The Cavalry's Not Coming: Rising with the Ranks

Myself and McKenna DuBose in Blizzard, written by Kasey Lee Huizinga. Photo by Kyle LeMaire.

I recently had the sad pleasure of closing the Now Collective's inaugural production, Apartment Complex -- but I'm happy to announce that PRODUCTION PHOTOS ARE NOW LIVE! Check them out if you couldn't make it to one of our shows!

Comprised of artists I originally met and worked with during my time in the Barrow Group's 2015-16 Apprentice Company, the Now Collective has been and continues to be a beacon of hope for creatives who refuse to wait by the phone for their next opportunity. There are too many stories to tell, and holding out for permission to participate is not an option -- especially not now.

Mark Duplass said "The cavalry's not coming," and this has been particularly poignant to me over the past few months. After wrapping Myth, I dipped back into the usual slew of auditions, classes, and writing bouts, but that next big job continued eluding me. The high from my first feature was quickly followed by frustration, depression, anxiety, uncertainty -- you name it. And I'm not scared to admit these things, because this is the cycle we run as actors -- always waiting on footage, always thrilled when working, always trying to figure out the next big move the instant that first second of silence hits.

Here's the thing though -- that next big move is here and now. That next big move is you and your friends motivating each other to keep working, no matter what. You're ready but somehow you don't even know it!

So when my friends at the NOW Collective formed their company, successfully raised $4k+ for their first production, booked a space in our home at the Barrow Group, formed a writer's group that produced a night of funny, heartfelt original work, and asked me to come on and collaborate as an actor, my heart swelled. All of that negative energy immediately disappeared, and I owe it all to these fierce, tenacious artists who continuously refuse to sit still.

Now, I'm not saying don't grind. I'm not saying don't submit daily to breakdowns. And I'm not saying don't update your website, resume, headshots, et al. That's all part of the game, too. All I'm saying is to remember the immense power you and your friends have to fill the void, the ones we battle inside ourselves and the ones we battle together out there in our shared, day to-day story. You have way more control over your life and career and happiness than you could possibly know, and the first step is recognizing that, and getting your friends to recognize it too. David Mamet said in his wonderful book True and False, "When you desire and strive to rise from the ranks rather than with the ranks, you are creating divisiveness and loneliness in yourself, in the theater, and in the world." So this is my plea: go out there and create with your friends. Don't wait. Share your stories and opinions and all of yourself with each other. And always always always lift others up with you as you go. We all need each other; we're all we've got. Or, as Mamet succinctly put it: "Cultivate the the habit of mutuality. Create with your peers, and you are building a true theater."