An inspiring book for all performance artists

I recently read Steve Martin’s autobiography : Born Standing Up

Part philosophical treatise, part how-to guide, it’s a deep dive into how a performance is created-an intersection of art and science, intense honesty and brutal self examination. He delivers an elegant and sophisticated analysis of his journey from Disneyland to sold out shows and hit movies with not a single gripe against anyone, solely focusing on improving his art using audience reaction as his guide. Whether you play classical music or hard rock or dance Bollywood and are serious about your art form, this book delivers invaluable insights.

Key points for me were:

1. A performance requires special planning and treatment, especially if you have a paying audience

2. It takes time to develop your own style –  you will inevitably start out with someone else’s material, but with hard work and honesty, you can develop your own

3. This is a long hard slog

4. Complaining about how the world is sabotaging you is probably not a good strategy – no -one owes  you a living.

5. Intense and brutal self examination is important, as is the advice of mentors and seniors.


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