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BWW Blog: You've Got Soul - Reflections on the Newest Disney Movie

After watching Soul, I was able to reflect on my relationship with theatre as a career and reevaluate what is most important. 

BWW Blog: You've Got Soul - Reflections on the Newest Disney Movie

Disney and Pixar's newest animated movie, Soul asks the question, "What is it that makes you...YOU?" Soul follows the journey of Joe Gardner, a middle-aged band teacher, who dreams of becoming a famous jazz musician. The movie cautions us to be careful not to revolve our entire lives around a career and reminds us that we are more than the art we make, the gigs we score, the credits on our resumes. After watching Soul, I was able to reflect on my relationship with theatre as a career and reevaluate what is most important.

"Music is all I think about. From the moment I wake up in the morning to the moment I fall asleep at night. I was born to play. It's my reason for living." -Joe

Joe Gardner sees music as his purpose, or "spark." However, his dedication to music causes his personal life to suffer. Through the course of the movie, Soul reveals that no person was put on this earth with the single purpose to do one thing like play, perform, or work in any capacity. Yes, these things should be important, but in between the playing and performing, we have to live, too. I believe that the way you use this "in-between" time might be more important.

"Lost souls are not that different from those in the zone. The zone is enjoyable, but when that joy becomes an obsession, it becomes disconnected from life." -Moonwind

I'm a high achiever; I always have been. Because of this, I sometimes pack my schedule so full that it seems like there is no in-between time to be found. While I love what I do, I can get overwhelmed. When the thing you love becomes the thing you dread, it's time to take a step back. Now, please don't use this as an excuse to not go to the practice room. If you don't work hard in your career, you're not going to get very far. However, always remember that life is about balance.

"You can't eat dreams for breakfast." -Libba

Like many artists, Joe Gardner has a day job; he teaches middle school band. The truth is that it's really hard to make a living going from gig to gig, and stability is found in taking a job that isn't "the dream." While you could see Joe loved parts of his job, he was mostly just passing the time until he made it big. One of the biggest takeaways that I found in Soul is that it's important to find joy and value in every day. By the end of the movie, Joe found a new appreciation for his teaching and the impact that he was able to make right where he was.

"I'm just afraid that if I died today my life would have amounted to nothing." - Joe

It's important to set goals. Joe Gardner certainly had them. Goals are wonderful things; they take a dream and make it more concrete. However, instead of just making specific achievements into goals, try thinking about the kind of person you would like to be when you accomplish these things. It's interesting because even when Joe got exactly what he wanted, he really wasn't satisfied. Joe states, "It's just I've been waiting on this day for my entire life. I thought I'd feel different."

"So what do you want to be remembered for?" -Joe

If our ability to make art was gone tomorrow, what would we be left with? This is something many artists have faced as theatres are closed and remain closed. While being an artist is part of what makes me ME, it is not all that I am. I want to be remembered, not for my accomplishments, but for the kind of life I lived. My legacy, I hope, will be one of love and inclusion. If I bury myself in my career, then I'll miss out on opportunities to show the qualities that I hope my life is defined by.

"We're in the business of inspiration, but it's not often we find ourselves inspired." -Jerry

Like the Jerrys, we, as artists, are in the business of inspiration. However, when making art becomes a job, we can grow numb to what made us love it in the first place. It's important to take time to reflect, especially when deadlines are piling up or practicing seems like a chore. Joe states, "We only have a short time on this planet. You want to become the person that you were born to be. Don't waste your time on all the junk of life. Spend your precious hours doing what will bring out the real you. The brilliant passionate you, that's ready to contribute to something meaningful into this world." Now go make some magic because you've got soul!

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