Amidst hugs and kisses, on New Year’s Eve, when I said the words “Happy New Year” to friends and colleagues, I had no idea how literal the phrase would become. Having new experiences and thus creating new memories is what makes life fulfilling. It makes you feel alive and as if you are actually moving forward. More importantly, “new” defeats boredom and helps bring to mind future possibilities for obtaining your happiness and growth as a person.
One of my most exciting new experiences this year was working as a comic actor/writer in New York. I did comic/character acting for a video for the band Genes and Machines as well as acting in a theatrical version of Vernon Reid’s Artificial Afrika during a three-week show run at Dixon Place in Manhattan.
When I went to New York, I was prepared to a do a job, just not the job I ended up doing. I wasn’t asked if I could act, I was simply told that I was an actor and given show times. My only prior experience doing improv on stage up to the point of acting at Dixon Place was a couple of comedy open mic nights and a night of musical/comedy/improv at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in NYC.
How did I feel about being thrown into the creative swimming pool without swimming lessons? Great. It was fear, excitement, anticipation and many other emotions rolled up in one. It was new and it was pretty far from my comfort zone as an artist; which means it was visible growth. Instead of seeing it as a handicap and not being able to showcase one of my stronger talents, I saw it as an opportunity to develop a talent that has been neglected and undeveloped.
When I first started working with Vernon Reid years ago, he said something to me that stuck with me to this day. Reid said, “Only the bold and the crazy and never the lazy”.
Don’t be afraid to try and do new things. The worse that can happen is that you’ll have a funny story about how you tried and failed. Time spent second-guessing is time wasted.