My first blog: Creative Discipline – [KCRRLives]


What is KCRRLives?
I’ve always used “KCRRLives” as the name of my updates for friends and family,… “K.C.R.R.” is an acronym for my alias, K.C. Randall Rick.  “KCRRLives” is supposed to say, “yes, I’m still alive,.. and here’s what I’m up to.” For this blog, I might do a little journal writing, creative writing, maybe a Vlog, or a photo or illustration, whatever I want.

For the accompanying videos for this blog, go to KCRRLives on YouTube

For other exciting stuff, go to www.carlkli.wordpress.com

I believe that everyone’s journey is different.  This is just mine. Here’s my first blog entry….  KCRRLives Logo


CREATIVE DISCIPLINE
How to get yourself to do “____________.”  In my case, “something with my creativity.”

When I was young, I wrote, drew, sang, danced, and created,… early childhood education, and feeling like an outsider encouraged creativity.  In school I was in a “Prodigy” program, and there were always opportunities to write stories, or to create art.  My creativity had no bounds.

Mice are living in them now...
Mice are living in them now…

As I grew up and crawled into the “real world,” (I’m a late bloomer), I noticed many people losing the creative impulses they used to have.  Interests & priorities shift, selective skills are nurtured, and some natural talents became childhood hobbies.  Things you did because you wanted to do them, became things you used to do, replaced by things you feel you have to do.  For those late bloomers or creative types who were lucky, we were able adapt school to our creative needs.  Being in a class, ANY class, provided a structure; goals, commitment, and being accountable to others and yourself.  I was always a resourceful person.  Assignments, were just starting points in which to apply my creativity and self-expression, no matter the subject.

Animal Crackers Art project from college,... Maybe I'll tell the story for why this was controversial sometime...
Animal Crackers Art project from college,… Maybe I’ll tell the story for why this was controversial sometime…

After school, after college, most people get caught up with work, social lives, and trying to be an adult.  Without the focus and structure of class, I’d often struggle and get overwhelmed on where to start.  There may be many obstacles out of our control, but in many cases, we are our own.  Look for my vlog and blog on “Obstacles.”

What do we do?
Well, it was a long process for me to get to where I am, and often a constant struggle to maintain.  Most people aren’t as lucky as me.  I can survive on very little and I had close to no debt after college.  Whatever your circumstance, we need support from those around us, to help support what we want to do.  For me self-discipline only goes so far. You need outside forces to help support it and hopefully develop a habit.

Join a group or start one.
If there’s something creative you’ve been dying to do, and your self motivation has been waning,… enlist friends to help create a system to encourage and support what it is you want to do.  Sometimes it can be hard to ask for help, and pride may get in the way, but you work around that by getting others involved.  What I mean is that perhaps they don’t have to directly help you.  For example, instead of asking someone for help to get you in shape, maybe you just invite people to commit to working out together.  Start a jogging group, or weekly hikes with a friend, etc.

Be resourceful; who are the people around you?  Who do you know?
Do you have people around you who are DOING what you want to do?  Or people who also WANT to do what you want to do?  In ANY way at all?  Or just people who WANT to do something, ANYTHING?

I have a very talented friend, Sean Boggs who is a great and disciplined creator/artist. You have to see his pieces sometime.  I asked him if he’d be interested in being, sort of, a mentor to me.  Kinda like how in AA they have sponsors.  So he wouldn’t be mentoring me on creativity, but on creative and artistic discipline.  I told him that “what he does;” his discipline, attitude and perspectives as an artist, are the blueprint.  I was the media; the material in which he had to work with to mold to fit this blueprint.  Within that context, we asked and answered what he would he need to know from me, the material, and in turn, what would I need to learn from him to fit the mold.  We discussed our lifestyles, attitudes, personalities, perspectives and practices.  He then gave me an assignment, which was to prioritize a specific amount of time each day (starting with a minimum of an hour and a half), to doing something creative.  In my case, I wanted to start with writing.  We meet at least once a month to follow-up while I give him a hair cut.  I’ve been cutting his hair now for years.

Prioritize.  You want to do something, then do it.  
One important factor to “doing it,” was that I had to make it a priority.  If I didn’t, I would just do everything else BUT this first, if at all.  So, try to allot a time, like first thing you do when you wake up or something.

You want to ….. write?  Then write!  Even if you don’t have anything to write.
At first, I had no idea what to write.  I had nothing to write.  I have always had ideas, and had always just jotted them down when they came to me.  Here I was allotting time each day to write regardless of whether I had something to write or not.  I write; even if it was just to say that I had nothing to write; free-writing every single thought that came into my head.  Eventually, I found something to write, and it started become journal writing.  I noticed, I mostly gravitated towards philosophy, psychology, and self-help genre writing.  Then, later, I’d have ideas, and I’d write them down.  Then the next time, I’d do some more journal writing, jot down new ideas and explorations, and follow-up on others I’ve already begun.  Eventually, I’d start to develop and organize ideas into a project.

Keep it up.
That was a good start, but I needed more.  I knew that I’d begin, and then it would fall off.  I needed a partner.  Enter, Amy Chang, my partner-in-crime in acting.  We had discussed getting together to work on acting stuff.  At the end of the day, we just wanted to act and make a living.  I suggested that because we already do so much in our acting lives, perhaps we should explore writing, working up to writing our own material.

I don’t have time.
We’re both very busy, and I have enough stress in our daily acting lives, so I didn’t want to add to it by adding more work.  I decided that whatever we’d be working on, would only be required to be worked on when we were meeting.  If we chose to work outside of our meetings, great.  This took the pressure of having more homework to do.

Just do it.  Set up a time.
Now all we needed to do, was to just DO IT.  The best way to do that, is to include someone, and set an appointment.  We planned to meet every other week.  We start meeting and I gave us writing assignments, just to get us going.  We’d free-write a little, and then write for about 2 hours, and would go away and come back in 2 weeks to share what we had written.  In the time between we can choose to work on it or not.  As we progressed, we started brainstorming ideas for something we would write together, and that’s where we are now.  We also started meeting in the weeks between to working acting by practicing cold reading, working on each others’ auditions, and we hope to start reading some plays. Sounds like a lot, but that’s the power of scheduling and being held accountable to others.  Take it slow, or you’ll overwhelm yourself.  One thing at a time.

I want to set up even more support
I wanted MORE support in what I was trying to do, so I started, KCRReative Collective, a group that meets every month to share and get feedback on our creative endeavors.  Right now it’s just a close group of friends.  Not all of them are in the creative arts field for a living.  My hopes were to help create an opportunity for others, friends in particular, to get off their asses to do something to express themselves creatively.  I also want to create a space I can use to bring and keep those who inspire me around, and to collaborate with. Sean Boggs, comes and shares ideas for his inspired installation pieces.  Scott Marcus, used to write some Star Trek fan fiction in a forum, and now will try to get back to it and has been sharing that with us.  Michael McAvoy, an opera singer, sang us the theme song he wrote to a cartoon he had an idea for.  I tell them, it can be anything.  Literally, anything that they’ve been creatively working on, and at any stage.  If you want to talk about teeth brushing techniques, share a recipe, sing a song or whatever, you can share it, just to “do it,” or to get some feedback and workshop it.  When we meet, we each have allotted time to share, so that no one person hogs all the time.  The person sharing presents what it is they’re sharing and what their vision or goal for it is and what they would like to get from sharing with us.  The person shares,… and if he/she wants feedback,.. we give one way feedback as he/she listens.

Sometimes, we need more than friends.  Seek “good” professional therapy
I also have a therapist.  Many times, I feel I don’t need one.  Many times I go and I think I’m wasting my time and money.  BUT, if you have the ‘right’ therapist, one who WORKS for you, it should make all the difference.  I think everyone should have one of those, ha ha.  Whether you think so or not, we don’t always just need a friend to listen.  Sometimes, we need someone who is there kick our asses and wake us up.  My therapist is on board with everything I’m doing.  One week, he gave me the task of not playing any video games for a week.  My current addition was the game “Injustice” on my iPad. I really had a problem.  I was once addicted to the Facebook game, Marvel Avengers Alliance.  I would play it all day and stay up ALL night, sometimes tip 7AM or 11AM.  I wouldn’t sleep, eat or go out.  My friends practically had to have an intervention.  It was one of many things that I did to zone out and check out from life. I procrastinated from living a lot. I was like a zombie.  What ended up stopping me was landing the role of ‘Chicken Wing,’ in the Martin Scorsese produced film, “Revenge of the Green Dragons,” directed by Hong Kong director Andrew Lau, who directed “Infernal Affairs,” which Martin Scorsese adapted into his Oscar-winning film, “The Departed,” and Andrew Loo.

Goal setting
My therapist also had me do an exercise where I wrote out a few goals.  Maybe I’ll write another blog about this sometime.  Basically, for acting, my goal was to 1. be great, 2. be seen and 3. make a living.

1. Be great – this just means working on myself, and on acting.  I now will always hire a coach before a legit audition.  Coaching is a very very very good idea.  I help coach others also, which is just another way for you to learn.  It’s all about shortcuts to getting you to where you need to be.  (so much more to say on all this, and by shortcuts, I don’t mean in cheating in method or technique)

2. Be seen – there are lots of ways to be seen, BUT,… at some point, you may want to consider #3.  Otherwise, to be seen, it would mean that I need to be acting.  I’ve done more than my fair share of unpaid work, and I very much enjoyed it.  Acting is acting.  I didn’t really think about the money,.. not for a while at least, but now,.. I don’t do as much unpaid stuff.  The key here now, outside of just landing paying gig after paying gig is to create your own content.  If you’re not getting paid, might as well be your own work, in which you can do whatever you want, and as much as you can.  When you do that, you’ll always be doing something and always will have something to show.  Easier said than done?  One step at a time, and don’t think too much, try to just take actions.  It might help to follow my other suggestions I have above, i.e.. find others you connect with, and collaborate.

3. Make a living,.. or at least be paid.

What do I do with these goals?  Break ’em down.
You can do a basic internet search that tells you how to set goals.  Breaking them down into smaller tasks and actions, etc.  Set reasonable deadlines, set up support systems. I met someone I connected with who is helping me meet my goals.  The abundantly talented and wonderful person, Jaysen Headley, creator of the web-comic, The Class, among other things.  His passion, motivation & discipline to write is inspiring and he, as a person, inspires me.  With Jaysen’s encouragement and keeping an eye on my goals, we developed a 3-part plan to help me “be seen;” to create a public presence/identity and brand, which all points back to my pursuits in performance and self-expression.

  1. an outlet to share my interests [First Impressions, a weekly show where Jaysen and I give our literal initial first impressions of something such as comics, film, video games, etc on YouTube.]
  2. an outlet for my acting [writing with Amy, and maybe developing a short film or web series]
  3. An outlet to just share and do what I do, this BLOG.

Jaysen and I are also working on writing a comic together.

Surround yourself with inspiration!  BUT,….. Don’t think.
I really couldn’t have done this without Jaysen.  Though he gives me the additional push, the extra motivation, the more inspiration I need to just “do it,”  even with all the support I’ve surrounded myself with, it all comes down to ME.  It’s cliché, and you hear it all the time.  You want to know how to “do” something?  Just DO IT!  Don’t think.  We get in our own way.  With Jaysen doing his thing, I don’t have too much time to think or I’ll fall behind ha ha.  Surround yourself with people and things that will inspire you, and don’t think too much.  Do.  Take action, don’t just think about “doing.”

The end for now…
All of this leads to this blog now.  Jaysen decided to start a personal blog, where he’d also do accompanying illustrations.  This blog is another exercise in writing, creativity and getting myself out there.

For the accompanying videos for this blog, go to KCRRLives on YouTube

For other exciting stuff, go to www.carlkli.wordpress.com

#Carl Li#Carl K. Li#Carl Ka-Ho Li#Acting#Goal Setting#Goals#Get off your ass#Creative Discipline#Create#Do#Artist#Mental Health#Don’t Think#Creativity

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