Disclaimer: I couldn’t come up with a good picture that really went along with this post. Sorry, just a whole lotta words and heads up, a couple of them are naughty…
Except for the occasional theater review, you may have noticed GTTP has been a little bit absent from the Blogosphere. (I’m sure you’ve all been breathlessly waiting for an explanation of where Jessica and GTTP has been). Well, lucky you, I feel like it is time to explain my absence. My other blog post today is all shiny happy with very exciting updates and, if you’d like to read that go ahead and skip this post entirely and see the shiny happy post here (ah the joys of simultaneous posting). But for those of you brave enough to embrace the darkness (heh. How ominous does that sound?), here’s the deal.
As you know from previous posting, last year was a bit of a crazy year (in a good way). GTTP (and in this instance the GTTP I’m referring to is yours truly) was up to its ears in productions. Starting with my directing gig at The Secret Theater, I went directly from directing The Day Job by Julia Blauvelt, into co-producing Cat Lady Without A Cat by Carrie Keskinen and then into directing and producing Jane Austen’s Persuasion by Laura Bultman, and right into directing and producing In The Ebb by Camilla Ammirati at the NY International Fringe Festival. Let me just say, that for as crazy as the schedule was, there is nothing quite as awesome as going from gig to gig to gig. It gives meaning to your life (or, in this case, my life) and it’s wonderful to know that you’re devoting all of your time and energy to the one thing that you know – completely know down in your boney bone bones – you were put on this earth to do. So that? Was awesome! …end of post.
Heh. Ok, not end of post. There was a downside. And here it is, gentle readers. Just because I know that I was put on this earth to direct (and produce) it doesn’t mean the universe recognizes it. And there was this tricky little thing with going from gig to gig to gig…and it’s that same tricky little thing that plagues all of us “starving” artists. That’s right, folks. Say it with me. Money. In that, there is none. No that’s not true. I have the most AMAZING supporters, which is to say all of you. I am WELL aware and INCREDIBLY appreciative of the way all of you have pitched in with money, time, encouragement and general support over the years. There’s nothing quite so wonderful as saying, “huh, how am I going to come up with x amount of money for this show?” and then checking Rockethub and seeing that x amount money has showed up from donors. It is a wonderful and amazing thing. But, unfortunately, for what I’m trying to do, it’s not enough. Don’t get me wrong, I know your hard earned cash is exactly that and you need to give what you’re comfortable giving and I’m not trying to imply that your generosity isn’t appreciated. No, on the contrary, it is EVERYTHING and it is a perfect launching off point. But, what I’ve been realizing, the longer I do this, is that we need more and we need bigger. Money and audiences, that is. In order to get to the place that I might one day make a living at this, we need to make that jump from small company surviving on individual donations into a company that makes its money through grants, or corporate sponsorship, or investors or all of the above…we need to jump.
This need was particularly noticeable last fall when I was hoping we were making that jump. I finished The Fringe Festival, completely ready for one of two things to happen, either – some variation of the pipe dream – someone of influence, someone with money, would have seen In the Ebb and decided he or she wanted to be GTTP’s patron or I’d get a directing agent who would launch me into a world of gigs for which I would get recognition and get paid a real salary and that salary would, in turn, enable me to subsidize my GTTP work or we’d get so noticed and so well reviewed that we would be instantly skyrocketed to fame and success (or at least to a budget level that would allow for a decent salary for all involved) and I’d get help in making GTTP really happen – OR – (more likely) I would go back to my 4 day jobs for 4 months, make some money, expand the ensemble, and come back in the spring for our next show, which would be a contributing factor to that jump happening, like now.
But here’s what happened…nada. No, that’s not exactly true, I did expand the company and we are now an ensemble of 28 artists and technicians and you can read about that in the other blog post (you know, the shiny happy one). But, except for that, nothing happened. No pipe dream, and no day job (there just wasn’t much work for me last fall). So I spent a few months trying to figure out what I should have done differently and what I could do differently in the future to make sure that that jump I was talking about earlier, would — no, will — happen.
Because, here’s the thing, I’m tired. I mean it. It’s exhausting to keep pushing, to keep going. It’s tiring to keep telling yourself, “no no, it WILL happen.” Leading up to Fringe, (as I have with every single production) I REALLY tried not to get my hopes up. I really tried not to let myself even imagine the pipe dream stuff. I REALLY REALLY did (and in my family when you say “really really” you can not lie). I kept telling myself, “Jessica, pipe dreams don’t happen in real life. This ain’t an episode of Smash. If you want something to happen you need to put in the work. You need to keep pushing. You need to persevere and, in the end you need to MAKE it happen. Because no one is going to give it to you. No one is going to do it for you.” I can’t tell you how many times over the past five years I’ve told myself some variation of exactly that. Seriously, it’s like a daily affirmation. Because you need to keep that pipe dream shit in check. So I stomped down on any of the, “but maybe what will happen is Steven Spielberg will be in NY and decide he wants to take in a Fringe show and he’ll see In the Ebb, and he’ll think, “wow, this show is something! This director is SOMETHING! Let me see what else she’s got!”" I stomped down HARD. At least I thought I did.
What actually happened though – Deep down, way way down deep, there was this Little Dreamer who just kept holding on to that pipe dream. Eyes screwed shut, shaking her head, knuckles white with holding on so hard, she just kept whispering, “I know all of that stuff Ms. Strong Realistic Conscious Mind. But you’re wrong, because I’ve been doing this for awhile and sooner or later, pipe dream has to happen. Sooner or later something’s going to give and the end result will be pipe dream. I know it.” It turns out that Little Dreamer is kind of an asshole, because what happened in September, and then October, and then November, when I realized that no manifestation of pipe dream was actually going to happen, I shut down and crawled into a state of hibernation. I didn’t realize it at the time, when I kept telling my friends and family, “yeah, I’m a little bit blue, but really I’m fine” that I was lying. It turns out that I wasn’t just a little bit blue, I was a little bit broken.
And it turns out I needed the last five months (WOW, I can not beLIEVE I wasted five whole months) to let that stuff work itself out. So that’s where I’ve been…that’s where GTTP has been…working stuff out. Sometimes, working stuff out looked like watching crap TV shows on my computer while playing video games on the TV. And sometimes working stuff out looked like playing on Facebook. And sometimes working stuff out looked like reading the final book of a fantasy series 20 years in the making, but whatever form of escape it looked like, it really really was working stuff out, because just within the last few weeks? I feel better. I feel eager. I feel recharged. I have to do lists and tasks and half started projects (which I rotate through daily) all over my desktop. I’m not really sure what I did to fix it, or heal or whatever, but the one thing I did do, as I sat there thinking, “Geez, Jess, you have GOT to get working again. You have to update your blog. or Work on your next project. or Get a new fundraising drive going. or SOMETHING!” The one thing I did do was listen once again to that Little Dreamer who said, “wait. Not yet. Lick your wounds. Heal. Listen to the dream again. Find the strength to keep going.” Because, she may be an asshole, and she may be melodramatic, but also? She knows of what she speaks.
Keep going on this journey. It will be worth it. Keep going on this path. There are rewards to come. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. So I will. You wanna come too?