Don’t Think Twice and the Terror of Life Moving Around You

Don’t Think Twice is a movie about improv comedians. It’s funny, really really funny, but it’s also a painfully raw look into making it in the entertainment industry and what that does to you. Everyone should see it.

The film follows an improv group called The Commune. Its members are Miles (Mike Birbiglia, who also wrote and directed), Samantha (Gillian Jacobs), Allison (Kate Micucci), Lindsay (Tami Sagher), Jack (Keegan-Michael Key), and Bill (Chris Gethard). When Jack gets a part on Weekend Live, essentially SNL in this world, it forces everyone to reevaluate their lives and odds of hitting it big in the comedy scene.

Its stayed with me because of how close it skews to my life. The members of The Commune are much like the kinds of friends I like to surround myself with. When Chris’s dad winds up in the hospital, all of his friends make him feel better by finding the comedy in the situation. It’s great, and it’s exactly what I would want in a similar position.

I see elements of myself in every one of these characters, but the one that stands out the most is Gillian Jacob’s Samantha.

Spoilers follow

Samantha and Jack both get auditions for Weekend Live. When Jack goes to his audition he’s confident, does well, and gets the part. When Samantha shows up she’s nervous, second guessing herself, and winds up leaving before even auditioning. She’s scared and doesn’t believe in herself. She feels too comfortable with her current life to move on to something greater. It taps in to this fear I’ve been feeling recently. As soon as you feel comfortable where you are, everything starts changing around you.

When I got my previous job at a candy store, I was part of the staff that opened that store. It was OUR store. Then within two months out management had changed and people were moving on to better jobs. As the position became less ideal I still stayed. Looking for a job is scarier and harder than staying with the one you have. What if the next one’s worse? These were all the thoughts running through my head. I had to essentially be backed into a corner before I really put the work in for the next job.

When Jack tries to give Samantha another shot at a party, she instead runs off to party with some of her improv students. As she says at the end of the film, “I’m trapped in a well. But it’s okay, I like it here.”

I don’t want to be trapped in a well.

It’s happening again right now. Almost everyone I’ve started my current job with has moved on and I’m still here. My rent price is about to go up and I don’t know if I should stay or go. I’ve had opportunities to send scripts in for competitions or to producers that I didn’t take because I didn’t feel confident. I have to be better.

Life won’t stop moving, no matter how comfortable I feel. I shouldn’t feel comfortable either, not while I’m so far from my dream. So it’s time to get moving at the speed of life.

I have been like Samantha, too comfortable where I am. I won’t be like that any more. I’ve been like Alison, not confident enough to put my work out there. I won’t be like that any more either. I’m going to enter the writing competitions and fellowships available to me. I’ve been like Lindsay, too dependent on my parents financially. I’ll apply and apply until I get the job that allows me not to be.

Hold me accountable to that.

– JP

PS, the hardest part of all this will be doing what I need to do when what I want to do is watch Fall TV this season.

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