Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where Am I Going? Where Are You Going?

Last week before class, I was eating lunch with an improv classmate. He's 22 and on the verge of graduating from Northwestern, and we were discussing life in general. At one point he asked me why I'm in the conservatory program. "Why are you doing this," he asked repeatedly. He knew I was an intellectual of sorts, but at the same time he seemed to think I was wasting my natural abilities on just improv. I explained to him my job situation and my passion for improv and comedy, but he kept asking "why." Eventually he settled on my desire to write comedy professionally and possibly pursue a future in theater. He wasn't totally placated, but it was the best answer I could give him.

Less than fourteen months from now, I will be turning 30 years old. In a slightly less intimidating sense, I will be turning 29 in about seven weeks. I suppose I feel neurotic about my birthday because I thought I would be established at this point. That can be a loaded word, but that's how I feel. For all my accomplishments in improv, my burgeoning Twitter feed, not to mention a smattering of published articles, that pretty much sums up my first 5 1/2 years since graduating college. I feel like I've achieved a few things but accomplished so little at the same time. The career that I aspired for disintegrated a little over three years ago, and my current temp job is nowhere near a career. In the last year I've garnered two job interviews out of hundreds of job applications. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or if I'm just another member of an increasingly lost generation of Americans.

Judging from my accomplishments in the previous paragraph, one might assume my primary issue is a lack of motivation or direction. That is not totally true. Since my career in radio came to an abrupt halt I've been trying to parlay my improv "hobby" into something greater. I've been marketing myself as a comedy writer first and a comedic actor and improviser second. What people don't realize about improv is that there's very little money there; that ability to think on your feet and create scenes and situations from thin air is meant to progress into bigger and better things. My monologue-style jokes aside, most of what I've written lately has been based on scenes I've performed in class with my conservatory ensemble at Second City. I had some part in the creation of four short films in 2012, and though my 2013 output so far pales in comparison I'm still banging away on the keyboard. I have a better idea of how to market myself than I did two years ago.
In a nutshell, Rome wasn't built in a day. Some of us are late bloomers. As long as you're in my corner, I think I'll be alright.

Other notes:

+ So it turns out my father has B-Cell Lymphona. In a nutshell, it could be Hodgkin's Disease or it might not; it's literally 50/50. With that said, it was caught early and there is an 85% survival rate, so some type of radiation or chemotherapy is imminent. This will not be an easy path to take, but there's room for optimism. I'll keep you posted.

+ The NSA is tapping our phones?! Wow, I'm so shocked... in 2006. Heck, even Stephen Colbert was joking about it when he famously grilled President Bush at the White House Correspondents' Dinner that year. It scares me too, don't get me wrong, but at the same time our collective memory...

+ That was probably one of the best finishes to a hockey game I've ever seen. Congratulations again to the Blackhawks.


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