On any given day it will occur. When a moment is just for me, not to be shared.
Not because I object to sharing, but rather sometimes I find it better to keep a feeling and the emotions which were brought on by a moment, unannounced and, without warning, to myself.
I don’t know, it’s just a letdown to share a moment I might have found endearing, and then to see and hear an unequaled responsiveness from the person I happen to be sharing with. It’s like finding a joke or a situation funny to me, and then right as I’m telling it to someone else, I begin getting uncomfortable because the person I’m sharing with isn’t remotely interested or amused. I always find myself wondering how I could have misread the person to begin with. I keep warning myself: Just because I find it a certain way, it doesn’t mean anyone else does.
All that put aside, and despite the fact there are many of you who may be adverse to my sentiments, I will forge ahead with an occasional moment or two in my career, by the sake of the circumstances by which they present themselves, created a bittersweet endearment which shall remain with me, intact and personal for the rest of my life.
“I’ve been called an actor’s director.
The label suits me to a tee.
If I am there for the actor
They are there for me
If I give out all I have within
The actor in turn presents
Equally from as deep
Often without words
We two glean what we seek.”
This room, with all its bittersweet memories is mine forever. Take notice… I work here with all the diligence one might muster when the driving force has been cultivated by a life long passion to create from the substance, or lack of substance; God-given, or not.
I entered this room as a child, far too long ago for even me to perceive a true date of entry. But I do remember a single day, which could be responsible for my first knowing reaction to the creative efforts I had before me on a stage with real live people on it.
There was a big band on the stage, and a large group of singers they referred to as a choir. Our third grade class was on a field trip to experience a radio show at NBC studios in New York City. The name of the radio program was “Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians” – really nothing more than a big band and a group of singers. But it happened to me that day. The show came to an end, yet I remained in my seat, transfixed on the stage, and in a state of complete captivation over what I had just experienced.
The other students had filed out, and there stood my teacher at my side asking what was wrong. I couldn’t find any words; that in itself was extremely curious for usually talkative little da harv. Add to it the fact the tears were rolling down my cheeks and one would understand my teacher’s concern over my welfare. Nothing was wrong with me, but it was never-the-less a first in my lifetime experience. I was overpowered by emotion caused by this ensemble of people performing creatively as one. The moment was lasting and bittersweet. It remains with me.
I don’t think being a creative soul ever leaves a person. There might be a time or a series of events which manage to stand in a person’s way, bringing to a stop individual effort of pursuit. Sure you might find an overwhelming obligation, as I did, which by the nature of circumstances demands things like food, money, clothing, cars, insurance, mortgage payments, braces on your children’s teeth; and the nagging remembrances of how you grew up, being taught about accepting responsibility. It can get so damn hard to recall “Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians” when somehow you find yourself trapped with all that goes with the day in, day out pitfalls of normal life. Inside you are saying, “Don’t they understand I am a creative soul?” No. They don’t understand.
The fact is… who the hell cares besides you anyway?
So, there you have it, the bitter and the sweet. You decide which is which.
Moving right along; let’s get back to where I belong. We’re back in, as Gary Owens labeled it, “Beautiful downtown Burbank.” I’m about to relay another bittersweet moment. This particular moment took a lifetime to create. I won’t embellish; I don’t have to. The lady’s story is a stand-alone adventure. The term bittersweet applies more often than most will experience in a (normal) lifetime. I have not shared this lady’s name with anyone. It is not my intent to do so now or ever.
It was another of those busy days at Kalmenson & Kalmenson. Our studio would be packed with a cross-section of exciting and talented people. I found myself smiling as I glanced at our call sheet of who was coming into our studio that day. Being honest with you, when I saw the breakdown of what the ad agency was looking for, I found myself hoping she would be on the call. Low and behold, I got my wish. Unfortunately this was a spot where she would be reading with a partner. It turned out to be an older woman giving advice to a much younger guy. He was to be a blue collar type, and she would be a lady of substance who comes into his place of business; in this case, a mechanic’s garage. As an aside, I don’t think in real life she had ever been in a mechanic’s garage (the French Riviera is another story).
I knew for sure she would be in on time for her call time. The younger guy was another story. In any event, she arrived and was greeted by our talent coordinator, and in short order, I was there to personally say hello and get my desired hug and kiss on the cheek.
By the way, I also got the slightest of slight little winks, made just for me a very long time ago. The warmth of her wink would be difficult to describe. If I were to try to get another actress to emulate the feeling which transpired without words in the shortness of that moment, it would be a difficult task. It was the shear history of friendship built during the years, conveyed with a wink almost too minuscule to discern.
It began with me rehearsing the two of them. In short order, without the younger actor having any idea of what excellence and professionalism he was experiencing, he found himself becoming a touch cocky about his performance. I looked through the glass and gave her the “take over” look I have reserved for talent of her magnitude. At times like this, my enjoyment makes it all worthwhile. She brought the conversational notes around to herself by asking me what she should do in reaction to his more internal and soft-spoken approach. I saw the light go on in his eyes, and I knew the two of us had succeeded with our very own misdirection play. The next take could have gone on the air. It was letter perfect. The two of them shook hands. She waved goodbye to me. That part was sweet. As they were leaving he said to her, “Have you appeared in anything I would know?” That part was bitter. “Doubtful,” she replied without emotion.
The visit was over with another wink.
The bitter and the sweet, are they what we sign on for in our life?
Can anyone at inception – in that very first moment when, for whatever reason, they find themselves motionless, and transfixed, have any idea of what their creative future will hold?
The other day, one of the oldest of actors coming in to audition for me, took my hand before he left the building, and with a marvelous sixth sense on display, catered to what I needed at that moment. “It’s because we love it, Harv,” he said. “We would do it again, wouldn’t we,” he added.
Annie Wood says
more sweet than bitter.
(The Lucy is my dog. She's the one with the Google account.)