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Monday, November 4, 2013

Morgan Freeman

Acting means living, it's all I do and all I'm good at. If I weren't getting paid well, I would still be acting in a small troupe somewhere.

-- Morgan Freeman
American Actor, Film Director
1937 - 

The question all creative leaders must face is whether they would still create if they didn't get paid for their work.  And the answer is in the affirmative for true artists.  Many of us will labor for a lifetime without financial reward or recognition or fame.  The joy we find in the creative process in the end is our reward.  

Do you find joy in the creative process?  Can you get lost for hours creating a story, a painting or a poem?  I find the creative process in and of itself very rewarding.  I feel good.  If I go for any period of time without creating something, I find myself feeling down.  My mood is impacted by whether or not I have spent time creating something.  The creative process brings me joy in a negative, hostile, crazy world.

Why do you think successful writers continue to write?  Why do successful songwriters continue to write songs?  Why do successful painters continue to paint?  Why do successful actors like Morgan Freeman continue to act?  Why do movie stars who are paid millions for some of their films take roles in plays that pay them peanuts?  The answer is the emotional high they find in creating something.  Creative leaders are blessed with the joy of creating.  

Creativity is a gift that we have been given.  Enjoy the gift for itself.  Don't fret over whether you will make any money.  There are other ways to make money.  Just don't give up on your gift.  Keep creating even when you are surrounded by darkness — even when your world is collapsing.  For only in the creating to we find salvation, healing and joy.

Creative Practice
This week create something for the sheer joy of creating — a poem, a painting, a story.  Enjoy the process and don't worry about publication, selling or perfection.

Morgan Freeman was born in Memphis, Tennessee to Mayme Edna, a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, a barber.  He moved frequently in his childhood, living in Mississippi, Indiana and Illinois.  Freeman made his acting debut at the age of nine in a school play.  He won a statewide drama competition at age 12.  He turned own a partial acting scholarship to college to join the US Air Force.

After the Air Force, Freeman lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, finding work as an actor in various plays.  He made his off-Broadway debut in 1967.  The following year he debuted on Broadway in Hello, Dolly!  His first film appearance was in 1971.  He had TV roles in the soap opera, Another World and the kid's show, The Electric Company.  He has supporting roles in feature films in the 1980s and closed out the decade with powerful roles in Driving Miss Daisy and Glory in 1989.  He played Red, a convict, in The Shawshank Redemption in 1994.

Freeman has received 4 Academy Award nominations including Best Actor nominations in Driving Miss Daisy and The Shawshank Redemption.  He won Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Million Dollar Baby.