You like cheesecake? I love cheesecake. So one day, I thought I’d make my own creation. It all started one Thanksgiving when I decided to break out of the norm. My mom was walking around talking about how tired she was and so I decided to help her cook. Instead of making the same usual traditional dinner desserts of pumpkin pie, german chocolate cake, applie pie, etc. I thought I’d try making a cheesecake. So I gathered the ingredients, put them in a pre-made graham cracker crust and baked it. It was simple. It was also pretty good, but then again, when is cheesecake not good?
After surprising myself by actually making a cheesecake, I thought “why don’t I do this often and how can I improve upon this?” It was a bit dry, cracked and brown at the top. I made it like this for awhile until a couple of things hit me. When I compared mine to that of The Cheesecake Factory, mine was brown, dry, cracked and in a pie crust. I knew there was a difference but this never had been made clear to me before.
So with this new truth before me, I set out reading or skimming through books on how to make the perfect cheesecake. I looked for recipes, ingredients, techniques, equipment, and I implemented them immediately. What I found was there were several different brands to choose from for ingredients and equipment, numerous different recipes that all differed, but two basic techniques, either you cook it in a water bath or you don’t. There were very few similarities in the recipes. Some used flour, some didn’t, some used sour cream, some didn’t, some used more eggs or less.
After much trial and error, I had arrived. I had invested alot of time, energy, trial-and-error, love, and research into this process and it paid off. Friends and family had begun to take notice. I never did it for them though. I was just interested in the process, the challenge. That carried me through to this perfect cheesecake. It looked perfect, no cracks, no browning at the top, moist, not too sweet, just all around good. But it took alot of time to make it look this way. I made them with love, and people began to take notice. My sister would tell her friends about them. Her friends in turn asked me to bake them one for their birthdays. It was one, then another, then it got to the point where they were beginning to offer payments.
On my search for perfection, I knew I was getting better, but it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. Regardless, the people thought they were great. Some didn’t believe I baked them at all.
This whole process taught me something very valuable. As I began my journey to become a professional actor, my goal was to become one of the greatest .So I would look into actor’s biographies for the perfect acting technique. The one “key” to greatness. I looked for the perfect acting school. The bottom line, I was looking for the perfect ingredients, recipes and equipment all over again.
It Doesn’t Exist
I was disappointed. There are lots of great actors, with different techniques, that have went to different schools, had different physiques, and were as unique as each cheesecake recipe I had found.
I learned no matter what equipment/technique/acting method or brand/school you have, the end product ultimately depends on what you bring to it.
With cheesecake, my mixer, ingredients, techniques, and recipes and such were pretty much average. My mixer wasn’t the best quality, but the patience, passion, love and carefulness I brought to it made a big difference to the baking process. I had the best ingredients, not a so great oven, but I gave my best response, and would spend alot of time in the kitchen preparing each one. The outcome, a beautiful and equally delicious cheesecake, that you would have never believed that I baked!
It was the same thing with acting. There was never one acting method that worked for all actors. No school. No teacher.
My teacher said acting is more work ethic and less talent. When I think back on particular experiences where my odds seemed stacked against me, I gave my best response and changed my expected outcome. It all stemmed from me assuming full responsibility.
How about you? When faced with a particular situation in which the odds are stacked against you, how do you play your cards? How does that change the outcome?