Some of you may know an actress named Sandra Oh. She starred recently in a popular movie called Sideways, which was also directed by her husband, who also directed About Schmidt, starring Jack Nicholson.
I've known Ms. Oh for a while and actually had the chance to sit down with her for an article on her. She was a great interview, and just a damn interesting person to talk to. Completely in the moment, always, but never "on." I could sit and watch her for hours, even with the volume off.
Ms. Oh will soon be starring in a new series called Grey's Anatomy on one of the networks and I think she will soon become a household name. She completely deserves it.
During our interview, she kept repeating something which is as beautiful and simple as it is ambiguous. Apparently, she had a good acting teacher in Canada who always stressed that "it's all about the work."
Now, I've tried to dissect this statement in various different ways. That's sort of my nature. Dissect, dissect, dissect, get to the core of things. Figure things out. Or at least try to. I've never quite understood this statement, but it has made sense in the oddest of situations.
For instance, when I'm complaining about a non-union commercial that keeps running and running and I don't get a dime from it, I think, "It's all about the work."
When an independent filmmaker decides to shoot a scene for the hundredth time because he's using digital video, "It's all about the work."
When I have to leave one hour in advance to get to an audition across town at 4:30 in the afternoon, well, you know what it's all about.
These statements are great and I hope to come up with one myself some day. One old acquaintance -- an Asian DJ named Theo -- didn't exactly come up with it, but he did popularize a statement (via radio) throughout California and eventually the rest of the country: "It's all good." I know you don't believe me on that one but it's true. In fact, he told me where it did come from: MC Hammer. And I think I know where Hammer got it from: Alan Watts, the philosopher/author.
Actually, I do have sort of a mantra that fits L.A. quite nicely: It's just driving. Every time some bastard cuts me off on a freeway, I just think, "It's just driving." As in, it's not life, it's just driving. Or, it has nothing to do with what I stand for, it's just driving.
Tomorrow morning, I'll be working on a print job. It pays well, for one day's work. Probably leave an hour early to get there on time. Yup, it's just driving. Because it's all about the work. And there's something else, but you already know what I'm going to say.