Hi. Thanks for visiting. As you read this, pretend that I am talking directly to you. Because I am. We have a tendency to distance ourselves. Don't fall into that trap. Take this personally. Let it inspire you. Review yourself honestly. That's how this blog will be the most effective.
I took a personal development course this weekend. It made absolutely clear what I already knew. I have a poor relationship with my word. And it wasn't just me. It applied to all 147 people that were in the Landmark Forum with me. We say we're going to do something, and then we don't do it.
Everyone is always looking for the magic button that is going to make their acting really pop. And if you're denying that last sentence, you're lying to yourself. We all want to take the shortcut. The fact of the matter is that there is none. You are never going to be 'good enough'. You will never 'arrive'.
That's not meant to be a downer. That is the good news! Have you ever heard those "life is a journey" sorts of people? The same applies to your work as an actor. It's not about getting somewhere. It's about fighting for your art along the way. If there is any answer, that's the one. Once you address your own integrity, you'll begin to see the results you long for.
What does that mean? How many actors do we know that don't audition or don't practice? How do they expect to get anywhere? How about you: do you do your work on a consistent basis? Do you spend enough time nursing your own creativity? I doubt it.
I'm not asking if you work a lot. Personally, I do five shows a year now. I'm the Artistic Director of The Seeing Place Theater. I get together with my company on a weekly basis and read plays. I've taken two acting classes every Wednesday for the last 5 years in New York. I talk about acting all the time. I write all kinds of blogs. However, I set for myself the goal of practicing the work I know I need to do to develop my actor's instrument on a daily basis...and then I rarely, if ever, get to it. Maybe I'll run through the motions quickly, but I never give myself the time and energy that is necessary to build a new habit. If that's me, then where do you stand?
The truth is that we all know what we need to do. And rather than making excuses, putting it off, beating ourselves up, etc, we could spend that time and energy to do the work we know we need to do. It's not always going to happen. Things will get in the way. That's fine. Forgive yourself and recommit. You won't be perfect. But your effort has to become your habit if you are ever to grow.
Try this idea on for a week and see how you feel. Simply following through on your own personal promises is huge. Let your commitment be the thing to inspire you. When you begin a workout regime, it never feels good. It's an inconvenience. But you begin to hunger for it, and then you can't see life without it. You want to have that relationship with your craft - and also your career. Art isn't enough. You have to put yourself on the map if anyone is going to take notice.
I understand the fear. Believe me, this blog applies just as much to me as it does you. I don't know where I'm going to find the time. But I'm tired of making excuses. I'm tired of walking into class, knowing I'm presenting this image of the perfect student, when I'm really under-prepared. I'm tired of feeling like a charlatan. And I'm committed to spending 15 minutes a day exercising my acting muscles. Because everything I am rests on the strength of my word to myself and others. That's what's going to make it possible for me to walk into a room with confidence. It's such a minor daily effort in comparison with what I get out of it.
Don't know where to start? Look at your daily complaints against yourself? What are you always excusing? What do you justify to yourself every day? You don't need anyone else to tell you where you fall short of your own mark. You already know what you need to do, what you put off, what scares you, etc. Do you need to audition more? Do you need to get into a class? Do you need to read more plays? Do you need to warm up on a more frequent basis? Where is the slack in your art? Take this opportunity to be true to yourself. See how far you can go.
Just remember to be kind to yourself. The Artist's Way talks about setting "gentle goals". That's important. It's hard enough to take action. You don't need yourself as an enemy, shooting you in the foot, making you doubt your worth. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for your word. There is nothing wrong with you. We all struggle with this. Make the effort.
The magic button is integrity.
You read what I promise to do. We'd love for you to share your goals as well. Seriously, please spend a minute to type out a new plan for yourself and share it with us. That's the first step. That way, we are a community of artists empowering one another.
What goals are you setting for yourself?