In this episode, we explore the high price of self-expression. Paul admits to misplaced envy when he sees his Wall Street friends attain mega financial success as he works to build a modest stable of personal businesses centered around self-expression. Why does he do it, he wonders? Wouldn’t it be easier to work in an office and accumulate money? For certain people, pursuing self-expression through the arts (acting, writing, painting, talking, dancing, playing music) is almost a compulsion – why else would they pursue something so uncertain and so difficult? The sheer impracticality of trying to make a living from one’s personality/craft is daunting. Peter and Paul are joined in this lively discussion by long-time actor and friend, Ces, who’s had a successful start in film and television. Paul mentions the attitude of some, who denominate all activities in dollars: If it doesn’t have a clear financial payout, why do it?, these people wonder. But the joy of making creative choices is the payoff for the artist. Paul has seen friends in business – ones who don’t have a creative practice – simply substitute consumption for creation, choosing brown shoes over black ones, instead of working to nurture their art. Ces discusses the actor’s reality of confronting so many “No’s” in everyday life and how that affects his outlook. Making a career out of self-expression (i.e. art) is to put oneself at the mercy of others’ judgment, as when an actor goes for audition. Some personality types refuse to subject themselves to this, and rather have the certainty of a paycheck and the sense of control that may come with a conventional career. Pete shares his humbling foray into stand-up comedy and describes how pick-up is much like stand-up: there’s no buffer between you and the audience. Peter also postulates the Paradox of Talent: many people exonerate themselves from the responsibility of nurturing their art by saying they haven’t talent, where others do. In actual fact, talent is just another name for hours of hard graft, Pete believes. Finally, Paul asks, “Why do actors want to act?” Ces’s answer is revealing.
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