Often in our business we get to create what the audience views as magical. This video I believe is an example of that. The character development and artistic creation come together to draw us into caring about this creature/character. I really enjoyed this TED talk and I hope you will like it as well.
This is an article from the New York Times that talks about the source from which achievement or excellence in a field might emerge; is it the always elusive natural ‘talent’ or the determination to improve one’s skills?
It has for a long time been our perspective that while some people may be gifted by God with a certain amount of natural talent, anyone is capable of improving their natural skills through concentrated and focused effort. In the world of theatre, film and entertainment, it is not always the most gifted which survive the field for the long term, but those who find ways of continuing to work, improve and contribute, even if they aren’t the star – that being a part of the theatre IS success in the field, not the spotlight.
This article mentions that it takes 10 years of “deliberate practice” to excel in a particular field. Others have quoted an investment of more than 10,000 hours of focused rehearsal and study (about 1.15 years, if you practiced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 59 1/2 weeks in a row – which would be neither possible nor effective). Most students entering college level study in the field of theatre have less experience in deliberate practice than in what might be called ‘theatre activity’ – games, performances and events which are more about the participation than about concentrated, evaluated experience which progresses the skill and produces work of consistently higher quality performance. And it is unlikely that any student, after completing 4 years of college, can fully reach the “10,000 hours” necessary to reach the level of accomplishment to which most students aspire – even if they arrive with a high level of ‘talent.’
But what we strive to accomplish, as educators, is to shift the mindset of our students from theatre activity to focused practice of the art of theatre, provide the template for rehearsal and study which will improve their skills, and set them on the life path where they continue the journey towards excellence in their field, enabling them to apply those skills in the service of their fellow theatre practitioners and the audience for their work, allowing the Lord to work through their dedicated efforts.
Last semester, I was involved in the faculty tenure process here at Belhaven and one of the requirements was to write a paper discussing my worldview in regards to my discipline of theatre & design. I am happy to say that I was honoured with tenure, and I thought I might share my paper in order to give you some insight into some of the views that shape our department and teaching of this interactive, immersive, & collaborative art form.
There are easter egg links hidden within the text to serve as my references and citations to some of the people and I quote & examples I give, so feel free to click on them and follow those through as well.
I’m a Sophomore here at Belhaven University. I came from out of country to Belhaven, I never got to go to the Art Discover Days, and the one time I got to visit… there weren’t any students on campus, and the theatre department was pretty much empty… It was a scary decision to make without really knowing what I was getting myself into. Luckily for me, there was someone else who was looking out for me, and knew what He was doing.
I arrived at Belhaven shaking in my boots, relatively unexperienced in anything having to do with theatre, but knowing that something was pulling me to this school and this theatre program. I threw myself into the program, not knowing what else there was to do. And somewhere along the long hours in rehearsals, in learning to work the sound board, in working on the sets… I fell in love with it. All I know is that now I can’t picture myself doing anything else.
Someone a few weeks ago asked me if being a theatre major with an emphasis on production sucks you life away. My response: YES! Hahaha, we all feel like that sometimes, especially around show times… it gets stressful. But the truth of the matter is that while being a theatre major consumes large time blocks of your life, it really is just giving you a different and unique lifestyle. It puts you into a ‘theatre’ family. And that’s just what we are here: one big theatre family. It means life is not always a bowl of roses, but it means that we can lean on eachother for support… Loving theatre and striving for excellence worthy of our creator is what we’re all about here. That and the fact that our foundation is Christ means that you share some common ground with everyone here. And though your time is spent in a large dark room for extended periods of time you do it together with your ‘familiy’ creating…… and that is such a thrill.