Block 692: June 16, 2015


Insomnia again last night. Did manage to get five hours of sleep, however.

Date: June 16, 2015

Crane: 692

Days Spent on Project: 847

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Slightly off track, but I wanted to mention this person.

Sera B.

When I was workshopping The California Project with Vinnie, the costume professor at UCI asked if I wouldn’t mind talking to her graduate students about design, freelancing, and so on. I was traveling really lightly then, but I did have my portfolio for my upcoming production that I was going to do in Arkansas the next month.

Kaitlyn, the student who was designing costumes for The California Project, was in that class of students. Sera was too.

She was a first year grad student. During the conversations with had in that class, she seemed most interested in knowing how much and how hard to work. I later learned from the professor that she was committing herself to any and all projects that came her way. She was, in fact, possibly and most definitely over committing herself.

It made me think about some of my own experiences as a young designer. I’d design ideas and clothes and then PROMISE them to directors. I’d build clothes in my apartment at night, while I’d shop during the day or work on other projects. I’d assist a designer during business hours, and then design my own work at night. It became about proving myself and showing off that I was capable.

That’s noble and valiant, sure. I liked the work. I liked being busy. I “had standards.” But, I learned QUICKLY (well, this was in the winter/spring of 2008, so two years after grad school) that if you work yourself too hard, too much, too intensely you’re just going to:

–make yourself sick,

–make yourself a martyr,

–deny yourself the fun of working on a team, and so on.

As a freelancer, YOU YOURSELF are your most important business tool. If you’re too tired or sick or cranky or weak or annoying, you’re not going to get any work done. You won’t be pleasant to be around. You’ll not get work.

Yes, you have to take the work as it comes (it *is* feast or famine, always). And you will have to work hard.

But you need to pace yourself. Take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. Know when to say when.

I tried, as diplomatically as I could, to explain that to Sera. Maybe she got the hint. Maybe she was still needing to learn the lesson for herself.

Music I listened to while sewing: I had Spotify’s “Dance Mega Mix” on this morning. It was okay.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I understand that I’m not alone with this sensation. My mind is so clearly running and trying to put ideas together, it’s exciting and a little frustrating.

I was up past 1am, trying to calm my head down by reading Alison Bechdel’s book, Fun Home. (It eventually worked as I did fall asleep, but made me even more curious how they could turn it into a Broadway musical.)

I’m excited about next season here. I feel like I have a handle on the personalities of the Key Players here, so I understand more of what they do and work towards and think. I feel, with the announcement of a rather large grant to be used by our marketing department, there’s a big opportunity to show off the work we do in the costume shop; I’d like to start planning- and already have- how to run with that opportunity this season. I know there’s going to be a lot of hard work ahead when the shop starts working again in August, but I know what to expect. And maybe, by not designing, I can manage to simply manage the work flow. I’ve been through it once before. I can do it again. I can improve my work as best I can.

I’m excited by another meeting with my main collaborator on last year’s The California Project, which is scheduled here in Oregon in July. I’m excited to think it may have another life. I’m excited to think how I want to advance it, develop it, write it, show it, advertise it,

I’m excited to think about the possibility of it.

I’m excited to think there’s no path to follow right now. I feel like I’m veering off course to pursue something which is starting to excite me more and more

I keep asking myself why I think I can’t pursue something- like someone has to give me permission to try.

But, I need to get my collaborators in order, too. I’m finding with all this stuff in my head, I need someone or people to discuss it with so I can figure ideas out. Having people to discuss the project with makes it more real. It makes it tangible.

Anyway, I’m a little tired today and with the lack of anyone on the second floor at work… well, I’m not really focused at all. Maybe I’ll leave a bit earlier than I planned.

And make some more coffee. Yeah, I need more coffee today.

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