What you can probably guess about me is that I am your average MJJ fan. I had my 8th grade fantasy of MIchael driving up in a (dark red Tbird convertible) to my English class. I got in his car we we drove off to get married as everyone watched in jealous awe.
What you don't know is that I had the privilege of working with Michael Bearden, his music director, on my second film Allergic to nuts. Michael B generously composed original A list level music for my film (why? because sometimes God shows an artist like me favor).
Anyway Michael B is in the film This Is It. You see him working the music out with MJJ for the tour. You see them in process. Kind of almost conflict as they go thru what it takes to make a genius happy. To make his music stanky or funky or whatever it is they say. It's a vulnerable and beautiful thing they let us see. And I thank them both with a heavy soul. I miss MJJ and I know my Michael B is sill dealing with a loss that will never be filled.
I got a few chances to talk about MJJ with Michael B. It was brief but so insightful, what I got was that yes....MJJ was as divine an artist as we all suspected. MJJ was the TRUTH.
I have watched the film 100 times. Because it is MJJ's legacy to all of us artists. It's his 'letters to a young artist." It is such a gift to allow us behind the curtain to see the imperfect to see him say... "let it sizzle" code for take a moment....or "this is why we rehearse" code for 'that's okay, do again til we get it right. "I cue that." OMG. Thank you MJJ for your genius and your sacrifice. Thank you for allowing us to see tiny bit of process.
To my basic acting students. REHEARSE. Be like Michael. That is the way to artistic freedom. Rehearsal allows you to let go and not think about the mechanics. It allows you to trust yourself and the other people on stage with you. It gives you the confidence to know how to handle another performer who is not as free as you are and may forget. You can think on your feet because you are free of the burden of having to remember what you have to say or do. You body knows from instinct and rehearsal and can do it spontaneously, to the delight and joy of yourself and the audience. This can be achieved in acting just like in music.