I have interviewed a number of aspiring actors and the common thread I have identified is the fear to invest 100% in the goal. Afraid they won’t make it, so they divide their focus between the goal and a back-up plan.
If your goal was to be a doctor, you would focus 100% of your attention on becoming a doctor. Right? But, with actors, fear gets in the way. Perhaps because they have been told too often it is a difficult career to get into. Or, perhaps because they have not clearly defined the specific goal. The reason why is not important.
In working with these aspiring actors, I have learnt those that have backup plans need backup plans, and those who do not, do not need them because they achieve the goal. Their focus is 100% on the goal. Those who have no choice but to succeed as they have nothing else approach the work with a different mind frame – a more determined one. They are far more determined to identify the problem and find their own solutions to it.
In order to achieve the dream, you must not be afraid to invest in it and yourself. If you want to ensure you get there and want to get there quickly, then, like an athlete, you need to invest in training. And those who give over 100% to the training are the ones that really achieve. After all, what is the point of investing in the training if you are not going to take on board the advice. It seems counter-productive.
If you want to win, sometimes we need to do things that feel uncomfortable and even scary.
If left to our own devices, we often don’t challenge ourselves beyond our comfort zone and into the discomfort. It is moving through the discomfort that causes us to grow. If you want to see a change in the outcome, you need to move into the discomfort. In order to move into the discomfort, your ideas need to be challenged. There are three ways to challenge your ideas on acting.
A lot has been written on the craft of acting. From Stanislavski through to the likes of contemporary acting coaches such as Larry Moss and Ivana Chubbuck, there is so much to explore and challenge. Read them all. And find a group of actors or a class with whom you can challenge every theory.
Enlist the help of a Coach
Enlisting the help of a coach (whether a school or institution or an individual) can be the difference between mediocrity and excellence. Having a coach or a mentor is vital to your support structure. Someone, who has the experience, can guide you and teach you. After all, we don’t know what we don’t know. A coach is also there to stop you from deviating from the path, to hold you accountable, and often ensures quicker progress.
A coach can be an individual or a class long as it is regular . The key is regular contact. So how do you find the coach for you?
- Get clear on the dream and what you want to achieve and why it is important to you
- Make the commitment to yourself to ensure a “no excuses attitude”
- Investigate and choose your advisors wisely:
- Explore their past successes. One success does not equal success in everything. What do you want your coach or school to be successful at? Launching aspiring actors into the industry or launching their own careers?
- Choose a coach or school that is in alignment with your values.
- Read past-student testimonials.
- Secure a course outline and make sure it excites you.
- Ask yourself: “Do they seem to be taking their own advice?” and “Are they willing to discuss the elephant in the room?” If your coach is telling you, you are fabulous, you need to ask them, “Then why am I not where I want to be if I am so fabulous?” Remember you are paying your coach to deliver, and no one likes to deliver bad news, but in order for you to grow you need to know the truth. You want to know how you are getting in your own way. The industry is a tough industry, if you cannot survive hearing it from your coach, who is invested in your success, you are not ready for the industry.
Find your tribe
Start building a group of creative colleagues – a tribe – your tribe! There is a saying that goes: it takes a village to raise a child. This is also true for acting. It takes a tribe to build an acting career, and you need to start building yours. Your tribe needs to consist of your coach, those who provide professional, constructive feedback and your creative colleagues (those who keep you focused on the goal). You do not have time for anything else.