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“Do your own shit!”

October 1, 2013

Some of the best advice I have ever been given is to “do your own shit”. Collaboration and creation are really two of the best ways to do what you want and it’s ridiculous that I really haven’t done much of either until recently. Last weekend though, I got super-lucky and collaborated/created TWO projects in that 48 hour time span!

The first:  my theatre department hosts a 24 Hour Festival in which teams will decide to write/direct/act in ten minute plays in twenty-four hours. I’ve done this a few times now with great results—I even once wrote my own play about a garden gnome. Even when they turn out like shit, it’s worth doing because it is your own work and the time limit alone would get you out of your comfort zone.

I actually ended up “acting” in two different plays: in my actual 24 Hour project as an old lady and then in a friend’s play as one of the dead bodies lying onstage during the show. Every semester, our showings keep getting bigger—we had six plays and a full house to perform for! As lucky as I was to have this weekend, I was also super-busy:  I was trying to memorize three different scripts!

So as soon as the show was over, I hurried to change and get ready for a night of filming. I have a roommate who happens to be a Video major and who needed to make a short film for class—lucky for her, she lives with two theatre majors! Between us and another good friend of mine, we got together last weekend and then wrote, produced and acted in a short film of our own.

It was three pages of some of the best writing I’ve gotten to work with. Even better, this wasn’t a character written specifically for me. According to the script, I was “Eric”, a blond, slender man who happened to be a serial killer.

While the serial killing part was kept in, I really got to make this character who I re-imagined him/her to be—my interpretation was actually vastly different from what the writer has intended (not just gender-wise) and on the spot, the writer decided to stick with my version, even letting me improvise lines that didn’t fit the new Eric. I did my own shit and in this case, it worked out. And there was lots of joking going on-set. I got to see my roommate in her element as the Producer and my other roommate co-starred with me (…and borrowed my iPad to entertain herself while I was on-set).

(me, on set at my serial killing-hacker computer)

And that was the twenty-four hours that I was an old grandmother, a dead body and a serial killer. Come back next semester for another round! But for the next month, I have three more shit of my own to create and we are already almost halfway through the month!

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