Hi. My name is Chris.
This is Actors Everywhere, and it’s a place that I try to collect my thoughts (and services) about art and theater.
I hope you read around with an open mind – I know that a lot of what I am talking about challenges some widely held perspectives and beliefs. I respect those beliefs, but I also think there are different ways to do things. Not necessarily better or worse, just different.
A bit of history
I was stupid and undisciplined once – failed out of college – so I joined the Air Force. After that I was at least disciplined, and knew I still wanted to serve. I was headed to the FBI – with an excellent military record and grades in a sought-after field of expertise, it seemed a perfect fit. In my last year at school, however, I watched a dance performance and had an honest-to-god epiphany. Having experienced it myself, it seemed to me that changing the world was better done through art, than government.
So I added a degree in Dramatic Arts, met a girl, and followed her to New York City to be an actor.
Like I said … disciplined. Still stupid, though.
I had no illusions about the odds, but naively thought they would be the only thing to overcome. I was unprepared for the shit-show that was the “business” of performance art.
It wasn’t the odds that were most problematic (I landed a leading role in a nationally touring show) – it was everything else. The lack of uniformity in the audition process. The lack of a viable business model for almost anyone other than Broadway. A willingness of performers to be taken advantage of, and the by-product of that: a cynical lack of professionalism and reliability. Not to mention a union that seemed … less than ideal (though not entirely without merit or benefit).
It seemed as though people were trying to make artistic success more difficult. There was a distinct lack of business acumen, and sometimes the wrong-headed notion that any consideration for business would have an irreparable, detrimental effect on the artistry. That “business” and “art” were fundamentally incompatible.
Change the game, don't let the game change you. -Shakespeare maybe, or Macklemore - one of those guys
The mission is to make smart art. The first step in that process is to make business approachable for artists, and artists respected by business.
We think the way to do that is to enhance and facilitate the relationship between artist and audience.
That doesn’t mean the primary focus is on the money – in fact, this business model has arisen out of a new creativity model. We use the audience-artist relationship to make MORE art, and to better expense that art.
Materiam superabat opus [the workmanship surpassed the material] Ovid
Money, space, time, resources – these are not limitations. They are creative inputs. Give an artist a billion dollars, a massive stage and all the time in the world, and you’ll get massive sets, huge choruses and all the lights and bells and whistles that exist. You’ll get it every time.
But give an artist a hundred bucks, two weeks and a basement, and watch the creativity unfold. When resources are scarce, human ingenuity climbs to the fore – and we are treated to the very limits of imagination and problem solving.
You never know what you’ll get, with that.
And that’s the art that interests me the most.