by R.S. Mellette
When I graduated from college with a BFA in Theatre I learned a new term, "Theatre Jock." I had spent four years inside of a theatre. With a BFA, I didn't even have to take a foreign language, a science, math, or anything outside of my major. Not only that, but all of my peers were in the same boat. None of us knew this, of course, because we spent most of our time with each other.
After graduation I was at a family reunion telling a story and found that my dad had to translate for me.
"Oh, it was terrible production," I said to some relatives about a play I'd been in. "They finished the set just before strike."
Everyone looked at me funny. Wouldn't it be a good thing to finish the set before going on strike? My dad stepped in. "'Strike' is when they tear the set down after the play is over."
Realization came to everyone. My relatives figured out what I was talking about, and I realized I was a Theatre Jock. Having learned all there is to know about the great and noble art of performance, I would now have to re-learn what it is to be a functioning member of society.
And as time went by, and I slaved away at my career, I realized that I had turned my hobby into my job. This left me with nowhere to turn when I needed to escape work. I found that I had to go out hobby hunting.
And, of course, finding a life outside of the Arts gave me a new angle to view my work. Instead of being an Artist trained to do Art, I became a person with an ability to observe and report on the human condition—of which I was an active member.
For some here, writing is a hobby. For others, published or not, it is a career track. Either way, a writer who only experiences writing doesn't have a lot to say. What gets you out from behind your computer? What opens your eyes? What excites that narrator in your head? What non-writing activity do you have in your life that makes your writing better?
R.S. Mellette is an experienced screenwriter, actor, director, and novelist. You can find him at the Dances With Films festival blog, and on Twitter, or read him in the Spring Fevers anthology.