Why You Should Work Like You’re Running Out Of Time


Within about five minutes of meeting me you can learn quite a lot: I’m very personable – I have freakish energizer-bunny level energy – I say “ya’ll” ad nauseum – and I love hard on my dog-daughter Elphaba, who I named after the musical Wicked

PAUSE:  outing myself as a super-duper-musical-theatre NERD; technically the name “Elphaba” was inspiration for the book – which of course inspired the musical. The author of Wicked had come up with the phonetic pronunciation of the initials of L. Frank Baum, the writer of Wizard Of Oz:  El Pha Bawe now return you to your regularly scheduled programming:

Oh wait… Squirrel! Did somebody say, “Musical Theatre”?? … Another thing you will learn pretty quickly about me is… wait for it – OHHH I’M ALREADY STARTING TO HYPERVENTILATE! –  I am beyond OBSESSED with Hamilton The Musical!

If you are on this planet and have not yet heard about this groundbreaking life changing musical of all time – my heart just DROPS down to the bottom of my stomach because I want everyone to know about this Broadway show that teaches us about our founding-father-without-a-father; who was a really determined and brilliant immigrant hip-hop rapper named Lin Manuel Miranda Hamilton! (full disclosure:  some of the ^^^ sentence is true and some of it is wishful thinking. It’s up to you to know the difference… #Google)

After listening to the entire score of Hamilton The Musical (no less than 100 times), one of the recurring themes that bubbles to the surface is that Alexander Hamilton worked tremendously hard his entire life for what he wanted, regardless of what was stacked up against him.

Among many references to his extreme work ethic are the stand out songs Non-Stop, which poses the question: why does he write like he’s running out of time?; and the song Take A Break, which has Hamilton’s family urging him to spend much needed quality time with them.

Alexander Hamilton was an ambitious workaholic on steroids – before steroids were a thing (because, ya know:  the late 1700’s). There was very little to stop him from going after what he wanted, and if there was, he fought exhaustively for it and never gave up. In fact…

He rarely if ever took a break.

Sound familiar? I’m looking at YOU… And ME here.

In this second half of the second decade of the 21st century – after you filter through all the wannabes, the ones who ride on the coattails of other people’s success, the partiers and the people who are simply just trying to find themselves, etc – there are artists everywhere who line up with Hamilton’s tours de force work ethic.

Us artists get up at the crack of dawn to start our day, we collectively write blogs, articles and screenplays, have websites to design and social media industry news to share. We have auditions/callbacks to prepare for and go to, rehearsals, workshops, panels, events, meetings, mandatory workouts, classes… and pretty much everything else you can think of to get into the room where it happens, and make our break.

We do not identify ourselves as having just one creative skill or talent because we understand that we need as many skills as possible in order to open doors. Most of us have crappy thrival gigs to pay the rent, so we collapse by the end of the day and consider it a success if we get five to six hours of sleep.

Day in day out, we keep our eye on the prize and tend to our projects with the nurturing and love that one would do when raising a child. We work on our craft like we are running out of time.

So why oh why – just like trailblazer workhorse Alex H. – don’t we ever take a break?

Here’s my story and please share with me how you relate (or don’t relate): I don’t take breaks often because I see my life through the lens of an hourglass with sand running through it. The way I see it, I AM running out of time to turn my dreams into realities.

The few times I take a break, a tremendous wave of guilt washes over me – then hits me like a ton of bricks – because I feel like I’ve abandoned my industry babies. When I take a break, sometimes if it’s more than a few hours, my mind wanders and I began to chastise myself, saying, “Dellany why are you doing something that has nothing to do with your career or why you originally moved to Los Angeles? Your projects are waiting – unattended – and unable to grow… etc, Etc, ETC”.

I know, I know… some of you would call this self-inflicted Catholic style guilt. BUT I genuinely LIKE to be completely immersed in all things artistic and creative. I tend to grow restless and get bored fairly quickly if what I’m doing doesn’t have something to do with filmmaking and storytelling. I want to talk industry shop all the time, learn as much as I can from others, meet and network with like minded individuals, and practice and hone my craft as much as possible.

I truly don’t regret the extreme journey I’m on to achieve my artistic fulfillment and success.

Some, however, have differing opinions on whether it’s wrong or right to work at a pace like today is your last day. Personally, I don’t think there is a wrong or right here. I think each of us has to do what works best for us, and what makes us happy and healthy, both mentally and emotionally.

The point is… Hamilton died at the age of 49. These days that’s basically just a little over halfway in a person’s lifespan. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Mr. Hamilton had many more goals and gameplans and ideas that he wanted to see come to fruition before he shuffled off this mortal coil. I think one of the reasons I’m so drawn to his life (and the musical) is the idea that someone who virtually came from nothing worked so hard – with each of his accomplishments inspiring the next one – full of fervor and passion.

And I get that. The deeper I give into the passion, the love, the art – the more I am fueled to work harder, push myself further, do as much as I can… even if I am having to live hand to mouth. I work on my art like I am running out of time and someday… Just you wait… Just you wait!:

dellany shirt

**on set taking a shameless selfie wearing my fav Hamilton shirt with the quote “Hey Yo I’m Young Scrappy Hungry And I’m Not Throwing Away My Shot”

I invigorate all of you who have a burning passion inside that you’ve yet to ignite to SEIZE THE DAY “Alexander Hamilton style” – and see what could happen! Taking a break will be there tomorrow. Promise.