A constant motif in my creative work, aka screenplays and stories, is one of change.
A lot of my lead characters are seen to go on a personal journey and usually either start off with a beard, hairy, and pretty much down trodden and by the end of the story are clean, healthy and symbolically born again.
Perhaps hiding my face behind a beard is my mask. Maybe a shrink can have a field day with this fact but anyhow…
Maybe it’s me seeking attention and desperately wanting people to take notice of me.
I just like the idea of change. I like the idea of being someone else, even for one day. Perhaps this is why I like writing and performing so much; it seems to be a great way of being someone else and getting away from the crap that real life can bring us, and usually you can get away with it.
One thing I like to do is get people so used to seeing me in one particular way and then turn it on its head.
It could be something as simple as my wardrobe, or it could be a dramatic weight change.
Classic scenario: I went through what I call my “Hawaiian Shirt Phase” where I wore the most vibrant shirts, some totally dreadful, everyday for nearly 6 months.
I had the beard and the whole scruffy look happening.
I then, without warning, dressed in clerical gear, clean shaven, haircut etc. Everybody noticed, including the particular person I was trying to get the attention of.
Why? Because when you change your appearance I feel you subconsciously change your manner, your style and attitude. I know, I know. People are going to say, “You should be who you are and not act differently.”
But the thing is, I hadn’t. I was still the same person: I just looked different and therefore was treated differently.
NOTE: Are you always wearing the same kinda clothes, day in and day out? Try the colour WHITE. It can still be the same style, but you will be surprised how many people will say, “You look different, what have you done?”
I keep thinking of Nick Nolte’s character in Down and Out In Beverley Hills, also starring Bette Midler. Basically it’s about how a bum, scruffy and dirty gets cleaned up, looks a million dollars and eventually is appreciated and loved by the high and mighty of Beverley Hills. He ultimately returns back to his old lifestyle.
I look at bums on the street and try to think what they would do if they did scrub up. They are still the same person, and I would love to think that underneath the dirt and grime there’s a person that not only has a soul, but has some greatness within them that people don’t even know.
I can’t help but wonder what makes a street bum. Was it lack of money (although urban legends always say they have made thousands of dollars since living on the street)? Was it a family breakdown? Was it a mental breakdown, or was he or she a smarter person than us, found a better way of life and it’s us that are in poverty?
I do think about what it would be like to just drop everything and vanish. I don’t think I could actually go through with it, but it’s a fantasy all the same. I wonder what it would be like to do the whole Kane & Kung Fu thing and walk the earth, to have all your belongings in a knapsack and live off whatever you could find. Awesome stuff, but I couldn’t do it. I love my movies, I love my books, I love my friends too much. I’ll just stick to the facial hair and bad Hawaiian shirts.