Now this here’s a story…

Hey it’s me Mark!

So the Gospel at mass this last Sunday was from the beginning of Mark’s gospel:

Hey, it’s me the gospel writer Mark!

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

People think the Bible is boring. They think it’s this old dead book. Dry. Stodgy. But it’s not! I mean, read this passage! Mark is basically a screenwriter! Continue reading

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Can You Make Money Doing Improv?

Hey, it’s me Mark!

Improvisers spend a lot of time doing improv, or practicing improv, or talking about it. It reaches a certain point where their families see them investing an enormous amount of time into this thing and they wonder, “Are you ever going to see a return on that investment?”

Our wonderful families and friends aren’t talking about an emotional return. They’re talking about money. Are we going to make our money back?

The conventional wisdom (usually shared with a person who has been doing improv for a year and loves it and wants to devote the rest of their Earthly existence to the promotion of this art) is that you will never make a living performing improv. You might someday be able to scratch out a living teaching it. But you can’t live off improv performance. It’s sad but true.

But wait…

I’ve been getting deep into Seth Godin this week. He’s an author and an entrepreneur. He talks about marketing frequently. Mostly, he’s just a good insightful guy. I like him. We’d probably be friends if we met. It’s no big deal.

Something Godin talks about is how we’re at the beginning of this new chapter in the world. We’re finishing up the chapter about the technological revolution. In the new chapter, what drives a person’s success is the ability to innovate. If you’re doing some task at your job, a machine could be invented tomorrow to do that. Boom. No more job. But if you have the ability to think differently, or the ability to let yourself think differently, you can never be replaced.

He says that we need to fail. We need to be willing to fail. Successful people are the ones who have failed more than the rest of us.

So will I ever make the money back that I spent learning to improvise? Sure. Because improv taught me to be comfortable trying new things. Improv taught me to fail.

I don’t just fail onstage. I fail every day. I fail in my relationship with my wife. I fail in my relationship with God. I fail at work. I fail everywhere. I’m getting really good at failing. It’s exciting.

I want to work in marketing. I’m not there yet, but I will be soon. How do I know?

Because I’m fantastic at failing.

God is an Artist

Hey, it’s me Mark!

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).

Being an artist can be intimidating. It can scare us. There’s the fear of failure. There’s the fear of making something that isn’t good. What if we make something and it’s bad? What will happen?

As a new parent, this fear can be translated into my role as a father. What if we discover that our child has Down syndrome? Autism? Cleft palate? What if he’s unathletic? What if she’s ugly? What if he can’t do math? What if she doesn’t get into college? Basically, what if our child isn’t perfect?

He will have to the age of four to prove himself, otherwise, we will release him back into the wild.

She will have to the age of four to prove herself, otherwise, we will release her back into the wild.

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