Sometime in the spring of '21, I got an email from a guy named Charlie Sandlan.
Charlie, an actor and acting coach, had seen an article about Being a Ballerina and read an interview I'd given, and he was intrigued. He bought the book, read it, and, as he wrote in his email, "knew it was a must-read for anyone who thinks they want to be an artist."
He continued, "Many don't understand what it means, or the lifetime commitment it requires. Especially actors, who can so often be lazy or uninterested in serious training. Many lack the obsession for hard work. My studio is about waking them up to the art form."
Charlie, who directs the Maggie Flanagan Studio in New York, also has a podcast, called Creating Behavior. He invited me to join him in a conversation on the pod, which I eagerly agreed to do (you can hear the episode, called "The Best Artists Are Obsessed", here; https://podcasts.apple.com/us/...)
Talking to Charlie, I got the same exciting feeling of cross-genre inspiration I'd had when I dabbled in a poetry-music-dance collaboration in Portland several years ago. Artists, at the core, really ARE the same. I have always gotten a real thrill and sense of reignited motivation and passion for my own form, dance, when I've interacted with people who are at the top of the game in their own field. It changes-- and freshens-- my perspective on what I have done with my life. It renews my pride and awe of it.
Being brought into the acting world and discussing all the many, many, many parallels between an actor's life and that of a dancer was just, well, really fun and interesting.
I've been a devoted Creating Behavior listener ever since. In each episode, Charlie and his guest (usually an actor, but from a variety of areas of the field and stages of the career) get into it and are not afraid to go deep. They tear apart the rough mental, emotional, and practical stuff an actor faces, the nitty-gritty of theater, film and TV life, personal, logistical, financial roadblocks and much more.... This is not a kid-friendly podcast. Actors know how to use their words with ultimate sensitivity and ultimate impact. Charlie and his guests do so with fervor and color.
A few weeks ago, on a long drive, I plugged into Episode 70, "You've Got To Give It A Decade." Charlie talks to a former student who has just passed that ten-year milestone in the business about how she stuck with it, almost gave up, found ways to keep going, and now has a crazy successful career that isn't what she initially had in mind. Her story illustrates so well the fact that it's not just talent, opportunity, passion, and luck. It's also stubbornness.
If you've got any spare time for another podcast, I can't recommend Creating Behavior enough. I won't guarantee you'll love it as much as I do-- though I know some of you really, really will-- but I CAN guarantee that if nothing, else, you'll love Charlie's made-for-radio voice.