Did you finish 2019 with your hopes high after auditioning for acting schools across Australia only to begin 2020 confused, frustrated and down hearted because you weren’t successful?
Were you excited and looking forward to spending 2020 working towards your dream career and now are feeling hurt and unsure as to how to move forward but determined not to give up on what you know you can achieve?
Do you feel a little humiliated after telling people of your plans and then not getting anywhere – even your parents are beginning to lose faith and have begun leading conversations to the subject of “back-up” plans?
Have you been asking yourself, “Am I ever going to get started?”
Are you feeling confused and wondering why other actors, not as talented as you, are getting through the door and winning opportunities, when you get overlooked?
If you answered yes to any of these questions; firstly, you are not alone, and secondly, these questions have been created from my own personal experience going through exactly what you are going through.
And I am sure you don’t want to take “no” for an answer in 2020.
There are three mistakes people make after getting an industry knock-back:
- They allow the setback to alter their ideal. They start changing the goal posts. No longer believing they can achieve the dream in their hearts because they feel low after the setback, they convince themselves that they will be happy settling for a smaller, less scary, version, telling themselves its more “realistic” and that they aimed too high previously.
- They begin to buy into stories that they don’t have what it takes. They begin to lose faith in themselves and their talent and don’t see the point in investing time and money into training. The negative self-talk begins. They start to tell themselves they may never achieve what they set out to achieve that they in some way are fundamentally flawed and no amount of training or investment is guaranteed because they don’t have what it takes, they aren’t worth the investment.
- They become afraid to look at their failures, preferring to bury their heads in the sand than revisit the pain of how they may have got in their own way. And so, they don’t immediately “get back up on the horse” so to speak. Thus missing the opportunity to take what they have learnt from the situation back into the work as soon as they can. And often there just aren’t the opportunities to do so either.
So how do you guarantee you are a sure thing?
The following preparation plan is guaranteed to increase your chances in 2019.
It consists of 3 very important steps that you can take immediately.
- Get clear on the dream
- Invest in your training
- Find the right performance opportunities
That’s it. It’s really that simple.
In her book, “It’s Rising Time”, Kim Kiyosaki talks about what she calls the Triple A Triangle. She explained you cannot have what you want unless you DO something. A pretty simple concept, right? She then goes on to explain that there are three types of DOING necessary to reach a goal, these three types of doings form the Triple A Triangle. The three types of DOING are ASPIRE, ACQUIRE and APPLY. And it takes all three parts of the Triple A Triangle to achieve your goals or your dreams.
If you want to see different results, results that are more in alignment with your goals, then you need to be taking action in each of these three areas and I am going to outline how you can do just that.
1. ASPIRE – GET CLEAR ON THE DREAM / GOAL
a) Choose the Dream / Goal
You need to determine your focus so you can clearly see when you are off track, when an opportunity is right for you to pursue and so you have clarity with regards to the people you want to bring on board to help you achieve your dream. The dream is the reason why you are doing it. It motivates you to keep moving forward.
So before anything else you must get specific, very specific about the dream. Most people, when you ask them to get specific about what they really want, feel uncomfortable discussing their goals/dreams or writing them down and in some cases feel that their dreams are stupid. You need to get comfortable and very specific. Your goal will guide you in making the right choices. It will keep you on track. It will motivate you when the work gets tough.
b) Have a clear vision of what it looks like
Write it up, or create a visual image of it by drawing it or even collaging it (where you cut out images from magazines that represent what you really want.
c) Refer to it regularly
Refer to it on a regular basis. As your relationship with your goal/dream develops so does your determination to achieve it. As you begin to acknowledge how important it is to you, you begin to adopt that “do whatever it takes attitude”. The more you see the dream, the more achievable it seems. The dream keeps you focused through the ups and downs of your journey.
So how do you get specific on what you really want to achieve?
- Ask yourself: “Before I was afraid to dream what was the dream?” How big did it actually get?” And write it all down. Be specific. Do not leave anything out.
- Journal your thoughts. In her book “The Artist’s Way”, Julia Cameron recommends writing three pages every morning before you start your day. This is a great way to unpack and explore what is important to you and how you really feel about things that you might not feel comfortable unpacking with other people. These three pages every morning bring you incredible insight about yourself and often reveals your truest, authentic desires. This is a great habit to get into every morning before you begin your day.
- Look at the movies, television series, theatre productions and actors that inspire you. Ask yourself: “is there a common thread?” Explore why they inspire you. Are these things you want to achieve with your acting? Again, be a specific as you can.
- Book an Actors’ Hub Next Level Breakthrough Session. At the Actors’ Hub this is where we begin. By unpacking our clients dreams, helping them get really clear on the goal and determining where they are right now and the obstacles that might be getting in their way we are able to give some clear direction as to the work that needs to be done and the steps they need to take and this helps them achieve their goals much quicker. The sessions are free and will get you crystal clear on your vision for your ideal acting career, uncover obstacles that may be sabotaging your success and will give you a step-by-step action plan as well as renewed energy and motivation to see it through. You will walk away from one of these sessions with the next steps you need to take to achieve your goal.
Remember any goal is achievable, providing it is clearly defined and it can be broken down into small that you can comfortably achieve.
In getting clear on the goal you become realistic about the steps and what it takes.
Like any worthwhile career, preparing for an acting career takes time and commitment. Often, after only a year of training, students ask me when will they secure the big break? What worthwhile career takes one year of training? It takes more than one year of training and one or two auditions. It takes a lifelong commitment to training and the determination to see it through, just like the work of the athlete.
It takes that “do whatever it takes” attitude we keep referring to. Do you have that attitude? Getting specific about the dream will certainly inspire it so it is an essential step and a step you can take right now.
2. ACQUIRE – INVEST IN TRAINING
The acquire stage is about gaining the knowledge to make it happen. Kim Kiyosaki refers to this as the education part of do. “You are gathering the information you need in order to take action.”
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 to 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. 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.
b) 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.
So how do you find the coach for you?
- Get clear on the dream and what do 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.
c) 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 colleague (those who keep you focused on the goal). You do not have time for anything else.
3. APPLY – FIND PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES
This is where you apply what you have acquired. I am always amazed at the growth of our students at the Actors’ Hub immediately after a performance. It is one thing to teach the content and challenge it in the classroom but it is something completely different when a student can challenge the work in a performance with constructive feedback. This is when the growth with the craft and understanding of the concepts really happen. Therefore, it is essential if you want to grow in the craft this year, to seek quality performance opportunities. If you want to see the greatest possible growth you need to ensure optimum conditions. Think of the performance as an incubator for your talents. It wants to be safe, so you feel you can challenge yourself and the concepts you are learning. It wants to be challenging, ideally working with people to whom you aspire and who inspire you. And it wants to be under guidance that you trust.
So how do you ensure the right conditions?
a) Get selective.
Before accepting a performance opportunity, research the company, director and team to determine the quality and only work with quality. It’s time to get selective. Not all performance opportunities provide opportunities for growth and you want to see growth before the next WAAPA intake. You need to determine quality and make the decision to only work with quality. Practice makes perfect, yes…in some cases, but it also makes permanent. Bad habits are often difficult to overcome and it is often easier for an institution to train up an inexperienced actor than help a more experienced actor overcome bad habits.
If, after 12 months you are riddled with bad habits, WAAPA, or any other training institution for that matter, will be reluctant to take you on board as it will be a gamble as to whether or not they can break your habits and do it quickly enough to really have an impact on your training in the short time that you are with them.
You do not want to give WAAPA any reason NOT to take you. The competition is fierce. So performance opportunities are important for growth but you need to ensure they are quality opportunities under solid guidance. You want to use it as a learning tool and you want constructive feedback. Which brings us to our next point.
b) Get feedback.
Determine who your role models are within the local industry and ask them to provide you with constructive feedback. This can even mean approaching a lecturer from WAAPA (or another reputable training institution) or possibly even a student of that institution or someone who understands the ways of the industry. However, if you are aiming for WAAPA it makes sense to enlist someone who understands the ways of WAAPA and what they teach. You are looking for someone who has the training behind them and who you trust. Again, you need to be selective. It is very easy to find people who will tell you, you are fabulous but you want someone you can trust who will tell you honestly how it is and who will challenge you to go further. Try to ask the same person to each performance so that there is consistency in the feedback.
Another way you can ensure a great performance incubator, in order to challenge what you are learning in your training, is to put up your own work at a reputable organisation, theatre or festival (e.g. the Blue Room, the Fringe Festival, the Perth Theatre Trust Independent Festival). Put together a team of people you trust and really want to work with and put on a show. And again ask for that constructive feedback.
By now I hope you’re feeling excited knowing that you can put the steps in place to ensure a different outcome in the year ahead.
You have the steps. Now it is time to take action. Don’t wait. Don’t delay. Be willing to do what is necessary in order to change the outcome in 2020. We’re all works in progress. If we all waited until we were perfect they wouldn’t be in acting industry! Start creating the change you want to see today.
If you are buzzing with enthusiasm and want to learn more about her you can move your career to the next level click here to book in for a free Next Level Breakthrough Session.
1. Julia Cameron, “The Artist’s Way”, Penguin Group (USA), 1992
2. Kim Kiyosaki, “It’s Rising Time!” Plata Publishing, LLC, 2011