"Sometimes learning takes us back to the beginning and we discover something new."
Have you ever experienced that internal feeling of gratitude and respect when you know you're working with a great Artist?
That's how I felt working with Paula Plum. I love this woman and think you will, too.
My hope is that our work together on PaulaPlum.com takes her talent beyond Boston and reaches larger audiences around the world.
Why did you become an Actor? Director/Writer/Teacher?
I was educated in Catholic School and the nuns, in an unprecedented display of indulgence, allowed me to make plays of the books I read in lieu of writing book reports. I would then cast myself in the lead and perform scenes from these playlets in front of the class, consuming inordinate amounts of class time! I was the center of attention! Laughter! Fun! The Downfall of Drudgery! I became a writer and an actress! I was 11 years old!
What are you currently working on or towards?
Too many things, at the moment.
I have found, in my rather lengthy career, that in the creative life, it’s either feast or famine, and I am currently on a binge!
Yesterday began my tenure as Interim Artistic Director of the Actors’ Shakespeare Project. I am a founding member of ASP and a member of the Resident Acting Company.
Simultaneously, I am in rehearsals for Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” opening Jan 13 at the Lyric Stage Co. of Boston.
And... I continue to coach privately at home.
If you could offer advice to your younger self (and/or young aspiring artists), what would it be?
Let it go.
Who’ve been some of the mentors/teachers instrumental to your success?
Two college professors inspired me, Rose Shulman and Joe Gifford.
Joe is 96 years old, was my movement teacher, introduced me to meditation in the 70’s and continues to be my dear friend today.
Rose was a philosopher of life, as well as acting. She had a seemingly simple approach to acting that was based on extending generosity to the other actor and to the world. Her credo was: “In life and in art, follow the path that has the most heart.”
What do you love about the digital age we live in?
That I can Skype with people I love and it’s almost good enough. Skype saved my life when I was living in Paris and was filled with homesickness. I got to see my husband and cats every night! Bliss.
What do you hate about the digital age we live in?
The feeling that I will never catch up. I love learning, but sometimes I just want to GET IT DONE and not have to watch yet another video to figure out how to use the damned phone!
What do you think makes a great website?
A website is a living thing. It is made great by keeping it alive and current. (Note to self.)
I also think the detail and thinking that goes into HOW one accesses information is key. It has to be super user-friendly and honestly represent the image of the person/actor/performer/king/demigod it serves.
Why did you choose to work with me?
I was utterly in love with a site you designed for my client, Richard Wayne. It was so playfully and thoughtfully created. And then I met you, Tony Howell, and fell in love again!
How would you describe the process/experience?
It was pretty all-consuming for about a month. Your patience with me stands out as my salvation!
I am a type-A , “can’t do enough person”, and I struggled to find all the material I thought should be included. I had to bug people for videos and photos and ask for endorsements, and I personally don’t like asking for help. So this was, somewhat, a life lesson: It’s OK to ask for help!
The amazing part of the process was learning so much from you! You made me a library of videos that I continue to use as my reference when I need to upload info to my website.
You gave me SO MUCH attention, guidance, instruction, and advice. I was able to visit you in NY and sit with you for two hours for an incredible in-depth master class in web-site design, philosophy and technique. I am so grateful for your geyser of creativity and the depth and reach of your facility with technology. You are a kind and encouraging teacher and truly a Social Media Master!
What responses or results have you received?
So many great comments! Here are some of my favorites...
- Paula Plum, star of stage, screen, classroom & now, the internet!
- She's our favorite and now she's global. Well done, Paula.
- Very effective and easy to navigate
- Love it! Really well done.
- Awesome Paula!! Just like you.
- Awesome! Have you been hacked by the Russians yet?
- Beautiful, professional web site. It fits!
- Your website is so, so, so good.
- Fabulous just like you!
What's your favorite social network? Why?
I love Instagram because it seems ego-less. It lacks the “Look at what I’m doing/eating/seeing/riding/drinking now!” that personifies Facebook.
Twitter is great for spontaneity and tracking news in the moment.
What's your favorite place in Boston? Why?
I took a “Happiness Survey” about a year ago. My phone would beep randomly throughout the day asking me to rate my “happiness level”. The data it collected over several months was that I am happiest when writing in a cafe with a perfect cup of coffee. My husband (also an actor and writer) and I have a secret cafe where we love to hide for hours to read and write.
What's your favorite quote?
The one I use most often in my teaching, I learned from my friend and mentor.
Any last bit of advice (or perhaps an invitation) you’d like to share?
You gave me SUCH great advice, which I continue to use (when my perfectionist tries to take over).
This is so useful for me as an artist, writer and teacher. There’s always a way back to start over, to begin again. It’s the process of living, isn’t it? Sometimes learning takes us back to the beginning and we discover something new.
Finally, another quote...
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.