When a former student brightens your day...
Former student Joe Cipriano writes a beautiful anecdote I had almost forgotten about in Joan Baker's book "Secrets of Voice-over Success"
It's truly thrilling to see a former student succeed. But there's a special joy that happens when you realize you might have actually made a difference on their way there.
A current student happened upon a reference to me in the book "Secrets of Voice-over Success: Top Voice-over Artists Reveal how They Did It" and asked me about it. I had of course known Joe had become quite successful as a voice-over artist and an industry professional here in Los Angeles, but hadn't thought much else of it - (the goal of my Meisner program being to get students eventually to the point where they are self-sufficient actors able to coach themselves through script analysis and preparation, upon which point they graduate my studio and continue on to their careers). But she read to me the following excerpt, and I will admit I was extremely touched.
(If you ever take classes with me you'll know I'm a bit of a talker, and I have a tendency to tell stories sometimes. I don't expect all of them to equally impact students, but I share them nonetheless because I believe they're worth being shared.)
My first acting teacher in Los Angeles, Wayne Dvorak, told a story one day that always stayed with me. He asked, “Why do some people make it, while others don’t?” There are many answers, but his story was this: When you work towards your dream, a little red light glows on top of your head. When you stop or are distracted, the light dims or goes off completely. It’s important to keep the light glowing brightly and consistency. Why? Because the Gods of Making Dreams Come True are sitting up there in the heavens looking down. Their joy is to help people fulfill their dreams. They just need to know how much you want it, and they can only see you if your red light is on. So, keep working at your dream. Devote one hour a day, that’s all—just one hour a day—but make it every day, and do something that move you towards your goal. Whether it’s a workshop, or study, or writing cards and letters, or working on your demo or making calls, whatever it is, do it for one hour every day. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll make progress, and your light will shine brightly. You’ll make it easy for the Gods of Making Dream Come True to find you.
Thank you, Joe, for reminding me that I do what I do for a reason. And that these stories I share and classes I teach have lasting impacts beyond what even I get to see. It's truly the gift of being a teacher.