Carnival Project & Flight Time
I know I haven’t talked much about my SCA Carnival project lately. Simply put this is because I have not done much with it over the past couple of months. When we get to the end of the year all of our SCA thoughts turn towards 12th Night which tends to be all consuming. I have other 12th Night specific plans and projects that I must engage in.
That being said, 12th Night makes for a good milestone marker as well. Once it’s over I will have much greater bandwidth to focus on the things I want to focus on such as the Carnival project. So for the past couple of months I’ve been saying “when 12th Night is done the next thing I’ll focus on is……” A common refrain for many of us.
This, of course, coincides with “New Year’s Resolution” time, but I am generally not happy about making resolutions. Mainly because they are notorious for being broken. Usually they are things like “exercise more”, “eat better”, “lose weight” and other self-improvement projects. So when they get broken we end up feeling worse about ourselves and thus the cycle repeats.
Interestingly enough though, I am finding myself very willing and even eager to “set goals” for the coming year, such as getting my Carnival project off the ground. I have a clear deadline set, and a plan of attack, and other people who are willing to be involved so by implication people who are counting on me.
So, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it’s going to take for me to do the variety of things I want to do, that I am setting as goals, for the coming year.
This brings me to the concept of “flight time.”
A while back I wrote about the book I’ve been marking up and it is from there that I am taking my current concept of “flight time” though in truth I have known about it a great deal longer than that. Simply put “flight time” is all about getting experience doing the thing you want to do.
There are many articles and studies which have been done focusing on the idea that in order to “master” any particular skill you need about 10,000 hours of actually doing it. One excellent introduction article can be found here: Gaining Mastery – The Three Vital Steps of The Apprenticeship Phase. There simply is no substitute for flat out experience no matter how much you practice, train or rehearse.
Any performer will tell you that there is no amount of practice or rehearsal you can go through that will fully prepare you for actually performing. You can hit a point where you are as ready as you will ever be, but crossing the threshold between rehearsal and performance still means stepping into the unknown.
But this is where the lessons are. Live audiences will throw things at you (sometimes literally) that you will not really be prepared for. If you are as rehearsed as you can be, if you are as comfortable as you can be with your material then you will be in a position where you will at least have the tools you need to try and handle what the audience has created for you in terms of a new situation.
This is “flight time.” Performances. Time in front of an audience doing the things you need to do in order to build your repertoire, build you confidence and build your skills.
Confidence building is the biggest part. Getting in front of people so that you get comfortable with who you are on stage and who they are as your audience. This is the part that scares everyone and it’s the make or break part of being an entertainer. Far more fail than succeed because of this step.
I’ve done some flight time. I’ve got a life time of stage experience and I did get to the point of doing magic as a profession for several years. But without sitting down and doing the calculations I can still say that it’s extremely likely I haven’t achieved the 10,000 hour boundary line. Even having been called a “pro” by my mentors I think I don’t have that “magical” amount of flight time.
So this year I’m going to seek it out when and where I can. I need to get that going so that when the time comes for the Carnival project to really get off the ground I will be better prepared. I will begin by entertaining at 12th Night this year. And after that just look for that black leather bag hanging at my side. If all goes according to plan this will be my “Commando Act” (the magic I am prepared to entertain with anywhere anytime) and I will be pushing myself to log the “flight time” I need.