Congratulations to Kimberly! We’ve honored her as our Student of the Month for December 2018. She has been growing a lot in her singing lessons, and has recently booked a national commercial….that’s in addition to her film and stage work!

Watch the interview where Jason and Kimberly talkJason and Kimberly talk about learning to congratulate yourself in the never ending quest for artistic success. And what the process of creating is like.

Jason: Hi Kimberly, welcome.

Kimberly: Hi. Thank you.

Jason: Good to see you here today.

Kimberly: It’s great to be here.

Jason: I’m very happy to have you here as well. So, we’re honoring you with the student of the month for a variety of reasons. We’re glad to see you so happy! We know that you’ve been doing some good work outside the school, you’ve been acting, doing some film work, some stage work and actually just booked some national commercials, right?

Kimberly: Yes I did!

Jason: Yeah. So I would love to hear about these.

Kimberly: I’ve booked my first national TV commercial in June. And I’m really proud of myself because I’m about a year and a half out of drama school. So for me it’s, it’s something that I’m taking with a grain of salt and just keep going and yeah, it’s exciting. It’s an exciting time.

Jason: Well, usually, you know, we take something with a grain of salt when it’s bitter and you want to make it taste better, but this actually sounds like a pretty good thing to me.

Kimberly: It is I always that I think I…. I need to stop making myself smaller when things….It’s like you don’t know when it’s gonna happen. You’re always worried when you’re an actor. I always feel like when’s the next project coming? And you don’t want to celebrate too much even though you honestly really should celebrate you really should if you book something. But I should, I should you’re right. I did it. I booked a commericial!

Jason: I feel that I have the same thing, sometimes. I accomplished things, and then I don’t really celebrate – yet people say “that’s awesome”. And I get that. Why do you think that happens that way? Do you think this is particular to you? Do you think this is part of the acting world? Do you think this is part of the art world?

Kimberly: When I talk to my group of friends and artists, whether they’re curators or musicians, I think it’s the same thing. It’s always that ongoing feeling inside that you just keep getting….got to keep working, got to keep going. If you’re not working on some project at some point, as bad as it sounds, you just sort of feel like you’re not doing anything even though you are doing things. So, it’s just my way of trying to keep myself motivated which I always try to be. But it’s always a struggle, artists are always struggling. Always second guessing ourselves.

Jason: Let me pitch a theory. I think that sometimes with things like the arts, whether it’s acting or music or even painting, the creators spend so much time practicing, rehearsing, painting or sculpting. And that is the majority of one’s life… actually producing the art. And then it goes on stage for 30 minutes or maybe for an hour. In your case, the commercial was how long?

Kimberly: The commercial was like maybe 10 seconds,

Jason: About 10 seconds. So you do all this work, right? But the end result is this really brief finite thing… And so I think it becomes really easy to just look at the end product as a marker of what you’ve done, but it doesn’t really tell the whole story of how you got there.

Kimberly: Yeah I mean with commercials. It’s a lot about being yourself or expressing just. It’s mostly just really about expressing yourself based on whatever the product is. When you are working on a play or a film, you do put a lot of yourself, a lot of vulnerability into something and it’s very scary and I think that’s why I’m so hard on myself…and sometimes self-deprecating, which we shouldn’t be. But it’s that vulnerability that really puts you out there. And that’s really what I’ve learned here at Sage. It’s really the same thing, except when you’re singing it’s actually a lot scarier

Jason: Singing is a lot scarier?

Kimberly: For me. It’s like this huge emotion and onstage, yes, you’re expressing these huge emotions. But you know, you learn when you begin music that it’s something that you can’t express through words. And so that’s really scary.

Jason: I see, I see. Interesting. Well, one thing is I feel like I’ve learned over time is like audiences are much more forgiving than we as performers think. In the end they’re there and they want you to do well because no one wants to go to a show and hope the performers don’t pull it off. Everyone’s really rooting for you because they want that good experience too.

Kimberly: Yes I’ve learned that.

Jason: Yeah good it took me awhile. I think also. Did you do degrees in, in drama?

Kimberly: My undergraduate degree was in television writing and producing.

Jason: Okay.

Kimberly: I worked for ABC news out of college and then decided I wanted to be an actor. I didn’t want to stay so objective about things. I wanted to have an opinion about it in a way that I could fully express myself. So that’s why I decided to be an actress. So then I went to the Maggie Flanigan studio. It’s a conservatory in Chelsea in NYC based on Meisner technique. And I’ve just been going at it since, committed.

Jason: The reason I ask you this because I found that when I was in music school, for both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees – and I think that most of my peers experience would be the same – it was a super critical experience. And everyone’s criticizing your technique and it wasn’t a very supportive environment to learn or to increase my ability to do the music thing. Do you feel it’s different that that, or did you have a similar experience when you were in conservatory?

Kimberly: I perhaps took the criticism in a different way. I can understand how some people would feel that way, people that I’ve been in class with. But for me the criticism was my motivation. I was thinking that I want this more than anything I want in life and I’m willing to hear what people have to say. And going back to what we said about the grain of salt, taking that as a grain of salt.

Jason: I think that’s a better place to take it.

Kimberly: Yes, absolutely. Yes, yes. And just letting that help to nurture me and help to grow. I mean, a lot of times it was really, really hard for me. It was difficult. It felt like ripping a bandaid every single class a lot of times, but that’s just something you have to go through for development. Like in life, you have to go through the pain to grow. So it was incredibly difficult but you learn from it. And more character.

Jason: Well I’ve seen you growing by the way, you know. I know that you talked about performances being scary in a certain way. And I’ve seen your ability to perform, from the recitals here, improve and improve and your confidence is increasing. Can you maybe talk a little bit about what you’ve done to improve your confidence and your ability to conquer the stage here?

Kimberly: Well, my first recital. So scary! It was so scary. I feel like I didn’t fail, but it was definitely funny. I feel like I definitely flopped in a lot of ways. I remember the first recital I had to start over like three times and I didn’t really fully even get through. It just was so scared. I was so nervous. And even though I had practiced and felt like I was on point on in rehearsal I realized I just really needed to take it easy and to really just focus my energy and everything that I was doing on the words and on the story as you would in a play, as you would in a monologue. And to just really say what you mean, and give it your best. Just give it your best in that moment because people will see your humanity and that’s what creates the performance. So I’ve been working on just trying to be easier about it. And on practicing in front of friends and family at home, which I find really difficult sometimes. But yeah, just putting yourself out there inch by inch, doing karaoke with friends or something. Yeah. Not being, not being so scared. It’s all an illusion. Right? Fear is an illusion.

Jason: Well, maybe it’s an illusion. For some people they feel it very, very strongly. It’s real for some folks too.

Kimberly: Yes, yes, absolutely.

Jason: One of the things I’ve been talking a lot with our teachers and other students here is that – and I’m glad to hear you talk to some degree this way – is that there’s the process – the learning and the growing – and there’s the product which just goes out on stage. And it’s really kind of cool that the people who focus more and more on the process and don’t really think about the product that much are the ones who typically achieve more are also less stressed and have less fear in the performance because they trust in the work that they put in. It’s like this ability to grow and continually grow and, and gain competence. Do you feel like you focus more on the product? Do you feel like you focus more on the process?

Kimberly: I think the, the process. You envision your product at the end, but I think the process for me is really important. The whole, crafting the whole. I think that’s where the real meat is, that’s where you get the most out of it. So it’s the process for me.

Jason: Okay, good, good.

Kimberly: Yeah.

Jason: I like that, that’s good. So let’s end here. So tell me, or tell our friends out there…What advice would you give to someone looking to perform?

Kimberly: I think if you’re looking to perform, know that you are absolutely enough. And give yourself to the story. And it’s not about you. And enjoy it, just enjoy it. Have fun. Don’t, don’t, don’t let anything overwhelm you, just enjoy it.

Jason: Okay, great. Well it’s been a pleasure having you here and I hope we can keep helping you improve and grow. It’s been great.

Kimberly: Thank you. Thank you.

Jason: You’re welcome. Thank you.