1. What was the ONE big thing you took away from Solo Projects, Shakespeare, and TML?
It's hard to group all of these different chaotic experiences together with just one lesson because they taught me very different things. However, I took away a better understanding of myself not just as an artist this time but as a person. I had the revelation in Solo Projects that I as a man can have emotions for myself, not some character I'm portraying, but genuine outward expression of what I'm feeling on the inside; I realized that there's a lot of negative and unhealthy patterns in my life, in my thought process, and behavior that have been to an extent self destructive that I've just ignored, suppressed, and kept quiet about but putting it onstage, in my games, and in writing has been the therapy I might have needed. Shakespeare was an exercise in trying to separate what I was feeling onstage vs real life, because when you're so caught up with the scene and really feel chemistry between your partner and you, and start becoming very close offstage you can get mixed signals and it's just important to be professional at the end of the day. TML was an exercise in patience and faith in your fellow ensemble members, because no matter what you do as a playwright, as a director, as an actor, whatever… you can only do so much and the rest is up to the others; you can't put all the responsibility and blame on yourself for everything in life, and sometimes its OK to feel angry at someone other than yourself once in a while.
2. The hardest thing(s) for you this semester?
I don't regret solo projects, it really pushed me to greatness in my work in gamedev and theatre. Although it was at some major cost to my emotional well being and by extension physical health, and the effects though decaying are still apparent. It's not as extreme as Whiplash or anything, but it was out of my comfort zone and there was an advantage to being able to just be an invincible naive boy ignoring all the bad thoughts; that advantage is gone. I've grown up, a lot. I've killed a year's worth of my life's work in art and gamedev in a panic attack or my performance, realized that I'm just an asset, a product to consumers, not an actual person. I've realized that nobody actually cares, but on the flip side people do, but they don't understand, nobody will fully understand, and that's my ultimate goal with my art form, “what matters most”.
3. The easiest thing(s) for you this semester?
Shakespeare was a breeze, I've never had an easier time memorizing and performing a scene. I could not have asked for a better scene partner in the world. Amelia is really a great friend, a great actress, and an amazing human being who's going places in theatre. It was a good experience.
4. What are you most proud of accomplishing this year?
I've really made the first few steps from gamedev hobbyist to actual industry professional. Started the company, had an initial commercial failure, make failure lemonade with that failure and got a contract with Microsoft, scrapped everything, and started again with more motivation then ever before after loosing any and all motivation prior. I came to the discovery that it's really good to spontaneously destroy your own work as to not grow to attached, to have the work consume you, own you, because that's one of the major unhealthy self destructive loops that I get stuck in and to combat it, just tear that work to shreds and begin again on your terms; I know it sounds crazy to the average individual, but I swear by it now.
5. Next year what are the things you are most concerned about?
I only want to go to one college (USC – University of Southern California) that's out of my league both financially and test score wise, yet I'm certain it's the only one that I could actually benefit from. The only problem is you have to get in academically before they can even look at your portfolio for the gamedev program. If I don't get accepted, it's not the end of the world; it just means I'll try again as a transfer student from community college or not attend college at all and I'm at peace with that. Because I deserve better than that school anyways. My visit to the school was nice, I wanted to participate in the classes I sat in on, and since it was a feedback session I wanted so badly to help those struggling students with solutions to all their problems, but it wasn't my place. And some of the staff looked down on me, but then when some of them got just a scent of what I could do they acted differently. I don't have to deal with sexism in the industry like females do, but I do have to deal with age-ism, when I have to prove my worth to everyone to get the same respect because people twice my age feel threatened by me and my work; it happened a lot with the other interns (especially the grad students) at my job last summer, and I hate it. It's the reason why I just want to go indie, get a part time job to just get by, and go solo making video games myself the way I want to. The only person I whom I can really trust is me, and that gives me comfort.
6. Looking back on the year what do you think you have learned as a performer and as a person?
Well I think I covered that above, but in short I grew up; perhaps I grew up more than I should have, which explains the onset anxiety I've been experiencing, bad sleeping patterns due to not being able to shut off my own thoughts, and trouble drowning out the negative thoughts, having trouble distinguishing my own negative self perceptions and what people actually say about me to the point where no “atta boys” actually make any difference to my mood. It's been a rough semester, more worse than anything I've dealt with in my life. Everything seems like it's going to inevitably fail, no matter what regardless if I'm aware of how crazy that seems. I learned that I need to talk openly about this stuff to people I trust for help, now whom, or to what extent, or when? Well that's a work in progress. Yet, once this chaos calms down in the next week or so I'll be able to breathe, compartmentalize, and walk beyond this period of my life starting now.