Wednesday, September 7, 2011

3. Be Open To The Possibilities

When putting together the nuts and bolts of this process-examination-blog-thingy here, I decided to include a list of my “Personal Process Guidelines” in the side-bar. I gave the list this prominent position in hopes that I will look at it every time I open up the site and be reminded of some of the things that I’ve learned about my process thus far.

Anyhoo, these Personal Process Guidelines are my ways… I’m sure you probably have your own list of stuff that works for you (written or unwritten), but these are mine and I feel the most natural in my process when I allow myself to do things in my own way (or “DO YOU” as my friend Josh says). Other people can “do them” and I’ll “do me” and we’ll all be happy-campers together, creating art and letting our freak-flags fly, right?… In a perfect world!

So today I’m focusing on one of my PPG’s, Be Open To The Possibilities, because tonight I am going meet and audition for ten tv/flim/theatre agents at The Actor’s Greenroom in NYC. “Whoa! Wait a minute, Wilcox? Agents? What for? I thought you wanted to get accepted to grad school this coming year and you’re so uber-stuck-on-the-idea that you even started a blog about it? How does this agent thing fit in?” Wow. You are very inquisitive and I appreciate you interest. Those are very good questions you are asking. I shall answer by sharing a little… 

Story time!!!

Okay, so a friend came to visit me this summer… we shall call this person Devil’s Advocate… and DA and I were talking about my grad school dreams, ya-da, ya-da, and DA ask’s me something like, “Well, V, what if grad school is not your path? I mean, what else would help attain you to your ultimate goal of building a life/career that will be joyful, sustainable, creatively fulfilling, profitable, challenging, of service and fun? Because, you know, grad school is not the ONLY way to make that happen. You’ve got to be open to the possibilities, V.”

My response in my head… juuust indignant, “Ugh. How can you say that to me? Don’t you know how much I want to go to grad school and how excited I am about it and how much energy I’ve put into the application process… for YEARS. You are crushing my dreams here! Why are you asking me hard questions? Not my path? Grrrrrrrr. Annoying.”

But then I ACTUALLY said, “Huh, I guess I haven’t really given it much thought lately. Another way to attain my ultimate goal without grad school? Hmmmmm.” And I reluctantly took DA’s advice and I honestly opened myself up to the possibilities and I thought about it for a minute and I was totally shocked by what came out of my mouth next... “Well, I suppose it would be really fantastic to get cast as a regular on one of those HBO TV shows that are so well-written and amazing. (And I started to laugh at myself here… totally embarrassed.) But that’s just IMPOSSIBLE.”

And DA looks at me with complete stone-faced seriousness and says, “Well, it’s definitely impossible if you think it is.”

Me = Speechless.

“So you’re putting all your energy into this grad school idea, but what are you doing to make the HBO thing happen.” My response in my head… “Ugggggh!!! Nothing! Clearly, ‘cause I didn’t even admit to myself that that was something that I wanted until 3 seconds ago. Grrrrrrr. Annoying.”

But then I ACTUALLY said, “I’ll think about it. Thank you.” I have found that sometimes the Universe (or God or whatever) likes to throw these curve-balls at me in the form of people, just when I’m getting too set in my current mindset.  Reminder to self: It’s why more important to focus on the “why” I want what I want and let the Universe work out the “how” it’s gonna happen.

And DA was right. Grad school is NOT the only path to a fulfilling career as an actor… (The world is full of TONS of amazing actors that did not attend NYU or Yale.) But I’m still going to audition for grad school. Trust and believe. There’s too much good learning to be had along the way down that path. Not giving up on that dream. (You’ll notice, “Give up” is not on the PPG list.)

So, cut to now.  I have thought about DA’s sage advice… a lot… as I tend to do. And I’ve decided to be open to the possibility of meeting an agent… now… or after grad school… or whenever. Because I really wasn’t open to it before… at all.

I mean, an agent from CAA could have been sitting next to me at a bar and said, “I think you are incredibly talented and a good person and I would like to represent you. Here, sign this contract (cha-ching!) in which I agree to get you awesome auditions for kick-ass projects in film/tv/theatre and you will agree to show-up prepared and give a great audition and we can both pay our rent and be creatively fulfilled and live happily ever after.”

And I would have been like, “Awwww! That is so sweet of you, but I haven’t gone to grad school yet, so… thanks so much for that, but you are not part of my pre-conceived life path, therefore you do not exist to me.” Yeah… that’s pretty much verbatim what I would have said.

But now that I’m open to the IDEA of having an agent… if I meet one that I totally hit it off with and it feels to me like we could fit as collaborative business partners… Then I will say, “Thank you, Universe.” Soooo, I’m scoping out the prospects tonight… just opening myself up to the possibility of meeting the love of my life… my future agent. 

But, I’m in no rush to make a commitment. And if he/she really loves me…  he/she will support me from a-far whilst I sharpen my creative sword at grad school… then when I graduate with my shiney MFA we can take the business by storm and start building our dream careers together! I’m not married to that plan though. Who knows how EXACTLY it’ll come together, but I do know that it WILL happen if I keep myself open to the possibilities…

Thanks, DA.




  1. You are, as you say, "singing to my soul" here! So good to hear your voice coming out in these blogs. I appreciate your honesty and full disclosure so much. Did you realize that while helping yourself, you'd be helping other people to?! Well... you think a lot, so maybe you did ;). If not, lemme clear that up right now. You are!

    I love how God/the Universe puts people in our paths. It's especially nuts when it's not even someone we KNOW. Sometimes they come to let us know we're on the right track. Other times it's to open our eyes to things we've been blind to. And at other moments, maybe to give voice to this little thing that's been inside of us that knows we've been heading the WRONG direction despite our best laid plans and intents. Whoever it comes from and for whatever reason, it is almost always unexpected, and a gift. Who knows, maybe this blog is one for me.

    I have a tendency to think I'm never ready to receive things- never prepared enough, haven't taken enough lessons, haven't put in as much time as so and so, etc. In some way, that's kind of what your DA was saying to you. Maybe, even without grad school, you are enough. Right now. Maybe what we THINK is impossible, is only so because we're in our own way. That is NOT to say don't apply. It's not to say you won't get in. It's not even to say that you wouldn't learn a ton. It is just that in this perpetual evolution, who's to say that even when you're done getting accepted to both Yale and NYU :), you decide on a program and graduate, that you'll feel prepared then? There will always be something more that we could do. How do we know the difference between the path we've chosen for ourselves and the Universe's path for us? Guess that's the point of this post ;) Anyhoo, I'll leave with a quote. It's one that spoke to me. Maybe it will say something to you as well.

    "I don't understand why you don't realize how great you are. You...put the time in, you rehearse, you dedicated your life to this artform. And you paid and you studied.You've EARNED the right. You've got to shake that polite thing off your shoulder, get out of your head, and get into your gift, ok?" - Laurieann Gibson


  2. Alexis!!! Thank you for taking the time to write this awesome comment. Your participation and enthusiasm are much appreciated and valued. It makes me feel so good to know that the blog is resonating with you in such a deep way. I love you, girl! Your insights are amazing. You are totally "getting into your gift." Keep singing...