Timeless advice for writers or actors

I saw a brilliant musical adaptation of the novel Daddy Long Legs at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix yesterday morning.

If you haven’t had a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. It’s there until January 15th and moving across the country.

After the performance, we were lucky enough to attend a Q&A with the actors, Megan McGinnis and Robert Adelman Hancock. They were generous with their time even though they had just performed for more than 2 hours.

Of course, the obligatory question came up: What advice would you give upcoming actors? But the answer Hancock gave  resonated with me. He answered, simply, “Learn as much as you can about many things.” Don’t focus on just acting or just singing. Rather, learn about chemistry, engineering, drama, English, history, etc. This way, you are able to pull from so much knowledge about life and that can only make your craft stronger. Simple advice that many people forget in the pursuit of a profession.

And the same advice applies to writers, does it not? That book you’re reading on physics is not a waste of time, and neither is that Nazi documentary on the history channel. Even reading People magazine can be helpful and build your knowledge of current trends for future writing. It’s all research and education. Don’t feel guilty about hitting the art museum or Musical Instrument Museum, it will help you when you least expect it.

I was advised when I entered Journalism school to take as many classes in as much as I could in order to be a better writer. I believe it was the best advice I was given (other than to stay away from that burrito place on Mill Ave).

I agree with Hancock and it definitely shows in his performance of an early 20th-century gentleman. Go see the show and then grab a Newsweek Magazine on your way home.


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