Why You Must Learn to Let Go and Be Physical

Olivia Newton John had a big hit on her hands in the ’80s with the song “Physical.”

Let’s get physical, physical
I wanna get physical, let’s get into physical
Let me hear your body talk, your body talk
Let me hear your body talk

Hmm…she makes it sound so easy, doesn’t she? And for some people it is. For others—and often for actors—it’s the hardest thing to be in the world. 

Our bodies are an extension of (and contain) our emotional being. When we feel feeling, we often have a physical expression of that feeling. When we cry, our shoulders slump. When we get angry, we throw something. When we feel joy, we jump up and down. It’s natural. Our bodies express that which we feel.

But actors stop that forward-moving momentum of full expression by overthinking. I’ve been punished for doing that! I can’t touch my partner. I’ve been rejected before, so I can’t display how much I care. We go into our heads and stop instincts from being fully expressed. 

What if you just stopped doing that? Stop censoring yourself. We all have connection to our bodies and our impulses. Sometimes we act on them, but often we don’t. Or sometimes in our work, we follow an instinct only to abort the mission halfway through. So you have an impulse to touch your partner, let’s say, but get so scared as to what might happen, you just stop. You move into some sort of arrested development—a limbo land where you freeze. 

Our physical expression might get us into trouble. It’s supposed to. The danger of putting your hand on someone else’s hand might lead to sexual chemistry. That’s the risk we take in life. Your collapsing on the floor with anguish might lead to more openings of feelings of being overwhelmed. 

Your job is not to limit the channel that you’ve become in those moments. Life expressions can’t be analyzed and intellectualized and then recreated as “behavior.” We feel and do, do and feel. We touch, we fall, we throw, we slap, we cry, we laugh, we slink, we stumble. We don’t think about slapping our thigh in response to a funny joke. We do it. We don’t think about covering our mouth with our hands because we’re in shock, we just do it. It’s automatic. 

An actor’s self-consciousness often is what keeps him from doing that which is natural in life. And then often, in acting training, because we don’t learn to trust our own bodies doing what they want to do, we’re taught to add “behavior” to a moment. I don’t add “behavior” to my ordering a coffee at the Starbucks. I don’t add “behavior” to my running down the stairs to see my lover. I don’t add “behavior” to a moment in my life that naturally evokes a physical response out of me. 

So just do it like you would in life. Let acting be an extension of your life. Don’t add concepts to that which you do naturally. If you find that it doesn’t come naturally, the work is to figure out why it’s so scary to express. 

And that, then, is the breakthrough. You begin to realize that as physical human beings, we often limit our physicalness in ways that most often feels comfortable for us. Or in ways that are most safe. But to expand beyond that requires vulnerability and risk. And that’s what being an actor is all about. 

Take leaps into expressing your physical self in ways you’ve never dreamt. And what you’ll discover is that your own physicalness has been there to catch you all along.

Actors in video: Robin Schultz and Hayley Shaw

You Must Stay Open to Life or You’re Fucked

There is a Taoist parable in which a farmer had only one horse. One day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to console him over his terrible loss, “You must be so upset. This is horrible.” The farmer simply said, “We’ll see.”

A month later, the horse came home, this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. “You must be so happy. Such lovely strong horses!” The farmer said, “We’ll see.”

The farmer’s son one day was riding one of the wild horses and got thrown and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. “This is such bad luck!” The farmer said, “We’ll see.”

Soon after, a war broke out and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because of his broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. The farmer still steadfastly replied, “We’ll see.”

That’s life. How do we stay open to all things? It seems almost impossible because we lean into only the things that make us feel good and deliver a wonderful outcome. But the challenge of being alive and living a life that doesn’t constantly throw us from one extreme to another, is to try to stay open to things we don’t fully understand from our limited ego perspectives. So that means staying open to the stuff that in the moment we judge to be “bad” or “incomprehensible” or “negative.” It’s neutral after all. They’re just events happening. Period. Not to us. Not against us. Just happening. We ascribe moral judgments to things and then get ourselves into all kinds of trouble (i.e. drama!) when life doesn’t comply with our demands as to how it should be.

Staying open is a practice of mindfulness. It means allowing ourselves to feel things that want to shut us down because they feel icky. Living an open life doesn’t mean just being open to free swag, backrubs from your girlfriend, a trip to Honolulu and winning the Mega Million Lotto number.

Staying open means learning how to accept what the moment is trying to teach us. Sometimes through extraordinarily difficult situations. Through pain. Through discomfort. Through defeat. Other times just by remaining open to unexpected turns of events or weird coincidences or hiccups that reveal beautiful miracles.

Sometimes that might later on lead to some sort of experiential correlation. “Thank Gawd I caught my two-timing ex-husband cheating on me (!) or I’d never have moved from Kentucky, started my own business and built a refugee center for displaced women from Syria.”

Things falling apart sometimes lead to things coming together.

And sometimes there is no direct link. (Or maybe it’s all interconnected by some thinly drawn string like the unseen silk of a spider’s web that’s only illuminated when it’s backlit by the Sun. It’s there but not there.)

So if we just breathed into all moments a little more, we’d see that it all just might be interconnected and work out anyway.

We’ll see.

The #1 Thing You Need in Order to Be an Actor

Last time I checked, every person on this planet still shared a common denominator.

That is, we’re all human.

And that’s the call into acting right there. (That’s the call into all art, actually.)

To be more human in our work, in our lives, in our interactions with others. To be curious about what it means to be human and to genuinely be interested in others (even those that challenge us beyond imagination)!

This is not an easy task. There are so many distractions chipping away at our humanness.

Cell phones. Technology. Social media sites dictating and changing behavior, driving us toward repetitive habits that prevent us from being.

And then there’s location, location, location.

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 15 years. As much as I love it, I also find L.A. seems to be a place that isn’t so great at being human. Or rather, it allows for us to demonstrate the parts of our humanness we feel comfortable in showing. The rest we can hide, compartmentalize, pretend it doesn’t exist, or simply get in our cars and drive away.

I often feel I’m in some sort of alternate universe here where no one seems to struggle with any of the things I seem to be struggling with—because to talk about those things must mean I’m weird or weak or “uncool” or not together.

We’ve gotten so good at pretending to be a perfect human that we’ve forgotten how to be fully human.

As actors, the stories we tell are universal. They’re not just showing the parts of people that are nice and put together and pretty and live in Silver Lake!

They are the stories of all our lives—stories of struggle and perseverance and strength and beauty.

I recently read a NY Times Magazine story that shook me to my human core. It documented the crossing of 733 migrants across the Mediterranean Sea who were risking their lives to flee their impoverished northeastern African country of Eritrea. It was harrowing and tragic and human. We don’t think other people’s stories have anything to do with us. But as citizens of this planet, they do. And as artists who want to tell stories—especially stories that matter—you have to move beyond your geographical, political, spiritual comfort zones.

Our job then, as artists, is to connect to our own personal autobiographies that are the same as everyone’s, simply by being born into this existence. That’s the common thread!

You can’t do that being stuck on Snapchat all day. It’s imperative we stay connected to what other people experience. Not necessarily to become activists or sign a petition or start a rally (although those are all noble expressions), but simply to open the compassion in our own hearts for other people’s struggles. To feel empathy or outrage, to feel heartbroken or hopeful, to feel ecstasy or despair.

In short… to feel period.

And to get in touch intimately with the human condition—ours and theirs.

Idris Elba, who’s playing a West African dictator in the new film “Beasts of No Nation” said the challenge was playing someone who wouldn’t be “likable” and to make him human. “Let’s humanize it. Someone gave birth to this man. I wanted to find a way to make him real. Love him or hate him or Idris, but that character, you experience him and go, ‘Whoa.’ ”

That’s human.

#paolopellegrin #scottanderson

What Does Real ‘Prep’ Really Look Like?

I have a new acting book coming out next year called, “Book the F*@king Job!”

In it, I hope to dispel a lot of the myths still surrounding “acting” and help actors understand that they’re probably doing a much better job naturally than they realize, and that the more we’re taught to question in ourselves that which comes easily, the more we start trying to play ideas, reduce acting to theoretical concepts that aren’t playable, and stop trusting our own instincts which is really all we have.

One of these examples is the question of “preparation” I get asked a lot.

My favorite response is that of Academy Award winner, Tilda Swinton when she says, “When people ask about how I approach a character—well, I wouldn’t know how to approach a character if I tried. People will ask about choosing a role; I don’t choose roles. People will talk to me about preparation. Aside from putting together a disguise, I’m not aware of any preparation at all.”

And that’s an Oscar winner. Amazing.

What she’s saying is that it’s all so much closer to us (and easier) than we realize. Or rather, just cut all the rhetoric surrounding acting and get to the heart of it…which is you.

In the real working world, actors aren’t “prepping” for their work on set the way we are often taught in the classroom. Partly because the speed with which things are being made and how little actual time you might have on set to explore often prohibits this kind of work. You can’t call up Ryan Gosling and say, “Hey Ry, before I work with you on your next movie, can you come over to my house and run my scenes with me for hours and then do lots of exercises and memorization and prep?”

Well…actually maybe you would if it were Mr. Gosling! What? 

Real “preparation” means understanding the material. Period. Know what is going on in the scene. Know who you’re talking about and what’s happened. Make sure you’re clear on who your character is in relation to the rest of the story and know what each of the scenes you are in are about. Then memorize.

But is that prep? I’d call that just being professional. It’s called doing your job. You make choices based on what you want to try and what have a point of view about. That’s not prep, that’s common sense.

And then the real work is to come to set open and ready to try things—ready to move beyond your comfort zone; ready to let the circumstances evoke things out of you that are surprising and mysterious and scary, and not “prepped.”

Sure, if you’re playing a character from another time period that doesn’t mean you won’t research something, whether it’s an accent or a handicap a person might be suffering from, or the history of that time if it’s a significant part of the story.

But most of the things you’re going to play are slices of contemporary life. And ultimately, regardless of what milieu you’re playing in, you will still have to allow different parts of yourself to be evoked out of the circumstances in which you find yourself. You’re not playing your “prep,” you’re playing the moment.

Like life, I may—or may not—prepare for things. Life happens and I’m forced to deal. I’m not prepping for falling in love, or facing tragedy, or being burglarized. I’m not prepping for bad news, or kidney failure or winning an award.

Life happens. We react.

Let your acting come from that instinctual trust. And you’ll discover that your “prep” has mostly been done for you by just knowing (the material) and then throwing (it away) and showing up.

How To Make Your Learning Curve Less Steep (Stay Open!)

Something actors struggle with is the desire to be seen, while simultaneously not wanting to be truly seen.

That means being seen for who we are, not just how we want to present ourselves to the world. That’s scary.

Personas are so easily designed and manipulated on social media sites like Instagram or Facebook these days that it appears everyone is perfection. Their bodies are flawless, therefore their lives must be. They take exotic vacations; they must be happy. They’re always smiling so they must never suffer.

Hello! Haven’t you heard the phrase, “Let’s filter that”?

We talk about openness a lot because it’s the heart of acting. It’s the heart of what it means to be human. To be open is to let go of control. To be open is to be taught. To be open is to realize that beyond our ideas about life, mostly, none of us really know anything truly about it.

That can make us feel uneasy. To know that philosophies and theories are just that. They can get us to places, show us examples of how to be, but ultimately can’t get us to have the experience. That simply comes from . . . well . . . experience.

But to be open isn’t a philosophy. It’s a way of being. And to be open is essential for an actor. You can’t explore different characters if you have judgments about them. How do you explore a sociopath or a murderer? Or maybe even not someone so extreme. Maybe it’s simply someone who’s sexually free or a douchebag. If you’re not open to who these people are at their core – which is just different manifestations of humanity – you deny those qualities within yourself.

That’s not being open.

I know it’s scary. You have to acknowledge that there’s a part of you that’s wild. Unhinged. Out of control. Sometimes to play these characters means getting in touch with those parts of ourselves that we’ve been conditioned to condemn. They’re taboo. They’re societal outcasts. They’re unsafe. We shame them.

We often equate openness with getting hurt. We use our old software that’s been programmed by telling us that we’ve been rejected in the past so to be open is foolish. It leads to further heartbreak and disappointment.

Understand it from a different perspective. Openness means open to it all. It means being okay with our dark, weird, unseen parts we keep hidden. It means being open to not knowing and not caring so much what we might look like and not giving a f*%k. It means trying to be more honest in our interactions with all people. At first where we have judgments, we try to allow ourselves to move past the judgments and see others in ways we never had before.

That’s openness.

Being open is your ability to tell someone you’re not open.


That’s openness.

P.S. Most of the time we’re practicing these things without even realizing it. We’re so hard on ourselves, and often compare the practice of something with an idea of how we think it’s supposed to look that we forget we’re actually in the practice anyway. Acknowledge that about yourself. That’s openness.

Actors in video: Tiffany Daniels and Frances Roper

What Martin Scorsese and Tinder Have in Common: If You Want Success You Have to be Human

The maestro, Martin Scorsese was recently quoted in Harper’s Bazaar talking about Sharon Stone in Casino and the process for the actor auditioning (and then working) for a director.

“What you’re looking for, always, is not for someone to give you exactly what you envision but to surpass it, to use their own intelligence and instincts and imagination and talent to bring the character to life—actually, to get to a place where they’re surprising themselves.”

That comes from embracing the inherent chaos of the moment and the willingness to create within it. No matter how well things are planned, rehearsed, memorized, strategized, “prepped”, deliberated, controlled or executed – the goal for the actor is to simply allow what’s happening to happen.

It’s everything. And it’s not easy. Perhaps even more so nowadays. Because it requires us to be human and reveal our inherent vulnerability. And sadly, we’re living in a time where technology is chipping away at our humanity and creates a disconnect from our essential nature.

How many times have we hidden behind our cell phone, pretending we’re on it when we’re not – because we’re too scared to connect? How often have we been distracted by nonsense that’s being tweeted or reposted, rather than allowing ourselves to look up from our device and notice the living world all around us? Whether it’s about masking our low self-esteem because we’ve got a device in our hands and we feel more comfortable with it, or it’s contributing to our ADHD and inability to focus, or the science now that’s showing that young people may be having a harder time reading people’s facial expressions because they spend more time interfacing with a screen than with another human. I also noticed personally that it’s eroding our ability to simply be with people we connect with on dating apps.

There was a revealing piece in Vanity Fair about the “Dating Apocalypse” ushered in by that dating app we all love-to-hate, Tinder.

What the piece indirectly reveals is that apps like these are speeding up the process of getting to know someone and the end-result is we “connect” (at whatever superficial level that may be) and then move on to the next “match” when our base needs are fulfilled. So that’s not connection at all. That’s simply our dopamine levels being spiked each time someone new pings us. Our wiring tells us there’s always someone better coming along, so it enforces our inability to be fully human. We let the social constructs (and “rules”) of an app dictate and then habituate human behavior; not the other way around.

I’m on Tinder. I’ve been challenged the same way. What was a process of getting to know someone over a few weeks or months has now boiled down to this:


From Hello

To flirting

To asking someone out

To getting their phone number

To being courted

To exchanging G-rated pics

To expressing your feelings

To hooking up

To dating exclusively

To making a commitment

To exchanging X-rated pics

To making future plans together

To then being too busy

To not hearing from him or her so much

To being avoided outright

To getting a divorce

To being “un”-matched


All in like 30 minutes!

Welcome to the new world order. Oh, connection, where have you gone? If we don’t keep practicing ways to be human, we’re screwed. As actors, our job is to reflect what it means to be human back to humanity. That’s all we have. Don’t lose that ability in the name of the latest app that has to be installed on your phone.

Sharon Stone mentions in the magazine article that she’s currently single. For her sake, I hope she doesn’t resort to getting on Tinder.

Are Your 20’s Like Your 40’s . . . And Beyond? Yep. (if you keep seeking the unknown)

I realized the other day that there is no primer for understanding the phases of life that we inevitably go through. I thought it odd as so many people have come before us, and yet, I personally haven’t seen a manual describing what I might expect to find around the next turn in the road.

Geez, that would be helpful.

You know, so that you don’t think you’re going crazy. Or the only one suffering from some incurable thought like, “Does it ever get better?” or “Do dreams come true?” or “What happens now when I want to chuck it all and move to Tahiti?” Brando did it. “What should I do?”

Maybe one of the things that might help us negotiate through our current phase (no matter where we are) is to realize that most life phases are bookended by the same principles we work through throughout our lives.

Namely, the “known” vs. the “unknown.”

So our formative years when we’re in our 20’s are when everything is new and exciting and weird and funky. Our still-developing reptilian brain wants to react from it’s fight-or-flight wiring, and it’s scary because everything seems unknown to us. I mean everything is sort of unknown. Will we find love? What’s going to happen in our career? Can we make it as an artist? Should we have never left Idaho? Where will we be in 10 years from now?

But if you’re brave enough to keep taking action and step into the unknown where the answers to these questions exist – eventually you’re going to get there.

But then what happens when you do get there (wherever there is!), is you become accustomed to the known. As we get older and experience things and gain knowledge we also become comfortable in our knowingness. (Hello! Have you ever heard the term “know-it-all”?) The familiarity that knowing creates, also, simultaneously becomes its own prison. You get used to the comfort and safety of what you’ve accumulated and accomplished that you’re scared to take leaps into the unknown.

So it’s two different vantage points in life phases but still presenting the same dilemma.

There is only one solution.

Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism that means beginner’s mind. It’s important for us to always approach all tasks – even those we’ve done a thousand times – as a beginner. That is, open, eager, joyful in learning and not cluttered with the ego’s preconceptions of the way something should be. That mindfulness right there will keep us open to the unknown. Which ultimately then, is everything we want to be in, far beyond our comfort zones.

So do it. Take the leap. Commit to the unknown. And you’ll find that no matter what phase of life you’re currently in, you’re doing pretty damn awesome, even if there’s no manual telling you that!


7 Rules to Improve Your Acting (and Your Life)

I think we’re living in an exciting time, because the rules of acting that are really becoming popular (and understandable) are those that follow the same rules of life.

It’s not really hard to stop “acting” and get real. But then again, look how often we don’t want to do that in life. So what is hard is not learning to “act” per se, but instead learning how to become more honest with our feelings in life.

I believe good acting “rules” also intersect among different acting art forms, because if they’re good rules, they’re universal. So improv basically follows the same rules of really great scene study work, which follows the same rules of stand-up comedy, which follows the same rules of physical theater, which follows the same rules of musicals…and on and on it goes.

It’s all about listening, and presence, and expressing yourself fully, playing, showing up, and going for shit-not giving up and saying yes to the moment. It’s about getting out of your head and taking the focus off yourself (and your ego). It’s about getting lost in the spontaneity of the moment, and being willing to be vulnerable.

Hard principles to grasp? I don’t think so. Often what they require is to give up not only your pre-conceived ideas about acting (and life), but also to allow yourself to see life through a different prism-a prism of play and wonder, not cynicism and fear.

There’s a beautiful saying. “I am available to anything that wants to happen in this moment, including that which is beyond imagining.” But that requires us to let go of the certainty that we have all the answers. We don’t.

Comedian Dani Klein Modisett, who teaches the rules of standup at UCLA, wrote a book based on those rules to create more laughter and fun in her marriage. The book, “Take My Spouse, Please,” shows us how to bring comedy back to relationships, and in so doing, improve them.

These are great rules for life, relationships, and acting. (I’m sharing a few of hers below with my thoughts.)

1. Show up. Don’t give up.

2. Get present. Half the time we’re not, so we miss the gift of the moment.

3. Listen to everything, not just the words. Words are sent with intent and feeling. They aren’t just typed letters on a page. When you actually listen to them in the context in which they are sent, they will naturally affect you. Acting is simply listening and reacting. But you can’t react to something if you aren’t listening in the first place!

4. Embrace the element of surprise. If you allow yourself to deeply listen, there’s no way you can’t be surprised, because life is constantly throwing us curve balls.

5. Be patient. Impatience is the belief that what you want won’t come.

6. Don’t quit after a bad night. It’s all relative anyway and everything further serves our lives and our work.

7. Get help to get better. That’s the truth for everything. Whether it’s a great acting class, going to a therapist, surrounding yourself in community, or simply telling someone the thing you’re too scared to say, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s surely a sign of the most tremendous amount of strength.

Stop making acting harder than it is. Get in the game of acting (and life) by showing up fully with the rules listed above. You’ll start to see that not only is it easier than we’ve made it, it’s also a hell of a lot more fun. And, your relationships might just get a whole lot better, too.

5 Rules for a Better Life (and 5 ways to improve your acting)!

1). Stay open when you want to hide, shut down or retreat. This sounds easier said than done, but staying open and leading from the heart is going to be the major calling of our lives. It’s so easy to let our resentments and judgments (primarily formed from the past) seep into and distort our present moment. At the very least, try to be neutral about things. Remember life isn’t happening to you. It’s just happening. But if you can just stay open, you’ll find that the things that do happen are much better than you imagined.

2). Embarrass yourself. By making an attempt to connect to others, you run the risk of embarrassing yourself – but that simultaneously generates its own reward. It simply means you’re engaging with the world in ways beyond your comfort zone. Being alive is fraught with embarrassment. The only way you’re going to avoid it is by avoiding putting yourself out there. There’s a wonderful contemporary visual artist named Margaux Ogden who has a painting entitled Being Human Is Embarrassing. Indeed. It means to live fully is to be at risk.

3). Take the leap and then the net will appear. I don’t know why the universe is constructed this way – but it is. Anything you want in life requires you to take the leap. It doesn’t ask us to wait first for a safety net to appear before we take the leap. It just asks us to trust and jump and then a net appears. So practice doing it. That is the Physics of Risk-Taking. And remember, just because you jump and the net appears – it still doesn’t mean things are going to work out the way you thought they would. That’s not the point. The point is to leap. Ultimately, things do work out but you have to be willing to stay open (see #1) to let things reveal themselves in ways that are as equally as beneficial than just our limited ways of seeing them.

4). Get mad. It’s preferable than being passive-aggressive. Or shutdown. Or a constant whiner or complainer. And that’s the only way you can break the surface to other feeling – namely gratitude, surrender, acceptance and love. All feeling is connected to all other feeling. So stop judging yourself for having feelings that you don’t seem to think other people have. If people are honest, moments make us angry. That’s okay. Go into it fully and look at why you get triggered. Because you have expectations? Because you’re trying to control things? Ultimately, by feeling authentic feeling, you will learn what it is the moment is trying to show you and you’ll stop shaming yourself for not having it all together. No one does.

5). Express your love in unexpected ways. It’s easy for us to love when it’s easy. It’s not hard to love our parents, for example. (Unless it is!) It’s easy to love our new girlfriend the first 5 months of meeting someone. The kind of love I’m talking about is the expression of self in unplanned, spontaneous, honest ways. Surprise yourself. You might reveal a part of yourself to a friend you’ve never dared to share. You might simply text someone you’ve intended to reach out to for months and just say, “I was thinking of you.” Love isn’t just the big sweeping gestures we’ve learned from watching movies. They’re little things. Saying “Hi” to a stranger. Looking someone in the eye. Paying the $1.00 parking fee for the car behind you in the parking garage at the exit gate. Being nice to a bank teller, rather than yelling at her because you had to wait for 10 minutes.

These are all simple acts. But done mindfully they can change your life in big ways.

The How to Use What Were All Seeking (to Your Advantage) In The Audition Room

I was at my dental hygienist the other day and she was telling me about her latest dating woes. As I looked up from my reclining chair into her eyes – somehow clear and glassy even through her gigantic safety goggles and SARS-like mask reaching well above her nose almost obscured them – I suddenly started to cry.

I realized in that moment, listening to her as she asked for help – even though the only help I could really provide was to be there for her fully and listen – was that we all are seeking the same thing. Especially at times when our hearts are conflicted. When we don’t get what we desire, or are struggling with a life issue.

We all want the same thing. To be heard. To be seen. To be acknowledged. To be received.

So then she started to cry. And I was thinking, “Oh, Lordy hold that drill steady sister, please! You’ve got sharp, pointy, metal things very near my mouth!”

Despite my dentistry worries, deep connection was created. All the more deep with a “stranger.” Where was it along our journeys that we were told it was only okay to connect with people whom we know? Our friends, family, lovers, parents?

Deep, meaningful connection is everywhere and all around us with all people if we but keep our hearts and ears open. Ironically, when we connect with people in inspired ways, we learn lessons and get information most unexpectedly. Sometimes, exactly the thing we most need to hear. The things she was telling me were the same things all of us struggle with. Fitting in, liking ourselves more, believing we deserve the desires of our hearts.

I was shocked because here in front of me was this funny, smart, beautiful human being who couldn’t see any of these things in herself and was punishing herself because she didn’t feel anyone could see them in her either.

So perhaps the thing we’re looking for through only one vehicle, wants to be created for us in many ways.

The insight here in terms of acting is the answer to a question I often get asked about casting situations. Actors are often (mistakenly) under the impression that casting directors aren’t happy to see them because they’re always in a rush or impatient and then the actor doesn’t know how to deal with the energy in the room.

Don’t get thrown. Yes, they may be busy. But it’s your audition. You are being called in. It’s your 3 minutes to show someone what you want to create.

So take the moment to breathe and actually connect with them. You take the moment. Establish contact. Drop in. Relax. Smile. It may happen very quickly, but looking someone in the eye and really establishing that you are there really changes the dynamic in the room. Just like in life. It may – or may not – be perceptible to them. That’s not the point. The point is that you’re about to engage in a moment-to-moment interaction with another human being so to create that space where you feel empowered because you’re actually there can make all the difference.

It’s actually the physics of all interactions. Business meetings, first dates, being on set, talking to an agent about yourself – connect with people at that level. Really get in there. Search for – and seek out – the connection.

Try to engage with people the way you would most want to be seen, heard and received.

What would happen when you did that? Nothing short of a miracle.


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