Friday, March 07, 2008

The Young and the Restless

Thanks to all those who explained their viewpoints concerning art as a job -- I think I understand better now. The more I read, the more a pattern started to emerge -- one with which I totally identify.

RZ/GreyZelda wrote: "I know that Don, Tony and myself feel like we do have lives that accompany all of these things. We're living in it, I guess ... my friends, husband, etc are all a part of my theatrical circle and I've met most of them through theatre. The only difference from the utopia you describe is that we're creating art (all with our own theatre companies that we all helped found, mind you) and making money during the day through an alternative source, aka "the day job". Maybe that'll change someday, but it's what's working for a lot of us right now. We're thankful for the jobs we have because it helps fund our work a lot of the time."

devilvet wrote: "The fact that I have a day job that provides me a salary in the high forties empowers me more to make theatre than quiting that job and selling t-shirts with my brand on it. Or trying to find a way to construct and market a class or workshop to sell to corporate America."

And Don is in a similar situation -- he's forty with his own company, a spouse who works with him on shows, and a good job that pays him well. All three of them are established, and have lives they enjoy.

On the other hand, many of those who seem most enthusiastic about the model I'm working on are just out of undergraduate or graduate school, and are often working day jobs that are not challenging or using their abilities. They don't have much stuff yet, and they're trying to figure out how to get a chance to do their work.

All of which is to say, the theatre tribe model may be a model for young people! Full disclosure: like RZ, devilvet, and Don, I have my life well established: I have a job that I love, and a life that I love as well. For those of you who have asked me whether I consider myself an artist -- no, I don't; I am a teacher who does theatre as an extension of teaching. For those of you who have asked why I haven't gone out and created a theatre on this model myself, the reason is that I am a teacher who has worked really hard to get my life exactly how I want it. I'm not an artist wannabe. I'm Obi Wan, not Luke Skywalker. In archetype-speak, I am the Mentor, not the Hero.

But even if I were an artist wannabe, at this stage of my life, if I had a job I liked reasonably well and a lifestyle that suited me, I probably wouldn't start all over. But when I think back to my 20s when I was struggling as a freelance director in Minneapolis while working a miserable job in a restaurant supply company and renting an apartment with crumbling plaster, when I had few major expenses and not a lot of debt -- well, the possibility of a theatre tribe might have been pretty attractive.

I don't think theatre tribes are a universal solution to what ails theatre. I'm not proposing that everybody chuck what they're doing and do this instead. If you are happy where you are and doing what you're doing, then for God's sake don't abandon it all to follow this circus. This bus ain't for you.

Back on February 27th, Joe at "Butts in Seats" posted about a listening tour that Building Movement did in 2004 that looked at young people in the non-profit sector. One thing they noticed, he wrote, is that "the younger generation is interested in balancing their lives rather than devoting so much of themselves to the job as their predecessors have done. Both also discuss the eagerness of the younger generation to participate in substantive decision making and responsibilities." I have noticed this as well. For the past couple years, I have noticed a trend in students on this campus -- not just in my department, but across the university. They are much more focused on the local, on their communities; they are much more interested in achieving a balanced life that includes a variety of people and experiences; and they want to contribute to what they are doing in substantive ways. For this generation, the generation that turned Ishmael into a cult classic (it was only a few years ago that I was seeing stenciled images of gorillas scattered around Asheville on the sides of buildings), an occupational tribe might be a better model than the one that those of us who are older are used to.

Remember, as a college professor my main concern every day is with young people. When I think about the health of the American theatre, I don't think in terms of the all-star cast of Long Day's Journey Into Night on Broadway, or even Mike Daisey's 41-year-old Seattle actress; I think about young people in their 20s who make the trek to NY, LA, or Chicago not because they want to, but because that's where they think they have to go. Every May, when I sit in my regalia and applaud another half dozen of my students who are going out into the world, I worry about how their talents are going to fit into the current system. I know that my colleagues and I tried to educate artists, and I worry that what the system wants are trained entertainers.

And so I decided to try to create an alternative, a way for intelligent, committed young people to band together and create art while maintaining control, as much as possible, over as many aspects of their lives as possible; that would allow them to achieve balance, and contribute to their communities. It's a New World Order much different than what George H. W. Bush imagined, and much different than those of us in our 30s and 40s comprehend. I think when you are in your 20s is when you should be practicing your art as much as possible, trying things out and learning how the magic of theatre works. Being in front of an audience, hearing your words spoken by actors, figuring out new ways to design, direct, act, and write. It is my hope that the theatre tribe model might be a way for young people to acquire this valuable experience, and live a life they find satisfying.

But it may not be a good model for people like me, Don, RZ, or devilvet. Moses never actuallt set foot in the Promised Land, but he pointed the way with a vision. I'm no Moses, but in some ways I'm doing something similar.

24 comments:

RVCBard said...

This post really spoke to me.

I'm 27 years old, vastly underemployed, and smitten with the theater bug. For me, it doesn't matter if I work 70 hours a week as long as I love it and I'm paid enough so I don't have to worry about my next check (Unfortunately, I'm one of those people thrust into that eternal catch-22 of work and experience.).

GreyZelda Land said...

Durn it ... I turned 31 this year ... I'm going over that hill. Heh heh. And, yes ... a lot of the people I consider my peers these days are past their 20's.

Thanks for writing this post!

RZ

Anonymous said...

I dont know Scott.

I'm sure this wasn't your intent, but this post moreso than others really upsets me.

Why? becuase I think that the University setting that you are currently comfortable with (at least from the point of your own economics) is the primary culprit in the tragedy of so many of those students that leave for NYLACHI.

I also am very fearful of the notion of replacing one student pipe dream (making it in the big city) with another (communal/artistic life in a rural environ is more sustainable and more economically fesible and desireable than living in NYLACHI).

I'm going to say something that I hope you wont take personally, but if you really want to help these kids, get them out of the universities or change the university dramatically. Don't let them incur 5 to 6 figures of debt before they even test the resolve they may or may not have in the business of theatre.

Don't let them lose money and resource learning how to act better ot read better or intrepret better. All skills that have no objective way of being measuable.

I'd like to suggest some things...if the goal is helping the kids

1) Create a 'virtual' environment for them where they have paid out of a virtual 'budget' for things like ad space, rehearsal and venue costs, insurance, salaries, etc.etc. Do not let one student direct a production or act on stage until they have mastered this class.

2) Every student should know the ins and outs of artistic life and taxes/civics...how to file as an artist, what that means, how to get 501c3, how to deal with permits, etc. They should all be learning how to fundraise, yes even the actors. No acting or directing until you have demonstrated that you have an understanding.

3) Most students I know left school with little clerical skill, the end up waiting tables becuase all they know about the business world they learned from "the Office"...make sure every one of them has an advanced understanding of word, excel, powerpoint, access, etc. etc. etc. Most of them haven't learned how to read a contract.

4) Don't let them hang one poster for a show on the school ground, make them learn about real promotion, make them write press releases, make them court the local press, etc. etc.

All of this would serve them much more than pointing to a tribal model like the Neo-Futurists who yes are almost an exmaple of what you are talking about, but how may of them are not working a day job? Out of the rotating dozen or so, maybe 2?

I'm not advocating crushing anyones dream but they need to learn how to dream around the dream...

And, I am not attempting to level some sort of blame at you Scott.

My fear is that we end up replacing one pipe dream for another. All while speaking eloquently about the grace of good intent.

-dv

Don Hall said...

I don't think we're all so far off the mark from each other.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the tribal concept - my experience is that most early tribes end up becoming the corporations anyway (some exceptions, of course). Steppenwolf started as a tribe and is now an institution, using the corporatist business plan with abandon.

For me, the one thing we aren't advising is that there is nothing wrong (and, apparently, a lot to be said for) with the day job/night artistic life if you find a day job that fulfills you.

No matter what you choose to for a living wage, you will always find some resentment that it doesn't afford you more opportunities to do other things (including professional theater types). If you can manage to find a way to make rent and food money and get some sort of form of health insurance doing something that utilizes your unique skills and proclivities, you win.

So, I'd submit that it isn't the "I can't get paid doing theater" complaints that grate - it is the "I hate my day job" mantra that is the most easily remedied.

GreyZelda Land said...

Good stuff, DV.

"They need to learn how to dream around the dream."

Exactly.

And you hit on what sometimes does, indeed, scare me about these posts (additionally answering Mary's questions) are that I see some of these Scott-proclaimed "young people" nodding their heads thinking it's the magic bean. He's speaking to the "young people" ... because fogies like Don, DV and I enjoy questioning and figuring things out for ourselves. We have become empowered.

But, Scott, I do like that you acknowledged you didn't want to be an artist and you were happy in the professor seat.

When I decided to drop out of grad school, it was one of the best decisions I made for myself and it set me on the road I've been traveling since. I was 23. And I haven't changed that much other than learning the knocks of producing and creating theatre in Chicago.

GreyZelda Land said...

And, no ... I didn't mean to belittle anyone.

I just read it and certain phrases jump out with a few sharp edges.

I'm just saying ... I really like what DV just said.

RZ

Scott Walters said...

This is just fascinating. So now one of the issues is that trying to create an alternate model is "scary" because it might give young people hope? Is that really what I am hearing you say, dv and RZ? Because that is a level of cynicism that I can't really comprehend, much less address.

And no, I am not speaking to young people because "fogies like Don, DV and I enjoy questioning and figuring things out for ourselves." I am speaking to them because (as I said in this post) if you have gotten to your 30s or 40s and are still in the game, then the transition to another mode of working is a much bigger thing.

dv -- you're damn right that the university is responsible for the tragedy of all those students thinking they have to go to Nylachi. The university is filled with MFA's who have been trained to think of theatre in traditional terms, and to think otherwise is to go WAY outside the box. Instead, they teach students what they think are survival skills: they teasch them all the audition skills Shurtleff has to offer, and they teach them how to write their resume, and they get them auditions for agents, and they arrange a photographer to take resume photos for them, and they introduce them to "Variety" and "Show Business," and they teach them all the ins and outs of the Biz. And by doing that, they teach the young people to see themselves as tools, as "Music and the Mirror" beggars who go like lemmings over the Nylachi cliff. And I have ethical problems with that.

But here's the weird thing: here I am, a university professor thinking about a non-Nylachi, empowered way of doing things, and you're doing your best to discount the ideas. Now, make sense of that for me. Yes, those skills you mention SHOULD be part of a theatre education (OK, except that the Microsoft Office skills are a mere starting point -- all they do is set you up to be a temp, which really isn't that much better than being a waiter, and probably pays worse when all is said and done). In fact, learning to be IN CONTROL of one's own work life is what this model is about. So what's the problem? That it differs in some small way from your own approach?

I think we have a fundamental disagreement: you think that the day job + theatre model is the best way of having a full and rich life, and I think there might be another way that works better for some people. So where's the problem? There's questioning, and then there is destroying any attempt to go beyond the status quo. And the three of you seem to be crossing over that line.

I have made no claim that theatre tribes are the "magic bean." I repeatedly say that it is pure conjecture, a thought experiment if you will. But what I have been saying is that we've tried the current bean, and for many people it isn't working. For those people, it makes sense to seek something new, rather than simply giving up.

I think this is a HUGE country with a lot of people who don't have access to theatre. To me, that looks like opportunity, and I'm trying to figure out how to best take advantage of that opportunity.

Paul Rekk said...

I've been lurking less than commenting because it's already been established that the tribe model Scott speaks of is not for me. (Incidentally, being 25, I would qualify as one of the "young people". AND I initially came to Chicago because that's where the theatre was. AND I'm temping right now. Three strikes, Scott? Seriously though, I kid.) But since we've got an open dialogue going, why the hell not...

I have seriously problems with the whole affair for a similar reason as dv. All we're doing is making something else to rail against. Which, as one who prefers the railing, I'm all for, but we've focused on institutionalizing it before it's even been born.

In the past few months I've watched the theatre blogosphere go from a scattershot whirlwind of ideas, arguments and whatever people were randomly feeling that day to a collected force powering forward to determine a consensus, or at least a semblance of understanding, towards this one goal, this tribal model. And suddenly the blogosphere is topically unified and exciting (or at least interesting) for everyone taking a stake in that topic.

And for everyone not taking a stake in the topic, it's quite boring.

Find a model that works for yourself, by all means. But EVERYTHING as of late has been about the model and NOTHING has been about the work. This has become a movement towards the how, not the what. And that leaves the whole affair much closer to the Nylachi setup than anyone seems to want to point out.

To expand on something Don said: "For me, the one thing we aren't advising is that there is nothing wrong (and, apparently, a lot to be said for) with the day job/night artistic life if you find a day job that fulfills you."

I know I sometimes sound a broken record with the 'different strokes' bottom line, but there's nothing wrong with any setup that fulfills you. That is the message that seems to be getting mucked up. These (Us?) young people don't need to be taught to go to Nylachi or to be taught to go regionally. They (We?) don't need to be taught to embrace school or to avoid it. What's important is that during the formative years, a student learns to do what is important to them and to know why it's important to them. That's the only way they will continue to do so after the formative years (if there is such a thing as 'after'). We don't need an alternative to Nylachi; it's already there -- the world's already full of them. We need people who will embrace them (them, not it).

That's what's going on here, yes. And it's a tricky line, because I know Scott's not trying to start a new institution. But when everyone jumps on board or at least devotes this much time to it, that's what happens, and that's something I actively try to avoid.

There. Said my piece. Pardon the rambling. And since I know everyone's on this boat, some focus on the what (i.e. a shameless plug) to end the day -- all you Chicago folks need to come see Adam Rapp's Faster at the side project. We rock, if I do say so myself. More info and industry tix are at www.thesideproject.net

Anonymous said...

"This is just fascinating. So now one of the issues is that trying to create an alternate model is "scary" because it might give young people hope? Is that really what I am hearing you say, dv and RZ? Because that is a level of cynicism that I can't really comprehend, much less address."

Hmmm...well hope is a good thing...it is half the battle...and it is half that I think you are forging through well...but to be blunt we are little heavy on hope, we now need to balance it out with some results.

I wish you could hear what I am saying. I'm saying that all the hope for a tribal model is not just scary, but deterimental unless the hope turns into success.

That is why I hold up the model of Neo-Futurists (a great arts org by the way thumbs up to you guys) as actually an example of how tribal model doesn't alleivate the need for the day job.

And, say what you want...there has been alot alot alot of condemnation of the day job (as a concept) on this site's posts and comments. And, if you are trying to tell these kids that they are going to be able to sustain themselves, their families, pay their hospital bills, all the while not necessarily working a day job on the side, but by finding creative appraoches to how to sell their theatrical skills in the marketplace as workshops or what have you...I need a couple examples of previous folks who succeeded. In fact name one art tribe where 50% of the tribe didn;t have to work a non theatre job on the side.

The 500 clown and neo-futurist models (both by the way in the CHI of NYLACHI) don't work, becuase despite their successes...don;t they all or most still have to have some non art on the side to buy the baby milk? Aren't they still living in that same roach infested studio apartment you keep talking about?

Can you name me one? One-non corporate producing theater performance organization where there is a tribe (not of two like Daisey's but lets say double digits)...where they have succeeded not just in a thriving org but also in not having to supplement income with work by members else where?

Hope can be good, but hope can also suck especially false hope.

So Moses, when I ask where is the water, it is becuase I look at the dusty stones and don;t see no water. I am waiting for you or someone else to strike the earth with your staff and produce the water.

And, alot of demonization for lack of a better term of NYLACHI also has been on this site. This whole spin of two concurrent parallel models operating benevloent to each other that you're talking about above is fine, but I don;t recall it being espoused a whole lot in the past on this site.

I feel like everytime I clear my throat metaphoriclly and ask a pointed question or comment why a certain element doesn't seem fessible...well then dv you are just throwing out the baby with the bathwater aren;t you?

I would wish that you'd remember that the reason I even asked for the 250 word challenge is that I see some potential great value in changing the model.

Still though, I can't ignore the points that bother me. I hestiated like crazy to write any of ths too you, becuase I feel like when I give even a little push back I am some how making you pull your hair out in anger.

When I doubt it is not merely for the sake of doubting. It is becuase my experience prompts me to asking questions.

-dv

Scott Walters said...

Paul -- I must admit, I have been as amazed as you about the amount of attention this topic has received. I had hoped that those who were interested would continue to read and contribute to my exploration, but I must admit to being puzzled by the number of people who feel the need to argue that they're happy as a clam thank you very much and everybody else ought to just suck it up and get over it.

My blog represents one among dozens of blogs devoted to theatre. It is my intention to attempt to use mine to develop a single idea all the way through. I will rely on my fellow bloggers to provide information about existing work. I'm certain that attention will soon drift away once people realize that proposing a new model doesn't mean I'm bashing the way they do things. It is my hope that those who would like to hear more, and would like to help me explore ideas and opportnities, will keep tuning in.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

I agree with you on response to Paul. I am not asking for silence...

but, I can't just say

"Yes, And..."

sometimes I got to say

"Yes, but..."

-dv

NGale said...

Standard disclaimers apply: not meant to be cutting or overly acidic, demeaning, or elitist, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah.

I keep hitting these topics as they are wilting, torn between active and archive. And I feel like a broken record, too, even with my whopping three posts.

Our hive is made of 29-36 year olds, so we fall on the high end of the fogey-scale. However, the hive formed almost 15 years ago, back in our pre-fogey days. We came together to rob from the rich and give to the theater, and we're still doing it today. We're not alone; this is happening everywhere, and has been for quite some time.

Paul, you've got my frustrations nailed with your comment about the hows rather than the whats.

Scott, I think the "scary" aspect of these models lie in the fact that you've got to get off of your own butt and do something. No excuses, no institutional scapegoats, no whining. If you fall, you fall; you've got to be strong enough to pick yourself up. If you can't, then get out of the game and out of my way, because I've got a performance tonight...

Paul Rekk said...

Cool beans, Scott. Keep doin' your damn thing. I'll do the same. Just thought I'd make the rare appearance.

I do find it interesting, however, that almost all the rumbling is coming from Chicago folk. It would make for an interesting study in the differences between Ny La and Chi and just how (dis?)similar the environments actually are.

Scott Walters said...

dv -- The Neo-Futurists were used by Daniel Quinn as a model of a tribe, and in his description he acknowledged that most were making living expenses outside of their theatre work. What he pointed to was the egalitarian structure of the organization. I also believe that I said that I was pushing the envelope beyond the Neo-Futurist model, precisely because of the reliance on day jobs.

I suppose I might point at something like Bread and Puppet Theatre, or Theatre du Soleil as examples, but not really. Bread and Puppet is more of a commune as well as an occupational tribe, and I wouldn't like to use it precisely for that reason. Theatre du Soleil seems to have characteristics, but I don't know enough about its early days to say.

But the need for me to pull a rabbit out of my hat and provide an example of an already-existing theatre that is following theatre tribe ideas is sort of irrelevant, isn't it? A "new model" by definition means it doesn't already exist, right? Thus, "new." So to use the lack of precedent as a way to prove an idea's lack of viability would discount every invention that ever was.

Now, I have made no promises about this model. I am pulling together ideas from other disciplines that might be applicable to theatre and I'm trying to forge some new amalgamation. To insist, however, that it must succeed because to not do so would be worse than holding onto the status quo puts unwarranted pressure on the process of creation. Would you apply the same criterion to a piece of theatre? Don't try something new unless you are absolutely certain that it will work and can point at someone else who has already done it successfully in another production? I don't think you would. But you use that standard when it comes to these ideas.

I am using this blog to imagine another way. I don't see that as scary or irresponsible. In fact, I see it as a duty. If you look at the way things are and think they don't work, then you are responsible to try to figure out a way to make it better. That is what I am doing.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, those skills you mention SHOULD be part of a theatre education (OK, except that the Microsoft Office skills are a mere starting point -- all they do is set you up to be a temp, which really isn't that much better than being a waiter, and probably pays worse when all is said and done)"

Ahh HAHHHH!!!!! I got you! jk ;)

Being a temp might not be a "goal" however, being a temp can lead to the sort of day job you can stand.

I temped at a book publisher while in NYC, that was an awesome 9 months, and then I temped at a healthcare org where I learned everything I needed to know to hold down a job where I can feed myself and produce some theatre.

TEMP work leads to PERM work, and in some instances even artistic networking. I had often cast other temps. And if temping leads to a job where I can make 50,000 and do the theater I want versus lets say a tribal model where I am still eating ramen noodles and my cable got cut off...well where's all that hope getting me?

But then again, Scott name me one tribe where the day job is no longer necessary and well I'll buy you a coke.

(btw Scott, you got to know I am rooting(sp?) for you, not me in this one)
-dv

GreyZelda Land said...

I think what we need is for the leader of this "tribe" experiment (that's you, Scott) to follow through with the scientific method.

1. Define the question (check)
2. Gather information and resources (observe) (check)
3. Form hypothesis (check)
4. Perform experiment and collect data (Aha!!!! This is where we're stuck ... and this is what we want to see accomplished!!!!!!)
5. Analyze data
6. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
7. Publish results
8. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

So ..... Mr. Hypothesis Theorist Professor ... what's next? And, again, I'm sorry ... but sitting back in your arm chair and letting us guinea pigs do all the work isn't the answer. And your experience from 20 some years ago isn't the answer either.

RZ

Anonymous said...

I applaud and encourage you Scott. I really do!

I hope you take my criticisms in the future not as shooting you down, but as opportunities to keep bouncing back and forth.

You're efforts are valid. My doubts are as well. We have a responsiblity to each other to give the ball in the air...

Everything I say here is in the hopes of "Yes,...but"

I am not calling you irresponsibly. But if we are going to do something new as you say, something never done before...some times we got to doubt and shake each others lapels...really dude, I think I would eventually bore you, if all i did was cheerlead.

I never take issue with your ultimate goal, I just wonder out loud about your tactics

"Yes,...but"

Dont stop dude! Don't stop!

-dv

GreyZelda Land said...

Oh, and let me just say ... My Chicago pride is just bustin' at the seams. Keep up the grumblin', friends.

"Chicago ain't no sissy town." - Hinky Dink Kenna

RZ

Paul Rekk said...

To give Scott a break and get his back for a second: It seems like there should be a clean divide among people on this -- those who think it is a good idea they can implement in their lives and those who don't. Scott does not owe it to those who do to forge the way; they owe it to themselves. Scott's ratio of talk:do is something that in the long run Scott needs to answer to only for himself. If any of the detractors (perhaps I should say rumblers) are truly investing in the tribal model then they should be working just as diligently to figure out a way to make it work. Anyone who allows Scott to trailblaze and then proceeds to follow the exact path Scott just created is bound to do inferior work. It's exactly how we got to the Broadway dearth that everyone bitches about.

Interested in the ideas that Scott proposes, but want more info/details/clarifications? Come up with your own info/details/clarifications, and make them your own ideas.

Not interested in the ideas that Scott proposes? Then this discussion has nowhere near the weight that you're ascribing to it. Of course, that includes me, so maybe I'll just shut up for real this time.

Don Hall said...

For the record -

I dig the tribal idea. I do. I have no difficulties with it and I think it is a MUCH better model as to "how" than the current SQ.

So - to be quite clear - I'm not in contention with the entirety of your thesis, Scott.

I do agree that most tribes become corporations as life intercedes and the changes I seek are to minimize the financial burnout by easing that burden on a business-level.

As to the "what", Paul -

I happen to think that, for the most part, the what is fine. Sure, I have issue with the shallowness of most shows in town, but I happen to really dig most of them. I don't think it is my place nor wish to dictate what other artists pursue but criticize and, in some way, seek to improve the "how."

For that matter, I think that is exactly what Scott is doing.

Paul Rekk said...

Don,

This may be why I find myself unable to connect to the topic. I thought we were talk about ourselves, not others. Personally, I don't think it is our place to dictate how others artists pursue, either. I can only speak for me, but as far as I'm concerned the how comes from the what, ya know?

Don Hall said...

Not being obtuse, but no. Clarify how the "how" (business model, group structure, etc.) comes from the "what."

And in no way is anyone "dictating" how someone should approach their business model. I personally am tired of watching people, after ten or so years out in the active world of creating theater, get so beaten down by the business of it that they burn out.

No disrespect, but it is the rare artist that is any good at communicating through theater that is still in his/her twenties. It takes about ten years just to gain the necessary skill to deliver superior work and by that time many of our most accomplished get crispy from having to follow in line with an unhelpful and broken corporate model.

Nick Keenan said...

Jesus. I go away for a week or two and look at what we get up to.

We have got to cut each other some slack if what we want is progress. We're dealing with about 17 issues and proposed solutions in this post / comments section alone, to say nothing of the 12 summaries of the conversation on other blogs. These issues really do need to be separated out and dealt with individually, or all of our conversations will become this labyrinthine and insurmountable.

Scott, I think it's time for an honest to god forum where topics can be dealt with one at a time. I don't think the functionality of Ning cuts it for folks who need to engage in action, though it remains an excellent think tank tool. Blogs are an incredibly inefficient way to have a conversation like this, because if you lump seven ideas together and DV takes issue with #5 and adds four issues of his own and Paul takes HIM to task on point #6 sub A, then we have a conversation about to fall apart and frustrate the poor lurkers who are looking to get inspired and focused. We'll need them for the actual movement. Which don't be fooled, we're all interested in creating here.

I agree with the thrust of nearly everything being said on this comments section, and take issue with many specifics. What greatly concerns me is the growing backlash of "why don't we DO something about it?" That backlash is big... I skimmed 400 blog posts today and it's the common thread in about 50 of them. It's in all of our best interests to think about that backlash for a second and what it represents. Blogs aren't built for DOING. They're built for spitting ideas at each other. There's great value in that, but if you try to plant your seeds with your lawnmower, don't be surprised if you get a little maddened.

I'll work on that forum idea tomorrow. I don't think it's going to solve all our problems, but maybe it'll at least help organize them and cut this big nagging doubt into manageable bite-sized pieces. Let's not make the problems bigger than they are with our rhetoric. Let's let our work and efforts serve to cut them down to size.

NGale said...

@ nick, RE: Forum Discussion: I've got an empty SMF forum on the Nightingale site that we've not populated; let me know if you'd like to explore/exploit that. info(at)nightingaletheater.com will get me...