Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Super-successful people

My students at Ithaca College often ask about what it was like to have gone to school or worked with some of the super-successful people I know, like composer Jason Robert Brown (three Tonys) and newly Oscar-bestowed film editor Tom Cross. Here’s how I answer: 

Yes, on some level it is nearly inconceivable to me that my classmates have been awarded THE highest honors in their art. 

Jason Robert Brown leads the Eastman Chamber Rock Ensemble, 1988
But perhaps it’s not so strange. These are the folks who DID the most. They worked their asses off to make themselves the best at their craft. But above and beyond that, they became people who inspire others. They make other artists want to join them, collaborate with them, and do great things together.

So, the next time you’re in class, look all around you - at all the other people in the room. These ARE the people who will be doing great things. The ones who work the hardest will do the most, achieve the most, perhaps even earn the most. In the next 5, 10 or 20+ years, these ARE the people will be doing interesting, creative, beautiful and meaningful things. 

With Tom Cross at the Brighton high school 20th reunion

But don’t ever forget that you are one of them. So, let me ask you: Are you doing everything in your power to make yourself as good as you can be? And then, are you inspiring those around you? 

In your time studying here, you have been learning HOW to do it. Now, all you need to do is go and DO IT. Then in a few years, my students will be asking about how I knew YOU.

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