I’ve just completed Sally Field’s memoir In Pieces and what a great piece of work from Ms. Field.
I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by the author herself and I feel like we are best friends now.
The book begins with her childhood and on through the filming of Norma Rae. There is a large gap where she did some amazing work like in Fried Green Tomatoes, Forest Gump and Mrs. Doubtfire - She only mentions these film in passing - just as cursory notes to her life. And she details a bit about how she got the part of Mary Todd.
Mostly though, the book is about her personal relationship with her mother, her family, and then of course relationship with acting.
Ms. Field is so eloquent in her execution, giving such vivid details, you feel as if you are her, living those moments even though you did not, though I can relate to her thoughts and feelings about acting.
I really recommend this book to actors, people in the industry or anyone for that matter.
If you looked past the pieces, you can see lessons of life lived by a woman who dared to share them with us.
From an acting perspective, here are a few lessons:
1. Even when she was working on sitcoms, she was in acting class. In fact, it was a refuge and a place to learn her craft and she was taught by the guru Lee Strasburg.
(Also, note that Bryan Cranston in his memoir A Life in Parts wrote that he was in acting class in between roles) So, always stay in class…until you book that part, where you can’t go anymore.
The way I see it is that if you love acting, you will do it in any environment. So if you won’t do it in a class, chances are you won’t be able to do it as a profession.
2. She journals. In the book, she mentions that she has buckets of her journals over the years.
I’ve started journalling (via The Artist’s Way) about a year ago. The process was a little tedious at first but I’ve grown to like it.
I journaled as a youth but stopped when I thought it wasn’t a thing an adult should do.
Clearly Ms. Field felt there was value in journalling if she kept it up for so long. And now I have an inkling of a picture where I have lived a life and I am surrounded by buckets of my journals.
3. She talks about how she was waiting for that amazing part that she knew she could do.
She was tired of sitcoms and wanted to be considered a serious actress.
That finally came in the form of Cybil a two part TV mini series.
Well, guess how long it took her to get her dream role? 6 years after her most well-known show ended. 11 years after she began her career as Gidgit.
As the saying goes; an overnight success takes 10 years so to all the actors out there keep at it.