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AEA President

From the President


"Ars Longa, Vita Brevis"
By Nick Wyman


May 30, 2014

AEA President Nick Wyman

President Nick Wyman
photo credit: newhartphoto.com

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis. If I remember my three years of Latin, it means "Hire the tall bum, life is short." Words to live by.

Work, for most of us on this planet, involves trading time for money.  When we are young, we have lots of time and little money. When we grow older, we may not have significantly more money, but we have significantly less time. For actors and stage managers, the practical result of this is as we grow older, we become a little pickier about the jobs we put ourselves up for or accept. 

As I have written before ("The Five C's"), it is not solely the money for which we trade our time. There are many reasons besides money to take a job — or not to take a job. (I knew an actor who auditioned for — and then turned down —three different LORT jobs in the space of a year to stay in town and work on a relationship with a significant other.)

If you want to be near a loved one — whether potential spouse, aging parent or ailing relative — investigate the theatres in that area and each of their seasons. Are there any roles/job possibilities that fit you like a glove? How about job possibilities that fit you like a pair of sweatpants? No? Well, audition anyway: Maybe the director is one heck of a tailor.

Even if you are not changing locales to follow your heart, I encourage you to become, if not pickier, at least more proactive about potential work. I just read a Steven Spielberg quote where he said, "This [the USC Shoah Foundation, interviewing 52,000 survivors of the Holocaust and genocides in Nanjing and Rwanda] is something I was put on this earth to do." I encourage you to ask yourself, "What was I put on this earth to do?"

The answer may well be "to entertain," "to act," "to stage-manage," "to tell a story."

I encourage you to go further.  Be specific.  What story do you want to tell? What are your dream roles? Your dream directors? Your dream theatres? Set yourself in motion toward those goals: See what your dream theatre is doing; see what your dream director is directing; see where your dream role/play is being done. As Thoreau advocated: Advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.

A corollary to this falls under the rubric of "Ars Brevis, Vita Longa." Acting onstage, no matter how successful we are, will take up only a small percentage of our lives — and that's okay (see my "Mosaic" column). The challenge is to fill that non-acting, non-stage managing time in ways that fill our heart and soul as well as our pocketbook. What else are you put on this earth to do?

Maybe it's writing, maybe it's directing. Maybe it is painting or pottery or jewelry or some other sort of art-craft. Maybe it is volunteer work or charity work. (I am always blown away by the time and effort that people put into BC/EFA fundraising.) For me, being your AEA President is part of that answer. I take great pride and pleasure in serving you, the members. (If you have taken any pride or pleasure in the job I have done, please send a quick thank you to the great woman behind the tall man since my Equity time comes out of our time together. Her email is equityfirstlady@gmail.com.)

I hope that the art in your life is both very fulfilling and very long; and I hope, whether your Ars is Brevis or Longa, that your Vita is Longa. But since none of us knows how long we have, I encourage you to find work — onstage or off — that you love. And no matter how long you live, take comfort in the fact that the Equity-League Pension Fund — which is currently funded at a phenomenal 119 percent — will be there for you.


Contact President Nick Wyman at president@actorsequity.org.

 

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From the President Archives:

One for All, All for One All Over

Springtime for Equity

Keeping the Faith

Substantive Work

At the Big Table

What in the Heck am I Doing?

Telling Our Story

Why I Do Theatre

You Have a Dream

Abundance and Gratitude

When Good Shows Go Bad

Make Your Own Luck

Mentor Up. Mentor Down.

Mentor Up. Mentor Down.

Work Art and "Work"

CashCowasaurus vs. CatchMeasaurus

Can I Get Some Service Here?

Touring 101 or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Touring 102 - A Look at the Business Model of Touring

Exit, Gracefully, a Champion

Happy 100th Birthday

The Five C's

Love and Boundaries

Plenary Panoply

Which Side Are You On?

March 24, 2011
Marching in Madison

March 1, 2011
A Vision for All of Us

February 2, 2011
Three Requests

December 16, 2010
Earn Your "MBA"

November 4, 2010
Deputize Yourself

September 1, 2010
The Fall of the Twin Tiers

July 27, 2010
Mosaic

June 21, 2010
Thank You

Long-time Councillor Nick Wyman is elected the President of Actors' Equity Association

Back to Presidents Page

 
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