Every entrance is an exit from somewhere else

I just wrapped up a six-week acting class with Tim Phillips focused on Building the Physical Life of the Character. I learned a lot in the class about how to take time with a script, be patient, and discover a character. I’m grateful for the process Tim shared and also for the bits of wisdom he sprinkled into the class.

“Every entrance is an exit from somewhere else.”

This was a note Tim gave to some other students regarding the top of their scene when their characters were returning home. It’s one of those obvious statements that nonetheless blows your mind.

Of course the character is influenced by where they’ve just been! How can I use this to start the scene in a dynamic place?

Where you’ve been matters. This is true for characters on stage, and I think it’s also true in life. Whenever you enter a new situation, your attitude and desires in that situation are influenced by where you’ve been and what you’ve gone through.

On a day to day basis, this can be as simple as coming home grumpy after a long work day. On a broader time horizon, this can be wanting a new stage of life to be different from what came before (e.g., college to be different than high school).

I’m in a phase of life right now where I’m trying to pivot and change what I do day to day so I can make a bit more money and keep pushing myself creatively. Unlike my last major career change (leaving academia), I’m not trying to abandon what I’ve been doing, but I’m trying to build on it in a more clear direction.

I’m finding the pivoting process challenging because I’m bringing to it baggage from the past few years. I think about moments of disappointment and want to change the direction I’m going and do a 180 shift again.

But this isn’t practical or sustainable. Every situation I could put myself in will come with its own problems. All I can do now is recognize where I’ve been and how that’s influencing my current state of mind and where I want to go next.

Because I’ll leave this stage too and enter somewhere else.


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