In my Edinburgh Fringe show I talk, in a rather tongue-in-cheek way, about my top tips for acting. When I first wrote the show in 2016, I had four top tips that I wrote out on a flipchart.
When we revisit the show this summer, there are some more that I want to include.
My best, best tip is to do with 10,000 hours theory. I am a big convert to the theory of growth mindset and to the idea that genius is attributable to 10,000 hours of practice, rather than innate talent.
There's a rub though - you need to do "effortful" practice. "Effortful practice" means attempting things that are just outside of your competence, rather than coasting along practising something that you have already mastered.
A great example is ice-skating. Top ice-skaters have fallen on their arse three times as often as weaker skaters. This is as a result of their attempting harder challenges.
The analogy for acting is clear. Top actors are those who have made a tit of themselves in public three times more often than other actors.
I am finding the process of taking a show to Edinburgh stressful. Does that happen to everyone?
The venue (theSpaceUK) has been brilliant, and has sent me a booklet with all the important things to do and the dates by which to do them. They also email me before every deadline, which in at least one case has stopped me missing something important.
I've had so much advice from friends of friends. How to write a press release, how to do digital marketing, when to flier.
And the outcome has been that I've ended up with a big fat to do list that just makes me want to hide my head under a duvet somewhere. And that's even before working on the show itself!
So how fantastic to talk to Anna Sheard this week, who is helping me with my marketing. She loves the show, the understands the point of it better than I do (no really, when someone asks me "so what's your show about?" I just freeze), she has ideas for what to do to get it out there and even better she is helping to actually do the things and lightening my load.
This week, for the first time since I committed to do this, I'm starting to think that it might be fun to do a show. And maybe even to market it.
The thrust behind this post is my surprise that there could be benefits of gender segregation. I wholehearted hate and in no way endorse segregation by gender, race, religion, nationality or any other grouping. This includes de-facto segregation such as faith schools.
I find it a particularly odious idea for gender. Wouldn't life have fewer issues for trans- and non-binary people if we weren't constantly classifying the human race into two distinct groups? I was recently discussing feminision at a CEO conference and I realised that I don't hate men. I'm not even pro-women (sorry women). I just hate gender.
I didn't hate the idea of gender when I was ten and choosing which school to go to. I proudly told my mum that "boys were stupid" or some such intolerant nonsense (sorry men) and that it would be better to go to a school that was all female.
Like all 14 year olds in single sex education, I started regretting this decision four years later. However, something interesting occurred to me when I was interviewed about my school aged 17. The fact that there were no males meant that, within the world of the school, there was no gender division. There were no "strong boys" to carry things - girls had to do it. There was no concept of physics and maths being "boys' subjects" - we had two full physics classes and a further maths class. All female.
Does the end justify the means? Did my school make life better for me, but worse for other people in the gendered world outside? Would I still have been a programmer and eventually a CEO, if I'd had to "fit in" within a mixed school?
The theme of this week has been Not Doing.
A mantra for acting is "Don't act the scene, let the scene act you." I believe in this a lot and try to use it very much in my acting.
Yesterday I was discussing how to make decisions and optimise your thinking with a group of CEOs. I am trying to make more decisions by Not Doing, Not Thinking, Not Planning.
I also had a conversation with a project manager about how to deal with a set of impossible deadlines. Not Doing seems almost paradoxical in this instance. And yet it's what I recommended to her...