Block 311: January 12, 2014


6am, and another day is already underway.

14 hours of tech work to go! (But it’s work- Yay!)

Date: January 12, 2014

Crane: 311

Days Spent on Project: 330

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Emily R.

Emily was the third costume designer in my year at the Yale School of Drama. My age, she had spent the past two years working in New York after having gone to Northwestern University. She had also spent summers working at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, so she had that going for her as well.

She had intense reddish-brown, wavy hair that I always though completely appropriate for her.

Our second year, when we took one semester of sound design, one of our first assignments was to choose two pieces of music (or sounds, I guess) that could be our “signature sounds.” I chose Liz Phair and an Alanis Morrisette, because I’m deep and angsty and tortured and artistic like that (eye roll). Emily asked our advice on what she should choose. I responded that she should put on one of her signature high heels and walk quickly down the hallway to our class.

The confident click-clack, click-clack of her quick gait was a complete hit in class. Whenever I hear heels practically running down a sidewalk or hallway, I instantly think of her.

Can I be admit something? I may be jealous of the career that she has. I’ll leave it at that.

Music I listened to while sewing: It’s so early on this Sunday morning! And so loud, upbeat, electronic dance music is the obvious and right choice, isn’t it?

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I’m working wardrobe for an LA production company this weekend. A friend of mine recommended me for the job (thanks!), but it turns out I worked with the general manager for a summer at Old Navy in Indiana. Small world, huh?

And after 10 hours of working with these dancers on their costumes, watching the run of the piece, and having to solve issues that kept surprising us, I just want to be petty and say some people don’t really know how to put clothes together. It was a repeated ego-check as I had to re-fit “custom-made” garments that didn’t fit, as I had to rig clothes so that dancers could actually GET INTO THEM, as I had to finish clothes that arrived half-complete with pins in them.

And then it became a series of questions… how am I not working more? Or on this level? If this is the work that passes on a certain level, why am *I* struggling to find work at times?

I’m not a genius by any means, but I’m better than some.

Okay, enough ego for the morning. I’ll leave you with this quote from Ira Glass, which I’ve been repeating to myself frequently for the past year.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone had told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. we all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”


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