed by the coronavirus, supporters wait for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump during a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport October 28, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The anti-mask actor claims her fiction is “keeping it real.” Here is keeping it real reality:

#KeepingItRealNoMasksMeansNoJobs:

Broadway is shut down until at least May 30, 2021. 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city.

Live entertainment nationally: theater, tours, performance in dance, concerts—any live performance attended by a large audience cannot occur until COVID within our borders is controlled and/or eradicated.

#KeepingItRealMaskWearingMeansMoreJobs:

From: SAG-AFTRA

“SAG-AFTRA’s Protocols Based on ‘The Safe Way Forward’ require that actors hired, go through multiple rounds of testing, quarantine before and after the contracted work, and that while on set when not being on-camera, masks must be worn.”

#KeepingItRealPandemicMeansGlobal:

Many anti-maskers are of an opinion that the COVID pandemic is a “scamdemic.” A conspiracy perpetrated by the U.S. Democratic Party during a presidential election so as to discredit the rival Republican occupying the Oval Office. COVID pandemic deniers don’t understand that a “pandemic” is basically a global epidemic — an epidemic that spreads to more than one continent. American COVID pandemic deniers explain away the 46.3 million COVID infections and related 1.2 million deaths globally by suggesting media and governments in all nations are co-conspirators aiding the U.S. Democratic Party. Russia with your 1.6 million COVID infections and 28K-plus deaths, are you listening?

World COVID rates as 10.31.2020 – U.S. rates in the aqua-blue.

#KeepingItRealMeansKeepingAntiMaskersReal:

Anti-maskers who believe that suggestions for, or mandates requiring, wearing a mask during a pandemic violates personal freedom, is unconstitutional, or a diabolical plot for control: a question. When you’re outside of your home and among the public as you shop, run errands, get take-out, or attend religious services: are you naked? If not, why do government mandates/ordinances requiring you to wear clothing covering your genitalia, and other areas of your body not violate your personal freedom?

#KeepingItRealSaveYourselfSaveTheWorldWearAMask!

ABOUT PAUL RUSSELL – PAUL RUSSELL CASTING

Paul Russell has been in the entertainment industry for over forty years as an award-winning casting director, director and the author of NEW & EXPANDED edition of ACTING: Make It Your Business. He’s cast for 20th Century Fox, HBO, Broadway, and regional theater. Featured in American Theatre Magazine, Paul has directed premiers, and at the Tony-award recognized Barter Theatre. He teaches master classes at university BFA and MFA actor training programs, and privately online with actors globally. Paul began his career in entertainment as a successful working actor.

Visit Paul & Paul Russell Casting @ PaulRussell.net.

Visit the NEW & EXPANDED edition of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor!
http://www.ActingMakeItYourBusiness.com