I Put Out

I spend a lot of time writing lately. I enjoy it. It’s fun. It’s a nice outlet when acting doesn’t fulfill my creativity to the utmost. When you’re starting out as an actor, it’s a bit like a malfunctioning sports car. Sometimes the gas pedal works really well and you’re cruising along enjoying the luxury and the ease, other times the engine stalls and you can’t even get out of the driveway. You have no control over that, it’s the engine, and you’re not a mechanic so you can’t fix it, you just have to wait until someone else can.

Writing isn’t like that. Well, the writing industry might be like that, but your ability to write is not like that. With the invention of this little thing called “the internet,” it is so easy to put work out there. With acting, you often have to wait until somebody gives you an opportunity to perform, or you have to create your own stuff and find a venue or a camera or a producer or…

With writing you can put some words on a page, click, and BOOM it’s out there in the world. Your art is exposed, for better or for worse. Trust me, I know that that is not the easiest thing. When you have impossibly high standards for yourself, like I often do, it’s easy to feel like the work you’re doing doesn’t meet the bar you’ve set yourself. Sometimes, you just have to write a blog post, put it out there, click, and run away from the computer like it is the Zombie Apocalypse. (Author’s Note: This is the same technique I use when I’m texting a girl I like, sending a bold email, or generally being ballsy. Just do it, and run away. Works like a charm. Kind of.)

To be honest, most of my stuff doesn’t meet my exceedingly high standards for myself. I can think of one blog post in total that I was like “Yeah, I fucking nailed that.” I mentioned this yesterday, but I’m just trying to get in the habit of writing. Actually, I’m kind of already in that habit. I like writing. Now I’m trying to create the habit of putting it out there. I want to encourage you to do the same. What did you do today to put your creativity on the line?

It may not ever be exactly the way we want it to be, but if we put it out there and we get one person’s precious attention, then we have accomplished something worthwhile.

So go on. Put your art out there. I promise you won’t die.*

I put out, why don’t you? (gross.)

Love you. Mean it.

Brock

*Promise not guaranteed, I take no responsibility.

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Hey beautiful people! Do you have a project going on? I want to know about it. I want to interview you and figure out what makes you tick! Leave a comment below or find me on twitter @brockbiv.

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Check Yourself, Before You Wreck Yourself

I’m restarting the blog. Get. Get. Get. Ready. I know. Don’t get too excited. I know what you’re thinking “Brock, you’ve lied to us in the past, you were going to restart the blog and then you didn’t. I was hurt, angry, and confused by that. I don’t know if I can trust you again.” To which I say “Shhh, it’ll be ok. I’ll make it right this time.”

check

Now that I’ve restarted this on a thoroughly creepy note, maybe I should explain what I want to do. The blog was getting a little too self-helpy for me, and I couldn’t even help myself. It’s a weird thing to try and help others, when you’re not even sure where your life is headed, but now I’ve gone through the forest and emerged a new man (this is a metaphor and not entirely factual). In all seriousness, I’m doing pretty awesomely these days and I’m really just trying to make writing a habit. Now, due to the nature of my personality, I won’t be able to avoid the self-helpy qualities entirely because I’m always looking for ways to be more awesome, more relatable, and more positive. I don’t want to shove it down your throat like a babysitter trying to get you to take medicine, but I do want to encourage you to lead a better life. I wholeheartedly believe that BETTER HUMANS MAKE BETTER ART (™ Brock Bivens 2014. Kidding. Kind of). If you’re a good, kind person it will translate and affect your art, your career, and your life in the best way possible. The worst mistakes I’ve made in my life were when I was living in a place of fear, afraid to share, and terrified of making mistakes.

So let’s be good people. I’ll share my experiences, both good and bad. And you should share yours with me in the comments below. If you have a project going on, I want to know about it. I want to interview you. I want to find out what makes you tick and what makes you feel great. So let me know.

It’s a new start. A new beginning. But really it’s not as dramatic as that. It’s just a blog. I’m just Brock Bivens, a journeyman* actor/writer who is looking to enjoy his life and keep his head above the rising stresses of this world to remember that there is beauty in everything.

Let’s be friends? K, cool. Glad we’re on the same page.

keep-calm-carry-on-affiche-poster-parodie-03

Talk to you tomorrow.

Brock

*Journeyman definition per Wikipedia: A journeyman is an individual who has completed an apprenticeship and is fully educated** in a trade or craft, but not yet a master.

**I am far from fully educated.

Sizzlin’ Saturday

Hey you! Yeah you! Go kick some ass today.

No, but really fight somebody. Punch them in the teeth.

Just kidding. Don’t do that.

But do go be awesome.

Blogging Errrday

I’ve decide, in an effort to build the writing muscle, I want to blog a little bit everyday. That could mean I share a lengthy post, a blip of a thought, or a fucking awesome quote I found. Anything.

So for today, here is my favorite commercial of all time. Watch it. Have a laugh:

Be the Gorilla.

 

The Sexiest Interview Ever

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the sexiest interviewee ever: Mr. David J. Baldwin.  Seriously though, this guy is a BEAST.  David and I did Snatched at Mark Fisher Fitness in October/November of last year. What’s Snatched you say? Only the best, most effective 6-week workout/nutrition program/intensive ever (Check it out here: http://markfisherfitness.com/snatched-in-6-weeks/). It will change your life.
My point is: David won that round of Snatched by being the most dedicated, driven, sexy person there is. Check out his fantastic transformation:
I digress… David also happens to be a very talented singer and pianist who is doing a recital this month on the 19th. I’m beyond excited to interview this guy.  Check out him and his art in this interview:
First off, tell us a little bit about yourself and what your personal art is?
DB: I’ve been singing since I can remember, but also playing piano. I double-majored in Undergrad and Grad school, then lived in Chicago for 10 years, where I did a lot of singing. I moved to NYC 2 years ago to accept a contract with The Metropolitan Opera for one show in the chorus. They’ve hired me back for 2 more shows since then, and I’ve also had the chance to sing with The American Symphony Orchestra, many churches and small opera companies, and music-direct/perform several cabarets here in NYC. I’ve really been connecting with my love of jazz and cabaret singing lately, so I’ve been pursuing that, and it allows me to use my piano and vocal skills together, which is exciting (that doesn’t happen in opera!)
Who are some of your biggest influences?
DB: In high school, I was obsessed with Ella Fitzgerald, in college Sarah McLachlan, in grad school, Audra McDonald, and in recent years Judy Garland. They are all great singers who are so passionate that they draw you in!
How did you get started singing?
DB: The first thing I can remember is music class in elementary school with Mrs. Tietjen, who would later become my piano teacher. I remember breathing deep breaths in and hissing out long slow breaths. It’s still helpful to this day! In college I started taking voice lessons seriously, and I really fell in love with the pursuit of ease and excellence.
What makes a good collaborator in your opinion?
DB: I think listening is the most important skill in collaboration. A great collaborative pianist listens to the singer and goes on the emotional journey with them. When I’m playing for someone, I’m pretty sure I breath right along with them. And I can sense when they need a little more of me or a little less from me. It’s the same when singing with other people. If I’m listening, I can blend and we can work together, rather than just alongside each other.
How do you think bettering yourself as a person makes your a better artist? What are some things you do to better yourself? Cause I know you do stud.
DB: The greatest artists are those who connect with their audience. So I think that the greatest thing we can do to further the emotional impact of our music is to connect with other people. It’s what I’m working on most this year–to turn off the phone and distractions, and sit with people, really truly listening, and relating, connecting. I’ve been reading some books on connection (recently Brene Brown’s “I Thought It Was Just Me” and trying to put those principles in action.
Unfortunately, relating deeply with others sometimes results in hurt and pain, and I’ve been in some relationships that have ended badly. But broadening the depth of my experience only broadens the resources at my fingertips when I’m performing. Guidepost 1 in Michael Shurtleff’s “Audition” is Relationship. “Find the Love” is what stood out to me when reading this. All songs are really about love: needing it, wanting it, hating it. And everyone can relate to love. So I may be over-simplifying, but if we can find the love in every scene, or song, we can create something that is spiritually or emotionally meaningful for our audience.
Where can I see this recital and when?
DB: I’m singing a recital of Copland’s Old American Songs and selected favorite Gershwin songs, bringing together my love of the classical and jazz worlds!
It’s February 19 at 7:30pm at Church of the Transfiguration, 1 E. 29th St. (29th & 5th) in Manhattan. I’ll be accompanied by the fabulous pianist Claudia Dumschat.
Here’s the link to the Facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/485881274856667/
BONUS QUESTIONS: LIGHTNING ROUND
Favorite Food?
DB: Chocolate. In all its forms.
Who did you blow to win snatched at MFF? (JK. But seriously.)
DB: Brian Patrick Murphy, obviously.
Also, I’m a very competitive person and very hard on myself, so I worked my ass off.
(Oh we know you did, stud.)
Dream vacation?
DB: In 2008 I traveled southern china, Tibet, and Thailand. I don’t think I could beat that, but if I were to try, I think I’d go to India for a few months and study yoga.
Give me a quote that you absolutely love and the author.
DB: “I was born to laugh

I learned to laugh through my tears
I was born to love,
I’m gonna learn to love without fear.”
From the song Born, by Over the Rhine. (the source of my wrist tattoos.)
Image
Worst. Comic. Ever. But I love it.
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DAMN! What a sexy interview.  This guy is amazing folks.  A true testament to how bettering yourself as a person can lead to better work as an artist.  I 100% agree with his point about listening.  Being present and in the moment with people is something we neglect so much in this day and age. If you’re making art with a collaborator or just having a cup of coffee with a friend, turn off the phone, engage in the conversation, and be present.
Until next time, stay awesome. I love your face.
Best,
BrockBiv
@brockbiv
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Like what you just read? Got a project coming up that you want to be interviewed about?  Let me know! I’d love to have you on my blog, you beautiful creature.  Message me, facebook me, tweet at me.  I’m here for YOU.

TREAT YO SELF

In honor of my favorite TV show, Parks and Recreation, being renewed by NBC for a seventh season, I’ve decided to write an entire post on the most glorious idea to come out of that majestic television show:

TREAT YO SELF

treat-yo-self2

If you’re not familiar with the catchphrase, it comes from Season 4, Episode 4 (Thanks wikipedia!) where Parks Department employees Donna and Tom take their annual day off, a day that they have dubbed “TREAT YO SELF.” This is a day where they get massages, buy whatever they want, and generally just do whatever the fuck they feel like. In the episode they take Ben, who is upset over his break-up with Leslie (Spoiler Alert: We knew that wouldn’t last) on their TREAT YO SELF adventures and he ends up buying a replica Batman costume. But I digress…

Brock, are you drunk? What is your point here? I’m getting to it. Geez Louise…

In this day and age, where we glorify the idea of busy, we work more hours for less money, we’re overeducated and underemployed, and we’re constantly connected without a break from other people, we need to find a way to be kind to ourselves. And that idea can take on so many different forms, but I think the simplest, most effective way would be to utilize this handy catchphrase. Maybe you can afford to TREAT YO SELF to a tropical vacation: do it.  However, treating yo self doesn’t have to be about spending money.

Are you working hard at your survival job, while also trying to manage a fledgling career as an artist? TREAT YO SELF to a day where you do what makes YOU happy! Going through some heartache? Take a break from stalking your ex/lover/fling/crush on social media, TREAT YO SELF to that emotional release. Worried about money and making rent next month? TREAT YO SELF to one of the numerous free museums, parks, exhibits, or botanical gardens in your city.

Or TREAT YO SELF to a cupcake, because that shit is cheap and delicious.

treat yo self cupcakes

Or maybe you TREAT YO SELF to an awesome workout, a night of ridiculously soothing sleep, or a night on the town.  That shit is up to YOU. TREAT YO SELF comes in all shapes and sizes, it should be done on the regular, and it is highly, highly personal.  Only Brock Bivens (Hey that’s me!) knows what Brock Bivens needs from himself and the world today. Just like how only Leslie Knope knows what Leslie Knope needs from herself and the world today. Just like how only you know what you need from yourself and the world today.

So TREAT YO SELF to some mental clarity. And if you can’t today, then plan it out! Get serious about yourself and what you need, because when it comes down to it, all we have is ourselves at the end of the day.  I want you to be the most productive, creative people you can be.  I’m not advocating a total Dionysian free-for-all of orgies and ice cream, but rest, relaxation, and fun are necessary for your beautiful brains.

Let’s me be real with you for a second.  I feel like I’ve been working nonstop, I haven’t been making money at my restaurant this month (Fuck you January), and my personal life is full of peaks and valleys.  It’s my first year out of college AND my first year in New York City.  This is natural, or at least that’s what everyone tells me.  It feels highly fucked up, discouraging, unnatural sometimes.  However, through the idea of TREAT YO SELF, I find a solace, a way to return back to me, and a way to bounce back from the daily challenges.  Today, I’m treating myself to creativity through this blog, a workout, and some healthy rest.

So here is challenge #2 of BETTER HUMANS MAKE BETTER ART:  What are you doing to TREAT YO SELF today? Seriously.  Leave me a comment.  I want to know.

If you want to make better art, you have to be a better human first. And better humans love and respect themselves to the utmost.  BETTER HUMANS MAKE BETTER ART.

I love you. I love me. It’s a crazy, cool world we live in. Keep creating. Keep prioritizing yourself.

“I’ve always dreamed of growing up to be Amy Poehler.”
-Amy Poehler

Best,

Brock Biv

@brockbiv

bw-knope

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