Wednesday, January 21, 2009

there is an “i” in “introvert”

I just got back from seeing a read/sing-through of Embers, a “jazz opera in poems” based on Terry Wolverton’s novel in poems, at the L.A. Central Library. It was fun to see one art form morph into another, to hear words I’d read take wing against a background of black-and-white cityscapes.

But it was just as cool to look through the program and read people’s bios, many of which said things like, “So-and-so has been collaborating with Terry for 30 years.” Thirty years! I feel like I’ve only been working with (as opposed to against) myself for about ten. Suddenly I found myself itching with inspiration, wanting to inhabit one of those loose Bohemian worlds where artistic projects flow together and apart, and you all grab drinks after play rehearsal.

The problem is, I suck at collaboration. I never liked group work in school, and I pretty much always try to wedge an “I” into “team.”

Myers-Briggs puts me somewhere between introvert and extrovert*, but closer to the former. This means I’m always negotiating our social life with AK, who’s a giant extrovert except for jags of introverted bookwormish-ness. And if I find hanging out sorta tiring, I’m thinking that creating an opera would be hard.

But earlier today, Stephanie texted me, “I’m thinking of adapting something from the commuters into a short film. Would you be into that?”

I’ve known Steph for a dozen-ish years, and we’ve already collaborated on such projects as:
  • Working for the Daily Bruin
  • Driving to Arizona to see Rent on a whim
  • Keeping our apartment very dirty
  • Staging a fake press junket
  • Making out as Ginger and Mary Anne in The Tempest performed as Gilligan’s Island
  • Giving the gift of interpretive dance when we realized we hadn’t gotten our newspaper adviser a going away present
  • Throwing Stephen Sondheim a 70th birthday party
  • Audio-recording a few stories from The Commuters
Most of this stuff happened when we were in college, and I don’t get to see Stephanie nearly as often as I’d like to. She’s a voice actor and general theatrical renaissance woman, meaning she’s usually busy collaborating with other extroverts.

So even though part of me is like, Wait, do I have to write the screenplay? I don’t know how to write a screenplay!, I texted back, “Hell yeah!”

I’m hoping that I can just hang out on the sidelines and then get drinks with the cast afterwards. And still be in bed by 11.

*I know you’re all introverts. Extroverts don’t hang out on the blogosphere so much, unless they’re the type who take lots of pictures of themselves at parties and post them on their own little wannabe Perez Hilton blogs. But those aren’t extroverts, they’re narcissists, of which the blogosphere has plenty.


Peter Varvel said...

Ha ha ha! My partner is the Cheryl to my own extroverted geekiness. It' difficult for him to be around my theater/Disney/restaurant staff friends - too many people like me who are all loud and attention-needy.
Hey, Rent is coming back to the Pantages this year!

Cheryl said...

I heard that! With some of the original cast, right? It seems like a stretch for them to play people in their early 20s, but I guess that's the magic of theater.

Claire said...

Your footnote made me laugh. Yes, most certainly an introvert. I don't recall which way the Myers-Briggs scale goes, but I usually rate about 9 or 1 out of 10 to the introvert side.

Still, I acted in plays in HS and pursued cinematography for a number of years. I like the group with a purpose dynamic. The catch with film (professionally) is that it takes so many people and unless you're producing & directing, you don't get a lot of creative say. Also, if you're crew, you have to network constantly to get work which I find so very draining.

None of which I say to discourage you, because what your friend proposes sounds like fun.

Tracy Lynn said...

I am totally an extrovert, as long as I can be an introvert too.

And hells yeah is really THE ONLY response to that question.

Cheryl said...

C: Doing just one or two film-set visits when I was a journalist quickly corrected any delusions about the glamor of the movie biz: Mostly it seemed like a looottt of waiting around. But still: hell yeah!

TL: Well, there goes my blogosphere theory, unless you start posting party pics. Which would be sort of fun, actually, because I think you would throw good parties.

Abby said...

INFJ is the most rare (only 1% of the population) of personality types - I know this because I'm INFJ, too! I read something recently about this type "always being right - and knowing it." (and I guess having the intuition to know that this irritates people). Ha!

the last noel said...

I'm moving back to work in downtown. One thing I'm looking forward to is going back to event at the Central Library! Oy, I wish I could have seen Terr's work performed.

Don Cummings said...

The balancing act of I and E! It's nuts. I need people so much. But just about 3 hours each day. Otherwise, LEAVE ME ALONE, I say. But then, though I remove myself, I just communicate, communicate, communicate. I want to be an I. I romanticize about I. But really, I'm an E. Actually an ENFP. But I don't want to be a teacher. I just don't. Or a shrink.

Cheryl said...

A: Ooh, I feel special! Although right now my intuition tells me to say something self-deprecating.

N: The only thing better than going to ALOUD frequently is being about to walk there (although parking is only a buck with validation, so I can't really complain).

DC: AK is an ENFP who sometimes tests INFP. I's need people too, they're just worn out by them as opposed to energized. That's why it's not as easy as just becoming a hermit.

As for myself, I start out the day very I and become more E in the evening, until I get really tired because I got up early to do all my I stuff.

Anonymous said...

i used to consistently test INFJ (per high school and college assessments) and am now consistently ENFJ (also uncommon, but not so much). i think this reflects an accurate evolution, as evidenced by the fact that i used to be stoked to be unique and mysterious and now i am relieved at the evidence that i'm somewhat more checked in to the rest of humanity.

plus i prefer to think of myself as inverted versus introverted.

also, i hope any short film version of the communters involves and animated sequence or two.

Jesi said...

i would love to help you write the screenplay! i know a lot about screenwriting. that is if you're interested! let me know.

Cheryl said...

M: Mystery is overrated. But you're still plenty unique.

J: It looks like Steph is going to write the screenplay, but thanks for the offer! When Paramount calls me about the feature-length version, I'll give 'em your card. :-)