EATING OUR VEGETABLES
By: Jess Canty
I happen to like most veggies, but you know what I mean here... a big part of this business is "eating your veggies" - doing the thing that is difficult, even though it may be good for you.
I find that as we get older, we get much better at identifying the "veggies" in our life - and avoiding them. But as an actor, you need to be your own popeye and realize that spinach is actually going to make you stronger - if you can just manage to open that can and swallow it down. Have I gone far enough with this analogy? I think so.
So where is this coming from?
As you all know I subscribe and listen to WAYYYY too many podcasts. So when the latest episode of The Treatment popped up and it was Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg my reaction was immediately "ughhh vegetables."
For me, Seth Rogen is part of the group of guys in comedy that killed the Rom Com with the R-Rated Bromance Movie - so I definitely have an aversion to their particular brand.
There are a few bright spots of course - and I can respect that they get original movies made - but still, not my cup of tea. I also, admittedly am NOT the demographic so no harm no foul - other than killing the Rom-Com of course.
So I planned on skipping this episode of the treatment all together. Just wasn't going to listen to it. Don't need to hear from those guys. Whatevs.
And then I was in the shower, and when the podcast I was listening to ended, this episode of The Treatment was up next in the queue, and it just started playing. So I wasn't about to get out just to turn it off... and thus the distinctive cackle of Seth's nervous laughter echoed in my bathroom.
But you know what happened? While I was rolling my eyes at their deep dive into some comic book conversation that was so "inside" it almost didn't sound like English... the spinach appeared.
Seth said "I think the average length of time it has taken for most of our projects is about 8 years."
And right there - in the middle of a podcast I didn't want to be listening to, that I was SURE I would get nothing out of - that nugget.
8 YEARS. For a Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg project. And that is the AVERAGE? Seth went on to talk about the fact that from conception to actually getting to the premiere, these projects have taken this long - or longer. That they have had to hold onto their ideas so tightly and believe in them so much just to get them to the screen. In both TV and Film. That they have lost out on projects, only to have them come back around. That they have had to just keep writing, pitching and convincing people that this is actually a good idea in order to get things made.
And of course they have the luxury of being able to wait, to be able to be patient, because that is its own privilege. But even if we ignore that, you have to respect someone who believes so deeply that a satire about religion can be told via grocery store food is funny, that they are willing to stake 10 years on it.
Did it change my mind about most of the content that these guys put out? Not really. But I definitely respect the hustle much more.
And it made me realize that as creative people we ALL need to be running at the things that we may initially have an aversion to. That this is where the growth is. This is where there are nuggets of inspiration. This is where you may find something that will make you feel better - in a place you least expect it to.
So what are you avoiding? What is your spinach? What scares you as a performer? Hate foreign films? Go watch some Fellini. Tired of Marvel? Get thee to some iron, man. Think the Rom-Com should stay dead? I think it is time to take a trip with some Crazy Rich Asians.
Whatever it is - run toward it.
It is easy in this biz to form opinions about everyone else's work. To make assumptions about how and why they are where they are. To consider yourself better than X, Y or Z.
I am certainly guilty of playing that game in my head. "I mean, why do people even think Seth Rogen is funny...I just don't get it."
But I thought Sausage Party was smart and pointed and weird and hilarious, didn't I? I liked Future Man when I watched it to see Kevin Caliber. And I loved Knocked Up.
Maybe it is time for me to go eat some Neighbors spinach.