Amber Tamblyn talks about being creative and multitalented, about her political activism, and some of the values and challenges working as an actor.
First, an excerpt from an interview for Venice magazine, which asks:
“You began writing poetry when you were nine.. Do you feel like it has become somewhat of a second form of expression for you?”
Amber Tamblyn : “Definitely! I did a lot of writing with my father (actor/choreographer Russ Tamblyn) who always encouraged my budding imagination.
“I think all true artists should be inspired on multiple levels.
“I wouldn’t consider myself an actress. I have a hard time even being called one because it puts you in a box, on a shelf where everybody else is picked from.” …
Venice mag.: “It is intriguing and encouraging to see someone from your generation.. be involved in politics as you are.”
Amber Tamblyn : “I am fascinated by the original intent of what communism represented to people. Unfortunately, it got all jumbled up. But there are times when I also feel like talking about politics is not my place. I don’t know as much as people of the time.”
“I think that a lot of actors get involved with politics because they have this self-esteem problem where they feel the need to prove that they are more intelligent and more intellectual than what their job requirement shows them to be.
“Some actors have this guilt that what they do is not deep enough, so they look elsewhere for some kind of approval…
“It is really sad though because being a true actor is to already have that depth.
“Actors were the court jesters for all these boring big kings sitting in their castles all over the world, and that was a great position to be in; that’s where you can create comedy and laughter and open minds and touch the heart.
“Being the escape that people go to is one of the greatest things that the universe has to offer because then people do listen to what you have to say, and that’s when you can bring change.
[From article Amber Tamblyn: Poetry in Motion – by Aysegul Sert, Venice magazine venicemag.com October 2005.]
[Photo from post: It’s okay to look inside – with comments by Tamblyn about her film “Stephanie Daley.”]
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Challenges are part of creative expression, and passion is part of the motivation that keeps artists going in the face of those challenges.
In an article of hers (“Hollywood is Hard”), Amber Tamblyn cautions that you need to find and use your passion, especially with all the rejection and uncertainty of acting – which can happen, of course, in other creative fields.
“A lot of people think I’m cynical when I talk about acting,” she writes. “The truth of the matter is, I just don’t want someone to get some lame advice that will send them in the wrong direction.
“I want people to find their true love in working, whether it be acting, teaching, or any other job.
“Bottom line: Be Careful! A business like acting is 90% luck. You can be a star one minute and out of work the next. Always keep your hopes high and your energy positive, and don’t think it’s impossible, but know that it’s very hard.”
Quoted in my book Developing Multiple Talents: The personal side of creative expression [Link goes to website with excerpts, reviews etc.]
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In an interview with Amber Tamblyn about her book “Dark Sparkler” and her reading from the book at the release party in New York, writer Emily Yahr notes:
“As a former child actress who started on ‘General Hospital’ at age 11, penning poems about the lives and deaths of young stars — including Brittany Murphy, Dana Plato, Sharon Tate and Marilyn Monroe — often hit too close to home, especially as she went through some dark professional and personal times during the writing process.
“The whole experience led to an unusual candor about the psychological impact of living your life in the spotlight — Tamblyn says the kind of things you wouldn’t generally expect to hear from anyone in Hollywood.
“I end these interviews, or phone calls, and I go cry,” Tamblyn said…”And you know, it’s not that you made me cry. It’s the misunderstanding of the work. Or the way in which people communicate with quote-unquote celebrities as opposed to just communicating like a normal f—ing person.”
“Tamblyn also has plenty to say about the toxic nature of showbiz, much of which informed the tragic premise of her book. Some of her musings are delivered in lines of poetry, such as one called “Untitled Actress,” a wry take on a traditional casting call. (‘Thin but not gaunt. Lean. Quirky but not unattractive.’)
“When she talks about how much she loves acting, she compares her career to Stockholm Syndrome:
“Like, just constantly going back to my abusive captor,” she says. “I love you so much. You want me to weigh 98 pounds? I’m working on it! I’ll totally get a facelift for you!”
“After her readingTamblyn thanks the audience for their support.”
“I have never had an experience like this where people were not treating me like an object, and I don’t blame you,” she says. “I have chosen to be an object for a living and that is the price that I pay and I’m fine with that. But it’s really, really nice to be able to stand up here and to read you things and have you clap and be quiet and feel the things that I felt while I was writing this.”
From article: For Amber Tamblyn, writing poems about dead actresses was an ‘exorcism’ By Emily Yahr, The Washington Post.
Book: Dark Sparkler – “Featuring subjects from Marilyn Monroe and Frances Farmer to Dana Plato and Brittany Murphy—and paired with original artwork commissioned for the book by luminaries including David Lynch, Adrian Tomine, Marilyn Manson, and Marcel Dzama—Dark Sparkler is a surprising and provocative collection from a young artist of wide-ranging talent, culminating in an extended, confessional epilogue of astonishing candor and poetic command.” [Amazon summary.]