Dare to Suck
Yesterday, I was in a staff meeting discussing the proficiency exam that all NYU students have to pass. We were considering "low passes" or, in other words, the minimal amount of proficiency a student has to demonstrate in order to pass. Some of the "low passes" would absolutely curdle your brain were you to read them. One of the newer professors remarked of the standard "Wow you really have to try to fail, don't you?"

It reminded me of what my former directing teacher Travis Preston used to tell us about making good art. He used to say, "You have to dare to suck. You have to look it in the eye and be one with it and hug it and take it to bed with you at night. You have to know, absolutely know, that you can pour your heart and soul into a project. You can lose sleep and weight and friends and all to produce something that people hate or worse don't even bother to see."

Of course, now his comment has an entirely new context for me. It has gotten to the point that a student actually has to put effort, more effort than it would take to pass, into failing the exam. The student would have to get up early and have focus and dedication and a plan into order to fail this exam. Because you have to dare to suck.

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