Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be, #2
My friend Frank Oz has a term for this. He calls it “going the distance.”
It’s an inner test Frank applies at the start of any project, not just to himself but to anyone he will prospectively collaborate with—on a movie, a play, whatever. He asks himself, “Is this person someone who will give it their all, who will commit unconditionally to this work and this alliance? Is this someone who is capable of digging deep, of going to the core of the material, no matter how much it hurts?”
This is, to me, the second-level meaning of “Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”
We talked last week of the physical dimension.
Sit your body down in front of the keyboard.
Transplant your physical person to the city where your dream is most likely to find its home soil.
But the second level of this axiom is about the inner body. It means “move to the Paris in your mind.”
Depth of commitment.
That locus within your soul where your dream resides … can you move your will and your intention and your love to that metropolis? If we could take a Google Earth photo of your inner world, would we find your cat and your dog and your family parked there—at the epicenter of the dream?
When a movie director like Frank Oz takes on a project, he’s like you and me at the start of a novel. He’s projecting a two- or three-year commitment. He knows that at some point during that passage, the wheels of the project will come off. A crisis will present itself at which the faint of heart will pull the ripcord and bail. That’s when Frank’s term “go the distance” comes in.
He wants men and women on his movie-making team who will hang in, no matter what. Because that’s the only way great work gets done.
But Frank doesn’t only mean, “Stay when the going gets tough.” He means, “Burrow deep. Work at depth. Dig to the heart of the project and don’t fade when the material resists.”
“How much do you want it?”
“What price are you willing to pay to make this thing succeed?”
“Have you moved—lock, stock, and barrel—to your inner Paris?”