"The secret of good writing is to say an old thing in a new way or a new thing in an old way." - Richard Harding Davis, journalist and author (1864 - 1916)
Soooo I'm in West Palm Beach, FL right now... on a business trip for my "day-job." Tough life, right?
It's beeeeeautiful here. And between doing all my job-related duties, I've been resting and taking some time to do a few things that I lovvve... like staring out at the unending horizon of the Atlantic Ocean and breathing in the smell of the sea salt or taking a luxurious bubble-bath in the ginormous hotel bath tub.
I love water. Baths seriously rule. There is nothing like the soothing feeling of warm water and the smell of super yummy fragrant suds. Very healing after a couple of very stressful/busy weeks.
Relaxing a bit is good.
Annnnd... I set myself a "grad-school-application-prep-goal" for the weekend too... I want to write-up the first draft of my Juilliard Personal Statement, which is due (along with the rest of the online application) on Dec 1st.
Hopefully, with the inspiration of being surrounded by so much beauty, comfort and H20... I will be able to come up with two pages, double-spaced in a 12-point font.
It's funny... I write about my creative process and reasons I want to go to grad school six days a week on this blog... so you'd think that I'd be like... "Personal statement? No problem!"
But I'm actually rather intimidated by the prospect of narrowing all of my millions of thoughts/feelings/ideas/reasons/motivations/inspirations for this whole grad school endeavor down into two simple pages.
I want to tell my story in a compelling and concise way. So I've got to be selective about what I chose to include. I can't tell them EVERYTHING about me. So what are the most important thing(s) that they should know about me and my story?
There are sooooo many different angles I could take. I could write 20 different personal statements and they all would be 100% TRUE, but still only a small snapshot of WHY I am making this choice of applying to grad school for the third time.
So what's the best picture to paint?
Here's what I do know for SURE... I definitely want to write about the blog and how overcoming my fear of being publicly transparent about my creative process has helped me grow as a person.
So that's that... but there are million different WAYS for me to tell that story and many different personal examples I could include... ya da, ya da.
So this is where yooooou come in...
What do you think is the best way to spin my story? You guys have been reading the blog and following my process and being believing mirrors, supporting me since I started this project back in September... and before. So I feel like you are all incredibly qualified to weighing-in on this particular subject of what best to include in my personal statement.
Need some structure to hang your thoughts on? How 'bout this...
Juilliard spells out their "Criteria for Acceptance" on the website. In auditioning and interviewing potential students, the Drama faculty looks especially for the following qualities:
- A serious commitment to an acting career in the professional theater
- A potential for meeting the technical standards of Juilliard’s professional training program
- A potential for vital, individualistic, trainable growth—regarded as more important than the applicant’s present state of technical accomplishment
- Energy, openness of mind, enthusiasm, and a readiness to take risks
- A body, voice, and imaginative/emotional powers promising significant dramatic development
- A potential for identification with the thought process of a text
- A generosity of spirit essential to ensemble playing
- A sense of humor, a sense of language, a sense of rhythm, and a capacity for sustained concentration
- A readiness for hard, rigorous work
- All applicants must be completely fluent in written and spoken English.
That's who I want to BE!!!!
And...here are Juilliard's guidelines for writing the Personal Statement Essay:
Juilliard’s Admissions Committee uses your essay to learn more about you as an individual, and gain a sense of who you are beyond your application, transcript and audition. Please write about why you have chosen to become an actor and your personal artistic goals. We encourage you to write frankly and openly about your life, your connection to your art, and how you see your art connecting to the world. Share your passion about people or politics or other art forms or about anything that speaks to you.
So what comes to mind about Virginia Wilcox when you read all that? Any ideas sparking from anything you've read in a previous post or a conversation that we've had?
Ultimately, I know that it's going to be ME who's going to write the thing... But I am very interested in your perspective, because I feel like we're not always the best judge of our own best stories.
If you want to go the extra mile and be really super OVER-ACHIEVING... You can click on the "Personal Statement(s)" tab on the AcceptanceProject home page and gather some context from reading my two past personal statements for NYU. Then you can flaunt your knowledge by posting a incredibly insightful suggestion for possible inclusion in this year's statement in the comments at the bottom of this post.
Yes, you can help shape this girl's future success, by your participation with this blog! How cool is that?
I mean... if you were on the audition panel at Juilliard, choosing which students would be accepted to your program, and you read an essay by this blog-writing-failed-twice-but-won't-give-up-Virginia-Wilcox-actor-person... What about her would make you sit-up and take notice and motivate you to want to help her succeed as an actor soooooo much that you'd be overjoyed to take her on and work closely with her for the next four years to help mentor her into the best possible artistic collaborator she can be?
THAT's the essay I want to write.
Send me your thoughts, peeps! Let's get this draft goin'!!!
"The storylines we create around a particular circumstance are far more determinative of success than the circumstance itself. They affect not only our willingness to act, but the quality of our ideas and solutions." - Jonathan Fields, Uncertainty: Turning Fear & Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance
I am applying to The Juilliard School because Juilliard cultivates dreams and creativity into success. The saxophone is like a poet’s pen, and it’s my job to make the pen sing. I am an inventive musician. But more than inventive, I bring an unparalleled originality to my performances—I do things with music that other musicians wouldn’t dream of. Would an average musician think to play never ending repetitions of three note scales, or to hold out off-key notes for minutes on end? No. I’m not just some artistic hippie; I get how this industry works. I’m a professional paid musician. I’ve been a regular performer near the Lincoln Center and outside of Madison Square Garden. My audiences love what I do. Sometimes, people will be so overcome with emotion that they’ll even pay me to stop. Beauty is very powerful. Why, at times, I even surprise myself.
Like any art, my music is best enjoyed from a distance, which is something my audiences understand. Listeners like to keep a good ten to fifteen feet from me, which I can only see as a sign of the utmost respect. My ability to combine shrill yells with my melodies leaves my audience in awe. And they almost seem overwhelmed by my lung capacity, as I never stop, no matter how many times they ask that I take a break for my own safety. I value how much they respect me and don’t want me injured. To me, this love is what being a musician is all about.
I’m entertaining! Just not in the sense of a traditional saxophonist. I don’t play well in jazz ensembles, in orchestral setups, or with anyone else in general. I’m a free spirit, a non-conformist. I perform in sweatpants. I need to feel what I’m playing. I can’t be constrained to sheet music. But that’s not because I can’t read it, or anything. My refusal to play the piece during my audition was an attempt to prove a point. It definitely wasn’t because I didn’t know what to play. I felt it was more admirable not to show off. I also hope that the argument during my audition over the proper way to hold a saxophone will be forgiven. The disagreement was clearly a discretion in taste, and I hope anything rude I may have said can be overlooked. I’m not a racist. I was only caught up in the tempo of the moment.
The saxophone is more than just an instrument to me. The high notes and low notes it possesses are an analogy for life. We can live a life in perfect pitch, or we can let time pass by in an out of key existence. If accepted into Juilliard, I would be an incredibly committed student looking to enhance my ability. I promise to never miss a class, or to even miss a beat. I would be eager to start as early as tomorrow, if there wasn’t a court order keeping me two hundred yards from the school at the present moment. I want to clarify that I was only following that faculty member to his house to repay him for the music stand I broke during my audition with him. I honestly have no idea how that knife got in my hand, and I was only guessing the names and ages of his children. It’s not like I did any research, or talked to them. I hope those misinformed charges will not affect the admissions process for me in any way. And even if those charges were true, they only show how committed I am to know my instructors. I’m willing to go the extra distance, even if that means taking a train fifty-seven miles into New Jersey.
It’s this obsessive passion for learning and my hopes for musical grandeur that makes me an ideal student. If accepted into Juilliard, I won’t be just another charming stranger obsessively looking in through the school’s windows, I’ll be a student living a dream.
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