Archive for May, 2012

May 14, 2012

Be Shameless and Ask

Sometimes you have to ask.

I saw an opportunity for work exchange — your admin help for free rental of studio space. This is exactly what I need!

Then I saw the age limit: 18-30. Damn. But I wrote them an email anyway. I have to ask. And what’s the worst that can happen? 

I’ve copied my plea, er, email below. xCW


SUBJECT: I have to ask


…even though I already know the answer.

Hi, I’m Chris Wolfe, arts entrepreneur and solo performer.

Nice to meet you. Saw the brief for [this project] and think it’s an amazing work exchange opp.

I just so happen to have edited and done motion graphics for an Emmy*-award winning US TV show in the US. And I’m a writer (even won an award for that.) And hey I do database/supporter services consulting for a living, if that’s needed — Oh I’ve got a nice smile, too.

THEN I saw it was ages 18-30.

You can see where this going, can’t you?

And I know what you need to say: “Yes, Chris, you sound nice and are undoubtedly good-looking, but the rules are the rules, and while we don’t want to be all Logan’s Run about this to someone who is only 2 years too old, we have to say no.”

I get that. I really do. But I want to make a counter offer. That outside the scope of this [project] you consider “paying me” to do some work for you. I can even give you a better rate of exchange.

I’m quite good (I know that’s immodest, but I’m American, so you understand) and I have big plans for the next 6 months: Expanding my one-person show (Generation 9/11, about how a generation was defined by 9/11 at a distance via TV, internet, and phone) online to create a ground-breaking digital space for sharing international perspectives — the end result being a viral performance that can be performed by anyone, anywhere, including the Middle East/North Africa region (where another Generation 9/11 led the Arab Spring.)


I need this.

Thank you for listening.
I understand if you need to say no.
I understand that flattery will not work.

…but it’s still worth mentioning that you are all undoubtedly good-looking.

Best, Chris

May 10, 2012

Focusing on one project at a time: Part 1

Last Thursday, I decided to focus all of my attention and time on starting-up my own database consulting business.

My theory:

  • By monofocusing on setting up my business, that I can be 80% of the way there by the time I finish
  • The remaining 20% of the work — chiefly contacting, following up and meeting with clients — is largely a waiting game, and can be run in tandem or on the margins on other work.

It was an experiment. I was testing:

  • If focusing on one thing made me more effective, helping me to crest the learning curve more quickly
  • If I could sustain a 7, 10, or 14 day push and how that felt.
  • If I could master the legal requirements of becoming self-employed, setup my website and other marketing materials, and meet with colleagues and potential clients.

For the last 7 days, that’s all I’ve done. And it’s all I’ll do through Sunday.

The results? So far, it’s been successful, but not fun. I’ve gotten a lot done in a short period of time, and accomplished all of the business tasks I set for myself. But pushing this hard is partially responsible for the cold that showed up today. Life hasn’t been particularly enjoyable, as the most important things to my happiness — my close relationships, being physical, and meditating — have moved to the back burner.

I’ll post more on this soon, as the big push winds down. I’m looking forward to Monday and Tuesday, which I’ve designated at my weekend.






May 7, 2012

Unlearning how to write a play

In the past:

  • Plays were the source of theatre.
  • Plays were written by one person alone in a room.
  • The timeline of taking a play from creation to performance was long.

The internet and evolving theater practices are helping us to change this.

Plays no longer need a playwright; much of the most interesting work is devised.

The internet can be used to source material from people all around the world; I can interview someone in China via Skype and translate their story to a monologue.

Performances can be created more quickly in response to real-world events by theater companies that engage communities (eg Tricycle Theatre’s The Riots.)

How we write plays and create theater is evolving: What are some examples you can think of?

May 2, 2012

Be your own coach

If you’re berating yourself for making a mistake, it can be helpful to ask yourself the question: “If my friend made this mistake, how would I respond?” Most often, you’d treat your friend with more kindness than yourself. Asking yourself this question gives you perspective.

Similarly, if I’m stuck — lacking direction, feeling unmotivated or indecisive — it can help to ask myself, “If my friend came to me with this problem, how would I help them?”

You can be your own coach. Simply asking yourself this question gives you some perspective; often, that’s all you need to bust through what’s blocking you.

A personal example: I just finished up a major, time-consuming project: getting my solo show edited and on a DVD with a nice menu. I’m proud of the result, but it took me over two weeks of constant work to get it done: now I’m completely disconnected from what my show needs next, not to mention my other projects.

I took a 2 day break so that I could look at the show with fresh eyes. But when I sat down with the project this morning, I was  overwhelmed with questions: Do I work on this, or this, or that? How can I balance performing/creating with marketing myself? Can I afford to focus all my time on my show, or do I need to be thinking primarily about my next freelance paycheck?

Fortunately, I’ve done this enough to recognize the problem. To get perspective and breakthrough this block, I did 3 things:

  • Conversed with friends: Often my friends have excellent insights into my problem. More often, the simple act of talking about my plans outloud to someone who’s willing to listen gives me clarity.
  • Wrote in my journal: Again, externalizing all of my thoughts is key. The advantage of writing is I can vomit it out without worrying whether I’m making sense, than review  what I’ve written for patterns. Also, there is something about writing pen on paper that helps me dig deeper.
  • Got perspective: Asked myself, “If a friend came up to me with this problem, what would I tell them?

Now it’s lunchtime and I have 2 sets on plans: one for my show and one for my day job. My next steps are clear: After lunch, I can go and start taking action on them.

Be your own coach: Where are you stuck right now? If a friend came up to you with your problem, what would you recommend they do?