Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sometimes Being Stupid Isn't A Bad Thing At All

My first play was produced nationally in 1964. (Or it might have been in 1965 or ’66. At the moment I don’t remember, and it doesn’t really matter.) I had been writing local TV shows for a few years, and a friend suggested that I could probably have a few produced as legitimate stage plays … for money. I found a list of agents at the local library, picked a few, and sent ‘em copies of a few plays. I got a letter from an agent living in Florida. She was interested in my writing, and asked for a copy of what I considered my best work. I sent her a copy of Another Dumb Ghost Story, and for a number of years she would send me checks. We had a wonderful relationship.

Emerging playwrights today scoff at me; saying that I was too simplistic – that a system such as I describe could not and would not possible work. This makes me nervous. Does that mean I should give the money back?

Recognize this actor? His name is Robert Lansing. When I knew him in the late 1950’s, he was a radio DJ working in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. We were involved in a local production of The Crucible, when he started talking about dropping out of radio, and doing a show on Broadway. Behind his back, everybody snickered at his naiveté. The play closed, he quit his job at the radio station, and a month later he was acting on Broadway. The following season he was starring in a TV series. In later years he would be featured in many other television programs, movies, plays, and blah blah blah. Somebody should have sat down with this man and told him he couldn’t DO this stuff – it doesn’t work that way.

Here’s what got me started along this chain of thought. I have a young friend who is a dancer. That is, she has taken lessons for years, and danced in school and church presentations. But she would like to do something more with her gift. With head shot and resume in hand, she just finished auditioning for Walt Disney World. Will she make it? No. Certainly not. She has everything in the world working against her. The problem is, she doesn’t know that. And BECAUSE she doesn’t know that, it wouldn’t surprise me to see her dancing in front of the magic castle any time now.

So here’s my point. Is there something you want to do? What’s stopping you?

1 comment:

Birdie said...

AAhhhhhh! Jack, your killing me here. I'm encouraged and frustrated by what you wrote. I am frightened AND motivated. (how could that be?) I'm also over 50! I also must see what God wnts of me. That's very important to me, although I know some people may scoff at it. But thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm grateful that God has put you in my life.