“It’s all in the feeling process.”
The statement contained in the box above was placed in a box by me in order to describe the person who made the statement. Said person is of course a complete dummy. Voice over is as competitive an acting craft as any other.
Each and every successful actor who has ventured my way shares an evolutionary process in common. Each has found a way to continue their individual growth process.
I don’t choose to call what I have “tricks of the trade,” at least not at this moment in time.
Tomorrow my true thoughts may again change for the umpteenth time; not that I go with the latest breeze in order to establish a life’s direction. Rather, I experience and learn from where a breeze may have dropped me off for a visit.
And so it appears the older I have become, the more of life’s places became renowned as I visited by way of a vast agenda of experiences, I would never have had the capacity to imagine, or even contemplate within any dreamlike state.
So, consider my observations as part of a breeze, which happened to blow your way. If you allow my breeze to take you in any particular direction, then I pray for your journey to be as beneficial as my intent was when first we visited.
“A breeze, which carries you on, hopefully to unreachable heights For you may enjoy its warmth, smoothly glide within the actors process of shear delights.” Hk
Who’s to say exactly when an experience may or may not have a destined effect on a person’s life?
If you’ve ever experienced a moment When you knew That particular moment Was creating with permanency Indelibly who you were destined to become You will identify with the truth I am about to share with you. I pray you carry on! Hk
It was much more than a mild zephyr, which bore the brunt of responsibility for carrying me from my homeland and friends. I was a boy of nineteen years of age; perhaps with the same mental equivalent God gave to a shovel.
Korea, the country, and its people affected what I was to become. While I had long since known the verities of the bug that had bitten me as a child, I was not yet thinking in terms of an ultimate goal in the creative world. The Far East, and its inherent danger, provided me with a better understanding of what the other guy is all about. It took what had been placed inside of me and brought it out with great dispatch. While empathy became my tangent to build on, my extreme sensitivity began its cultivation with the first in-person sights of human pain and suffering. It scared the shit out of me. (The foregoing was literal, and will be a remembrance for the balance of my life.)
Although I grew up being made aware of the Holocaust, and seeing first-hand the tattooed identification numbers on the arms of distant aunts and uncles, this experience was firsthand. It didn’t require explanation. Seeing children wandering aimlessly in search of something better; with their eyes hollow and daunting, straining to merely stay alive, becomes a lifelong etching; part of the process. Adding to my mortality recognition was the massive sobering effects of these children in despair. The block upon block of destitution and despair was overpowering.
I had never seen a child without shoes openly begging to anyone who would listen for help. All the movies I had ardently studied as a child instantly took on new meanings. It wasn’t “play” acting, it was the real and painful thing. These weren’t talented little kids playing a part. These were spoiled products of what some men choose to ignore on their quest for power and position. Everything in those first moments of my placement was in the extreme; stillness and quiet, and then coupled with sound blasts of unbelievable decibel levels.
Our miserable stop-and-go train ride bringing us further north also continued our personal visualization of human devastation. None of us could stand the sights. None of us were able to turn away. And at each small station we saw the sights of life coming to an end, and the broken bodies of children with final hope no longer their option.
It was during this time period I recognized the compassion being shared by my fellow troopers. I am convinced that nowhere in the world, will you ever be able to find more caring individuals than those who are members of the United States military.
From day one in Korea, we shared whatever we had with the street urchins. Each company area had an unofficial, adopted family. While it was against the rules and regulations to provide for Korean civilians, when it came to the children, many of our officers not only turned their backs to what was happening, but also took part in what transpired. Rules and regulations never kept any of us from trying to help those kids. That goes from the generals on down the line. We shared no color barrier, nor station-in-life restrictions. (Political correctness had not yet been invented.) We were all taken by the punishment war had brought to these homeless orphans.
All of us shared in the belief we could provide some positive emotion for these kids.
And make no mistake; provide we did. We knew our efforts on the childrens’ behalf would have to be curtailed. What began with us having a couple of kids hanging around became a private nursery. We had reconstructed a bombed out farmhouse and were subsidizing a Korean family to take care of running it. It was amazing how resilient the children were. Overnight they seemed to be perking up.
(I have to tell you about Calvin.)
I don’t recall how in the name of hell we were able to get our hands on a piano, but we did. Before long Calvin (easily the largest human being in our army) had the piano tuned, and began organizing his own personal “Sunday Come To Meetin Quire.” Before long, Calvin was joined by a variety of guys, who could play a variety of instruments. Sundays at our nursery were something to see. New Orleans jazz and spirituals being rendered by as improbable a group as one could imagine. Hearing Calvin and his kids singing “Carry Me Back To Old Virginie” was a thing of beauty.
After six months of living in North Korea, I was thrilled when our outfit was transferred to Seoul. From way up in the mountains to the confines of an overcrowded city, my life was about to change again.
After a brief stint with an engineer company, I was able to qualify for our group’s baseball team.
For the uninformed, sports in the service is a big and important thing. Since in those days we were mostly a draftee (civilian) army, the teams were equal to what you might find in a professional league. We figured out that our baseball team would have been the equivalent professionally to athletes in a class B minor league.
Our team was housed in dormitory style at the University of Seoul. In those days, there weren’t very many students. The war raised havoc with the universities’ enrollments. It boiled down to a student body of very rich Korean kids, and one American soldier — that would be me. (Yes, you read right.) While it only lasted for five short months, I enjoyed every minute of it.
Sleeping in an actual building instead of a ten-man “MASH” squad tent doesn’t take a lot of getting accustomed to. The army took great care of us. We slept in each morning, worked out twice a day, and played league games twice a week.
Though the baseball season ended all too quickly, what followed was even more good fortune. As a reward for playing on a winning team, I was put in charge of a massive engineer supply point. And though my rank was only that of Corporal, the job came with the automatic provision that the man in charge (again that would be me) was assumed to hold one rank higher than anyone who entered the supply point in order to conduct business. The army’s theory was in actuality a sound maneuver. The reason for it insured against anyone holding a higher rank than I did, ordering me to give them whatever supplies they asked for.
Along with the some fifteen American soldiers assigned to my supply point, a contingent of forty Korean men were there daily to provide help with a number of back-breaking jobs.
(Some would wonder what any of this could possibly have to do with acting. Stay tuned.)
While Korean laborers aren’t exactly a made-in-heaven theatrical starting point, they did provide a once in a lifetime learning experience. These forty men were just that: men. For whatever the reason, I was instantly able to identify with them.
The Koreans introduced me to their ancient culture. I was living and breathing in a “period piece.” It was a domestic comedy and tragedy all taking place with me directly in the center of a whirlwind. I doubt if I will ever be able to place an intrinsic value on my Korean life’s experience. The Korean people enabled me to learn and feel more deeply than I could ever have imagined. I find myself easily sharing a variety of working relationships with Korean people today. We have cast and directed many pieces, which were translated from Korean to English. Having lived in Korean, and gone to school there has been and will continue to be part of my personal process. As a matter of fact, it’s not just the actors; our attorney is a first generation Korean American man.
Though my given name is Harvey, I am usually referred to as da harv. That moniker was coined by a couple of my wife’s erstwhile relatives during one of our many trips to Chicago. They (her relatives) reasoned that since they already had “da Bears, da Bulls, and da Cubs”, it was most appropriate for them to have a “da harv.”
Appropriate or not… the name stuck. Today, even our clients refer to me as “da harv.” Not excluded are my wife, my children, and my colleagues at work. In a way, it’s nice. Often I too refer to “da harv,” as if he is a separate entity. Somehow, I’m more comfortable being able to put blame on “da harv” as opposed to Harvey. So with that in mind, if you have a problem with my writing… blames it on da harv. The idea for writing this blog was suggested to me on more than a few occasions by a variety of actors who counseled: “da harv should write a book.” Book or blog, they both begin with the letter “b.”
During this blog I have taken you along with me to a few places where a breeze or two have taken me. I choose to refer to my travels as part of the process. Each word I offered you brought back an instant memory of a day or moment in my life’s process. And during these personal recollections I am able to convey my truth without stress about it’s delivery. You see… I’m not playing a part. I’m sharing my process with you. The method is not dead. The process takes time if the audience is to be the benefactor.
And with finality:
“He can’t act. He can’t sing. He’s bald. He can dance a little.”
About Fred Astaire’s Screen Test, 1929.
“Feel the breeze!”
Barry Ford says
Thanks for another great installment on "The Life Journey of da Harv". I do think you should eventually turn this into a book as I'm sure that once it is edited and polished up it will be well worth reading for anyone. Over the years, you and your wife have created a unique Hollywood institution with your love and determination, learning a many lessons in the process. All of us can be helped by what you know. I'm one who has benefitted from K&K classes.