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Category Archives: Acting
The answer to everything you are up against in life is. . . well. . . you.
Or rather, you hold the answers to all your questions.
But in order to access them, you have to ask different questions that require you to express your needs.
Why is this so hard for us? Why are we so scared to ask for what we deserve?
Especially when it comes to agents and managers?
You’re repped by someone and haven’t gone out in six months and yet you’re too scared to have a conversation. It might “rock the boat,” or “mess up a good thing.”
You’re not repped so you take the brain drain train and think to yourself, “I’m not good enough,” or “No one is ever going to want me,” simply because you’ve been rejected in the past.
Our fears are tied to our own childhood images of self-worth. We think if we express our truth we’ll be abandoned, or punished, or lose.
But here’s the irony. If we’re in a relationship that isn’t working (we’re being taken advantage of, or we aren’t respected or we aren’t having our needs met) it’s never going to change unless we communicate.
Even though in the short term our worst fears might be realized – we break-up, or our agent drops us — in the long run, those actions spurn us toward where we ultimately want to go.
Homeostasis = Stagnation. Stagnation = No Growth.
Here’s this week’s homework:
1). If you have a great agent/manager relationship – you’re auditioning and you talk regularly with them — thank them for the wonderful job they’re doing! Do you know how rare it is for them to hear a client say “thank you” just because? They work hard. Let them know you appreciate them. Not just when you book.
2). If you haven’t talked to your agent/manager in months and have had zero auditions, call them. Start a dialogue. Communicate your needs. Find out how you can help. If it’s not a match, let it go so something new can come into your life.
3). If you don’t have an agent/manager. Find one. And don’t stop until you do.
“Today you are you, this is truer than true, there is no one alive, who is youer than you.” — Dr. Seuss
It’s a great story. A sixteen-year old girl gets discovered sipping a strawberry shake at Schwab’s pharmacy.
(Actually, it might be a myth-within-a-myth because some people say she wasn’t even at Schwab’s. See how illusions prosper!)
Anyway. That story creates the unhealthy myth association within each actor’s psyche that when they move to LA they’re going to be “discovered.” And then when a few years go by and that hasn’t happened yet, the actor thinks it’s never going to happen. That they’re doing something wrong. That they’re talentless. And they stop trying.
The reality of a life in show business is to Just. Keep. Going.
And actually, that’s life. Period.
I was at a restaurant the other night and started talking to this woman, Judy, who sells a new line of tequila. She told me how she’s competing against these larger companies and brands that are more established and that she has to keep hustling and work hard to get her product to different bars. (You may want to support her, btw, as it’s an all female owned and operated tequila company.)
So you see? You think having to forge forward and overcome obstacles is specific to your life. Or to being an actor.
All people in all walks of life are faced with the same challenges.
Rejections are part of life no matter who we are.
So stop sitting around waiting for someone to discover you. Get out there and start getting rejected. It’s all numbers. That’s how careers are made. Harrison Ford says it best:
“There is no way into acting; it’s impossible. I knew that from the beginning. It’s statistically impossible to make a living as an actor. You have to love it, and even your love for it is not going to make it happen. What is going to make it happen is luck and tenacity. I never made a living until I was 35 years old. I came out here when I was 24. But one thing I knew and recognized was that people all around me were giving up and going home. I just, quietly, never gave up.”
That really says it all. In life and in our acting — the goal is to be fully expressed. We rarely allow ourselves to do this on a moment-to-moment basis because we become prisoners of our own minds criticizing us, judging us, telling us what is appropriate and keeping us playing safe. So we end up making choices that are bland. Forgettable. Protected. Obvious. Common.
There’s nothing memorable about being safe. Life is not only inherently risky but it also evokes risk within us. It makes us want to take leaps. It makes us want to step into the unknown. It makes us want to throw caution to the wind.
But if you listen to the left-brain’s logic of why you shouldn’t do something or why something isn’t a good idea or all the “bad” things that might happen if you decide to take the risk, you end up doing nothing.
Start being okay with making huge blunders. Failing big. Falling flat on your face. Getting uncomfortable. The more you do this, the more the creative world will open up to you and you’ll begin stepping into new domains of possibility that previously weren’t available to you.
Homework: Let your choices be hugely creative or dramatically terrible. Just don’t let them be boring. I’m not asking you to do something crazy just to be crazy and get someone to notice you. What I’m talking about here is making authentic, bold, daring choices that are true to the moment and that you normally repress or shy away from because you let fear keep you from taking those risks.
“Let’s make a dent in the universe.” — Steve Jobs