Backstage

How to Handle Failure

 How to Handle FailureBeing an actor unfortunately means that you will experience failure.  I have experienced failure, stars have and you will also as you move along your journey as an artist.   It’s part of the game and if you’re not failing, then you are not trying.At the end of the day failure is simply feedback. You will experience rejection and you will have tough moments in your career when you feel like you royally messed up. Maybe you lost your lines at an audition or simply didn't’ perform well, however you should always remember that it is never as bad as you think it is.  It never is.  As an artist we always focus heavily on our failures rather than on the positive aspects of our careers and performances. However, our goal as performers is to develop the ability of thinking extraordinary, not common and normal.  Thinking extraordinary means having the ability to experience failure and have the discipline to ignore those failures, move past them and immediately focus on the next audition or performance.  What separates those we admire in any field is their ability to ignore their failures, to learn from them and to move past them. A more normal way of thinking is to ponder heavily on our failures and to only see the negative in our performance. That’s normal because that’s how our brains are wired. They are designed to think of the negative first so that we are able to survive. There isn't a performer who has not experienced failure and had a massive disappointment. It is important for you to remember you will get another opportunity to perform and make up for it.  Here are some exercises to help you get over the failure:

  • Write down two or three actions you could have taken to prepare differently and that might have helped you improve your performance.   Ask yourself, honestly:  Did I prepare enough? Did I go to bed at the right time? Did I drink too much the night before?  
  • Write down two or three actions you feel you also did well. It is critical to focus on the positive so that you can ingrain what you did well and give yourself a better chance of repeating it. Train yourself to focus on the positive even if you feel like you did nothing well.  It can be as simple as how you walked in and out of the room. Or how you marketed yourself to get the audition. Train yourself to always focus on the positive.

Also, make it a part of your mission statement as an artist that when you feel tired, or feel too stressed for whatever reason, you will not give yourself the excuse to not be fully prepared. You won’t use the excuse, “I’m just too tired to work on this material”.   The thing that separates elite performers from everyone else is their ability to prepare when they don’t feel like preparing.   Your job is to hammer away at all cost at your craft even when you are exhausted and don’t have the energy.  That is what will separate you from everyone else and it will change the course of your career. 

How to Find Happiness As an Actor

 

Success and happiness come to us when we remove our egos and focus on our effort and to do the work: becoming better storytellers, being prepared and creating as many opportunities for ourselves as we can. When we do that, that is enough and success will follow.

We tend to let our egos dictate how success is defined for us. Ego has us comparing ourselves with others, hence IMDb’s star meter. When we let go of our egos and only judge ourselves by the amount of effort we have put into our careers, we begin to take control of our careers and begin to take risks. And taking risks is what leads to success.

Ego stops us from pursuing our goals because we fear we won’t be appreciated or we will be criticized too harshly.  Ego prevents us from making that call to the agent or attempting the project that we have been so longing to create. We focus on the applause that it will or won’t receive instead of being happy with the fruit of our labor. You will be unappreciated, you will experience surprising failures and your expectations will not be met at times, but how you pick yourself up, carry on and how you see your failures defines the character in you which will lead you onwards and upwards.

I find that feeling depressed about our careers comes when we feel helpless and judge our success by only the praise we have (or have not) received from our parents or from friends back home. Remember that in life there will be times when we do everything right, but the results will somehow be negative and you will experience failure, even a resounding yawn from the world. I believe that if you focus on your effort and take pride in your effort, you will have the confidence to keep moving forward towards your goal in the good times and tough times.

Think of Steve Jobs, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah, JK Rowling, Bloomberg, Spielberg, Emily Dickinson—all these amazing individuals were either fired, laughed at or given resounding rejections. But they never let their egos get in the way of what they wanted to achieve.

Start the project you have been wanting to start, without worrying about whether people will think it is stupid. Make the call to the agent without the fear of him/her hanging up on you.  As the new year rolls around, focus on letting go of your ego and on being content with the quality of your effort without looking for approval. Your effort is sufficient and is where success and happiness lies. Take risks!

"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming"–John WoodenRead how to accomplish your goals

Taking Action

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ6Y61VNlt8There are times when we don’t feel like we have the motivation or the energy to get the things done that we need to get done. The way you find energy and motivation on the days that your lagging is to take immediate action. Taking action, and finishing a task (no matter how small), will give you a sense of accomplishment.It can be as easy as making a phone call or sending an email or making your bed. It could be organizing all of your emails so that you can feel less overwhelmed. Once you feel a sense of accomplishment, you begin to feel motivated to get more things done.Success will lead to more success.1. Put yourself in situations that will help you get motivated. If you need to do some writing tomorrow before you go to bed, leave your laptop on and open with a cup of cold coffee on your desk so that you can simply wake up, drink the coffee, and get to work. If you need to work out, go to bed with your workout clothes on or leave everything, shoes included, right next to your bed so that you don’t allow your brain to talk you out of what it is you need to do.2. Change your environment. Working from home can be one of the hardest things to do when you are lacking motivation. Change your environment; go to a hotel or coffee shop and take your laptop to work there. It is far too easy to get caught in a meaningless task or turn on your TV and get sucked into “House of Cards.”3. Stop social media from distracting you. Don’t check your cell phone for 40 minutes and turn off email notifications, social media notifications, and definitely turn off your TV.4. Don’t focus on the end goal. Focusing on the end goal can leave you unmotivated—especially when you have absolutely no idea how you are going to get there. Instead, focus on two or three small actions you can take today that will move you towards the end goal.5. Don’t have a never ending to-do list. Focus only on two or three tasks you can quickly accomplish. You will significantly increase your energy and motivation for that day. More importantly, you will go to bed with a sense of accomplishment and that you have had a good day, which will lead you to wake up the next day feeling confident and motivated to accomplish more things.6. Be realistic. If you decide you want to accomplish 10 things in one day, you will set yourself up for failure. It is far better to set yourself three tasks for the day and to aim to accomplish them all by noon, and then decide to accomplish one or two more things in the afternoon. That is far more satisfying and achievable.7. Be a nice coach to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for not being motivated. Being harsh and calling yourself lazy tells your brain to focus on all the negative things on which you shouldn’t focus. Instead, close your eyes for two or three minutes, breathe in through your nose and out your mouth, and tell yourself, “It feels great working on this project and I can’t believe how easy it was.” By re-focusing your mind on positive feelings, you are programing yourself to create that reality.8. Pat yourself on the back for tasks you accomplish each day. We are all wired to enjoy positive reinforcement, so when you accomplish one of the tasks you have set yourself for the day, congratulate yourself on taking action and moving your projects forward. Learn more about my projects here: http://bit.ly/IMDBDouglasTaurelYoutube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCez-sSqIrowC5pxQrth8X3AFacebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DouglasTaurel/Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/DouglasTaurel/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dtaurel/

How to Realistically Accomplish Your Goals

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There are times when we don’t feel like we have the motivation or the energy to get the things done that we need to get done. The way you find energy and motivation on the days that your lagging is to take immediate action. Taking action, and finishing a task (no matter how small), will give you a sense of accomplishment.

It can be as easy as making a phone call or sending an email or making your bed. It could be organizing all of your emails so that you can feel less overwhelmed. Once you feel a sense of accomplishment, you begin to feel motivated to get more things done. Success will lead to more success. 

So how can you find the energy to accomplish your career goals?

1. Put yourself in situations that will help you get motivated. If you need to do some writing tomorrow before you go to bed, leave your laptop on and open with a cup of cold coffee on your desk so that you can simply wake up, drink the coffee, and get to work. If you need to work out, go to bed with your workout clothes on or leave everything, shoes included, right next to your bed so that you don’t allow your brain to talk you out of what it is you need to do.

2. Change your environment. Working from home can be one of the hardest things to do when you are lacking motivation. Change your environment; go to a hotel or coffee shop and take your laptop to work there. It is far too easy to get caught in a meaningless task or turn on your TV and get sucked into “House of Cards.” 

3. Stop social media from distracting you. Don’t check your cell phone for 40 minutes and turn off email notifications, social media notifications, and definitely turn off your TV.

4. Don’t focus on the end goal. Focusing on the end goal can leave you unmotivated—especially when you have absolutely no idea how you are going to get there. Instead, focus on two or three small actions you can take today that will move you towards the end goal. 

5. Don’t have a never ending to-do list. Focus only on two or three tasks you can quickly accomplish. You will significantly increase your energy and motivation for that day. More importantly, you will go to bed with a sense of accomplishment and that you have had a good day, which will lead you to wake up the next day feeling confident and motivated to accomplish more things.

6. Be realistic. If you decide you want to accomplish 10 things in one day, you will set yourself up for failure. It is far better to set yourself three tasks for the day and to aim to accomplish them all by noon, and then decide to accomplish one or two more things in the afternoon. That is far more satisfying and achievable. 

7. Be a nice coach to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for not being motivated. Being harsh and calling yourself lazy tells your brain to focus on all the negative things on which you shouldn’t focus. Instead, close your eyes for two or three minutes, breathe in through your nose and out your mouth, and tell yourself, “It feels great working on this project and I can’t believe how easy it was.” By re-focusing your mind on positive feelings, you are programing yourself to create that reality.

8. Pat yourself on the back for tasks you accomplish each day. We are all wired to enjoy positive reinforcement, so when you accomplish one of the tasks you have set yourself for the day, congratulate yourself on taking action and moving your projects forward.

Control Your Career by Controlling Your Calendar

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Controlling your calendar is controlling your time, and since time is your most precious commodity, when you manage your calendar, you stay in control of your life and your career. Managing your calendar will allow you to focus your time and energy on what it is you want and need to get done as an actor. You will squeeze the most productivity out of yourself and your day.

Once you decide on what tasks, goals, or projects you want to work on, schedule those tasks into your calendar for the day, week, and month, and be disciplined in sticking to them. Write them into your calendar as you would an appointment or audition. Break down tasks into 30-minute or one or two-hour chunks so that you can achieve them. 

Focus on the tasks that are critical, and understand which ones are time sensitive and which ones you simply enjoy. Plan them into your day accordingly, making sure you are getting some time to focus on what you really enjoy and what makes you tick. Be realistic. Understand what appointments and tasks you have planned for the day and don’t over schedule. 

It is a big mistake to wake up in the morning and schedule your day ahead for the first time over coffee. Plan ahead. Like any CEO or company, their days, weeks, and months are scheduled by their assistant for maximum productivity. You need to be your own assistant and be disciplined in scheduling your calendar. If you don’t, it is more likely that you will feel out of control and stressed about the things you need to get done because you are constantly reacting to what is coming at you. 

Schedule less in the day so that you can have the energy to accomplish more in the week and methodically complete all of your goals. Success breeds success, so if you can complete the tasks you have planned for the day, you are more likely to be motivated to keep working on the ones you have planned for tomorrow.

Once you have set yourself up for a productive day, work through the items. And once you have finished your tasks for the day, relax and reward yourself for your work. Finishing your tasks doesn’t mean you need to find more tasks to do so that you keep working like a robot. When you don’t rest and reward yourself, you will never feel like you’re resting, and you will feel like you aways need to be working. It’s a horrible and vicious cycle to be in and it leads to feeling overwhelmed and out of control. Draw your lines clearly as to determine when you are working and when you are resting. 

If something comes up that is not in your calendar, do not work on it now. Schedule it for another day in the week. Obviously if it is an audition, you have to make that a priority, but then you move what you are going to work on for that day to another day in the week. By keeping the tasks as appointments on your calendar, it is very easy to move them to another day and to block the appropriate time for them. 

In order for you to have the most impact, schedule and control your calendar and make it your most critical action on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even inter-daily, basis.

https://twitter.com/Backstage/status/711130246171463681 

Actors: It's a big mistake to wake up in the morning—and have no schedule for the day!Posted by Backstage on Friday, March 18, 2016

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How to Make the Most Interesting Choice in a Scene

As two of my former acting teachers, Jonathan Silverstein and Carl Forsman, used to suggest: Finding the positive choice in a scene is the most helpful and interesting choice you can make. Always look for the agreement in the scene; it wins the day. 

It is always more dramatic if you need, or use, the other actor in the scene. Use them to help you win the agreement that would best help your character achieve his needs.

As actors, we like playing the pain in the scene, we like to suffer, and I’m as guilty of this as anyone. However, what helps the scene the most, and us of course, is when we try to solve the problem in the scene. Given the option, most actors will pick fighting on stage because it’s easier and less vulnerable. Loving is always harder and more vulnerable in life, so why should it not be for the stage?

The moment you work for the agreement in the sceneyou give yourself an objective—something to work towards. You begin to use yourself and your imagination in the scene. You almost have to because now you’re working towards the goal and not playing a general mood or emotional state.

It’s a much stronger choice when you work hard for the friendship in the scene, even when it’s apparent that the two characters hate each other. Remember, it’s useless to argue for the sake of arguing. As in life and on stage, you always get more with sugar that you do with vinegar.

It’s a more interesting choice, and scene, if:

  • A con man is trying to befriend an officer with charm instead of trying to be tough and mean.
  • A wife, whose husband has left her for a younger women, behaves sweetly and kindly towards him instead of yelling and being angry.
  • Two lonely and depressed people act as if they are enjoying each other’s company because they want to stop feeling lonely, rather than acting lonely and depressed.

What a lot of us will want to do is play the end in the scene at the beginning so that we can show we are “acting” in the scene. Instead, play the opposite in the scene and look for the conflict or problem and try to solve it. 

On camera, this is even more critical that you look for the agreement in the scene and don’t play the end the whole way through. It ruins the pictures in the story and makes it difficult to edit. You have to see a change in the relationship in the scene and you do that though the pictures you create. 

All scenes have to have a change, and if you play the end of the scene at the beginning, you don’t have that change. Playing the love in the scene, looking for the agreement, helps you create that dramatic transition in the scene, and on camera, gives editors and the director something to cut and edit. 

Don’t look for the fight. Next time you get a scene where the two characters are either yelling at each other, don’t go for the obvious choice (hate and anger). Instead, look for the love between the characters. Try to get the agreement from the other actor you’re in trouble with. 

Here are two questions you can use to help you win your next scene:What would success look like for me in the scene? Then, how can I achieve that success? Then use yourself as you would in real life to try to win that objective. Remember, you get more with sugar than you do with vinegar. 

https://twitter.com/RPRTheater/status/698260979067400192

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Most Powerful Question an Actor Can Ask

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As children, we’re always asking, “Why?” We are curious, we investigate, and we naturally want to know why. However for some reason as adults, we lose the urge to ask why. We know what we do and who we are, but we do not fully know why we do something. The most powerful question you can ask yourself to help motivate you and drive you to always getting things done, is to know why you do something. You should almost be a little obsessed about it.
Knowing why you do something gives you the purpose to get out of bed early in the morning, to stay up late when you need to, and not quit on your goals. It is the most powerful tool for your success. When we know why we do something, we can overcome all obstacles and challenges that face us. When we don’t know why we do something, we lose our will power.
Take New Year’s resolutions as an example. We start out with a general idea of losing weight, a goal of going to the gym every day, and after a while when things get a little tough or boring, we quit. Why? Because we never clearly define why we want to lose the weight. Wanting to lose 10 pounds is a goal; it is not why we work out, run the miles, and say no to the desserts. When you choose to work out because you are tired of how you feel and look, this becomes the why that drives you through and helps you to take the action to lose those 10 pounds.
Asking yourself, “How do I become a successful actor?” is the what we are trying to do—the goal and not the why. Instead, we need to find more of the why we are doing it, the why within ourselves that drives us to do everything in our lives. And once you know why you want to become a successful actor, that same why will help drive you to do everything else in your life.
Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Why do I want to get up early in the morning or stay up late to accomplish something?
  • Why do I put my heart into a project?
  • Why do I do the jobs that are not acting that allow me to create and tell stories as an actor?
It might be a little scary to ask that big why. You may even cry or get frustrated when you work out the why, because it is that compelling and energizing. That’s OK, but it’s important that you have identified it and know it. In fact, knowing it may be so compelling that it is hard to forget it. You can then lean on it when projects become hard or when life becomes challenging. If we can find and define that inner fire—that inner drive—for ourselves, we can move ourselves to greatness, and most importantly, find immense satisfaction in everything that we do.
When you’re tired and it’s 5 a.m. and you need to get up in the morning, what is more compelling:
I want to become a successful actor. 
or 
I am going to prove to myself that I can be what others said was impossible!
Only you can answer your why, but it’s worth the time and energy to figure that why out. Once you know, you will find the strength to take on risks, move your life forward, and stay driven to accomplish all your dreams.
 
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” —German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche
 
 
 
 
 
Tweet me @DouglasTaurel with your questions. 
 

3 Tips for Being a Successful Actor at Any Age

3 Tips for Being a Successful Actor at Any Age

If you’re good at your craft and really focused on what you want, I don’t think your age matters. It may be a bit harder in some areas, sure, but that is nothing new in our business. We all have our challenges, but I truly believe that the key to success is understanding how to look at your career with an optimistic and “what could be possible” lens. It’s true with everything in life and acting is no different, whatever age you are.

What is critical though is that you really make sure your whole heart is in it, because it will take money, a lot of dedication, and a lot of sacrifice. This business has many rewards, but it is not for the faint of heart. Projects will come up that could move your career forward and you will have to choose them instead of going out of town, going to a ball game, or a weekend with family. You can have a life, of course, but you are going to need footage, experience, training, and résumé building, and these projects might be the work you need in order to get that first big booking.

I believe one of the hardest hurdles to someone entering the acting world at any age, but particularly at an older age, will be changing a life that is not built around the business to all of sudden being flexible around the business. Success in this business is very, very inconvenient. It will come when you are about to go out of town, are already out of town, when you’re tired, or when you simply don’t have the time because the rest of your life has gotten in the way. You will need to have the discipline and heart to say, “This is what I want and I need to sacrifice so that I can do this class, project, short film, etc…”

But if you are willing to make the sacrifice and work your butt off then you can have a career as an actor.

Here’s how to be a successful actor, regardless of your age:

1. Get laser-focused on what it is you want! If you want to do TV then focus on that and don’t take on projects that are out of that wheelhouse. The same goes for theater or film. You don’t want to waste any time dabbling in areas you don’t really have your heart in. Focus, focus, and focus.

2. Ignore all naysayers and the people who tell you can’t. When they say no, you say yes.

3. Be very, very good! The competition has years on you, so when you get back in the water or get in the water for the first time, be ready to swim like an Olympic swimmer. Practice, practice, and practice as much as you can, because your opportunity will come and you want to make sure you hit the ball out of the park so that luck will be on your side.

Preparation plus opportunity equals luck!

Break a leg!

“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.” —Arnold Schwarzenegger


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How to Handle Setbacks

Setbacks happen, and yes they suck, but they are as much part of our business as they are a part of life. From the very beginning of our existence, failure is at our doorsteps. As a toddler, you have to fall first before you can walk. It is how life strengthens and teaches us how to overcome.

Your setbacks and failures don’t define you, but how you handle them does. Get into the habit of always seeing everything as an opportunity to grow and get better. Individuals with a growth mindset find setbacks motivating, informative, and it helps them wake up. The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. Having a growth mindset when you encounter your setbacks determines if you will overcome them and flourish, or if you will be overrun by them.

Think of your setback not as I am a failure but as I failed at this and now I can do what I need to get better. Think of your challenges not as I can’t do this, but as How can I learn to do this? Projects won’t turn out the way you wanted them to, you will have personal setbacks (I have had them), but these setbacks are not because you are a failure but because they are part of a bigger journey of you becoming the champion you want to be. It takes guts and determination to overcome and win. Here a few examples of theater artist overcoming setbacks:

Padraic Lillis, the Farm Theater: “In the early stage of the Farm Theater, I had doubts about whether I was equipped to deliver the goals I had set but I quickly realized I could create opportunities for the early career artist. That was really energizing. It turns out that the project is benefiting many more future artists than the original goal ever would have.”

Francisco Solorzano, Barefoot Theater Company: “The biggest setback when starting out was realizing the amount of hard work it truly takes to build and maintain a productive ensemble that respects and supports each other, individually and collectively…we’ve been able to grow and flourish into a 15-year-old, bi-coastal theater and film company by understanding we needed to become really good at staying focused on the work, and how to nourish and protect the process it takes to create that work.”

Erin Cronican, Seeing Place Theater: “There are so many setbacks when doing something that others think are impossible! We have faced many detractors from major reviewers who have said that they will never review a ‘revival’ done by an indie company, to some fellow artists who have said, ‘Who do you think you are to presume that you can do anything with these works that others haven’t?’ The key for us has been to stay true to our mission, no matter what comes our way. If you have the passion, resources, and moxie, you should explore that mission as far as it can go, because some of the greatest work has been created in adversity. This weekend we are celebrating our five-year anniversary as a theater company.”

Keep swinging for the fences and keep stepping up to the plate knowing that when you swing for the fences, you will miss at times and you will have setbacks. Both Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth had more strikeouts than home runs, but when they finally connected, they hit home runs.

And don’t forget the greatest example of all: Michael Jordan was cut from the high school varsity team, wasn’t recruited by the college he wanted, and wasn’t drafted by the first two NBA teams that could have chosen him. He became the greater athlete of our era.

Your setbacks and failures don’t define you, but how you handle them does!

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Move Your Career Forward with Readings

Getting involved and saying yes to readings is one thing you can do right now to help boost your acting career. This is not new wisdom, but something that had taken me some time to fully understand and take to heart—despite hearing it a long time ago from my good friend and mentor Brian O’Neil.

Going to readings and saying yes to a reading, no matter how small, gets you working. However, more importantly, it helps introduce your craft to other artists who might want to use you for one of their projects or a friend’s project. As the old saying goes “Work begets work!” This is really how you start building your résumé, your networks, and your career.
If you are ever find yourself thinking that a reading at someone’s apartment or a small theater in New Jersey is a waste of time, think again. It is not! In our business, there is absolutely nothing that is a waste of time; you never know what will open what door for you.
For my own career, I got involved with a small theater group many years ago by going to its readings. I then wrote to the director and let him know that if I could ever take part in one of the readings, I would love to be considered. He said yes and pulled me into a small reading at the his apartment. I took the opportunity seriously and worked hard on the role. The next invitation was to another project by the director—but this time it was at Cherry Lane Theatre. From this project, I have been invited onto other projects many times by actors and directors in the Company. One of the producers in the company referred me to a writer who had a project that was being produced at Playwrights Horizon and asked if I would take a small part in the project. And if I had the time and space, I’d share countless other opportunities that have boosted my career by going and saying yes to readings.
Here are two tips to help you get involved in readings and boost your career.
1. Write to the directors you have worked with or would like to work with. Make sure you send a sincere email saying that you would love to take part and help them with any small role in one of their upcoming readings. Why do you want to say small? I believe that this implies that you don’t want to be the star of their project, but simply that you want to work as an actor and to help them. You are showing them that you understand your place in the pecking order. Believe me, you will get offered leads later.
2. If you are in a small market or just starting out, set up your own readings and invite actors and directors to them. I can guarantee you that another project will come from this event and it will help to grow your career.
Remember, this is what luck is—being ready and putting yourself out there so that when opportunity comes knocking, you are the lucky one.
“The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself” - Douglas MacArthurRead more of my Backstage ArticlesRead more on How to Achieve More with Less!Read more about me on IMDB

How to Gain More Confidence


Confidence can feel like such an elusive feeling: “I want to be and feel more confident,” “If only I could have more confidence I would be able to do x and y,” or “If I could just stop feeling so scared I would try x and y.” Feeling confident is so critical for us as actors, for every aspect of our careers, but especially during agent interviews and auditions. 
Your physical posture determines how you feel, how you talk to yourself (either positively or negatively), but more importantly, how the world relates to you and ultimately, how your life unfolds. 
When we stand upright, shoulders back and with our heads held up high—what psychologists call a power pose—we release more testosterone (true for both men and women). Testosterone is the hormone that regulates dominance and assertiveness. When we have our heads down and our shoulders rounded such as in a hunch position, we release more cortisol, the stress hormone.
Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School, performed an experiment where subjects adopted either a high or low power pose in a real-world situation applying for a job. Subjects who adopted high power poses before the interview not only were chosen as viable candidates, but were also evaluated much more positively overall.  Low power posers were judged as not suitable.
Even more fascinating was that people who put themselves in power poses for two minutes had an increase in testosterone of 20 percent, a decrease in cortisol of 20 percent and 86 percent of the group was more likely to take risks. The group that took a low power pose for two minutes showed a decrease in testosterone of 10 percent and an increase in cortisol of 15 percent, and only 60 percent of the group were likely to take risks.
Based on this, I offer two tips that will increase your confidence:
1. When you go to a meeting or an audition, don’t check your cell phone or iPad. Notice the body position you are in when you’re checking your devices: rounded shoulders, bent head. You are releasing more cortisol and placing yourself in a weaker position!
2. Go into the meeting with your chin high and your chest up as if you had a cape on like a super hero, and with a genuine smile. Hold this position for at least two minutes before you go in. Notice not only how confident you begin to feel but also how others respond to you. Put yourself in a stronger position!

The body changes the mind, the mind changes behavior, behavior changes outcomes.” —Amy Cuddy 










6 Ways to Think More Positively

 6 Ways to Think More Positively

It is easy as an actor to get negative—to only focus on the auditions we didn't book, should have booked, where we feel our careers should be now. However, this type of thinking only hinders our creative spirits and success. When you focus on what is positive and speak kindly to and of yourself, you change how your mind works.

Thinking negatively and having a consistent and negative internal monologue running in your head is a normal way of thinking, but focusing on positive experiences, images, and creating a positive internal monologue in your mind is an extraordinary way of thinking. And all creative success come from an extraordinary way of thinking.

The mind is a muscle, and like any other muscle it needs repetitive training in order to get stronger. The more we use certain parts of our minds with what we think about, the stronger they become and the more influence those parts of the brain have.

Thoughts equal actions. Actions equal behavior. Behavior equals your character. You have to transform those thoughts that have not been helping you and discover new thoughts that will help you. Create a better of view of yourself so that you can build and become the person you want to be. Your view of yourself will determine who you end up becoming and the things you end up accomplishing.

Visualize every day who you want to be and the success you want to create in bright colors and keep that image dead center in your mind’s eye. Focusing on this movie starts to create a better view of yourself and helps you focus on where your thoughts should be and not where you don’t want them to go.

How to rewire your brain and think more positively:

1. See great moments in your life in bright color and visualize them on a huge screen in front of you, almost as if you are watching them in IMAX. They will feed your confidence when you begin to doubt yourself.

2. See your negative experiences in black and white, and really small and far away, almost as if you have to squint to look at them. This will disassociate them from you. 
3. Have a growth mindset and create a belief that failure doesn’t really exist. Failure is only a learning experience that you learn and grow from. All great performers learn from their mistakes. 
4. Don’t criticize yourself. Instead speak to yourself as a kind coach and tell yourself to take action. Taking a simple action towards something you fear builds your confidence. 
5. Don’t worry about what others might think. Instead focus only on what you want to happen. 
6. And finally, what I feel is most important, is to be grateful for the things you want to accomplish in your life as if they have already happened. If you give thanks to them, they always come in time. But you must believe and give thanks for those dreams.


“All people dream, but not all equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make them possible.” —T. E. Lawrence

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8 Health Tips for Feeling and Performing Your Best

Fitness Tips for Actors

Learning how to take care of your body as a performer can be a genuine challenge. Late night shoots, running to auditions, back to work then to acting class or another audition can disrupt anyone’s routine and health. But making the effort of taking care of yourself by choosing the right foods, exercising, drinking enough water, thinking positively, and getting enough sleep can have a profound change on your emotional and psychological state as a performer.

We should put a high value on understanding how important stamina is for our careers. Long days on the set, rehearsals, and auditioning require huge amounts of stamina. To be the best performer you can possibly be, you need to be in the best shape possible. And just in case you are defining this as being super thin, don’t. Being fit means being flexible, strong, and having high, high amounts of energy and stamina for the roles you are pursuing—and the ability to handle all of the stress that comes from pursuing a rewarding but challenging career as a performer.

The great the Estelle Parsons is a recent inspiration for all of us. If you saw the play “August: Osage County” you know how physical the play and the role of the grandmother was. At 81, she replaced the lead actor at 68 who cited she needed to leave the production because of exhaustion. A 90-minute workout of going up and down stairs of a 3-hour play. Parsons cites that she hardly ever drinks, works out every day by doing yoga and lifting weights, and goes on 30-minute bike rides two or three days a week.

Casting directors and producers can see when you are not eating well, sleeping well, or exercising. The body shows it. You need to train and have your body ready before the play starts, before you begin shooting the movie—and not once you get the role. By then, it is too late. I had the opportunity of studying with Alec Baldwin for a few summers and something he would always kindly remind us was that the business of acting is not hard but damn hard, and in order to succeed you have take care of every inch of your body as a performer.

Here are 8 important tips for performing and feeling your best.

1. Eat nutrient-dense foods. Eat high quality protein, chicken, fish, and carbohydrates. Yes carbohydrates, like brown rice, sweet potatoes, veggies, and some fruit in moderation. Your body needs the carbohydrates for energy—don’t forget that your brain functions on sugar. Low-carb diets make it hard to think and keep your emotional state positive.

2. Eat the right carbohydrates at the right time. Eat the higher complex carbs like steel cut oatmeal, brown rice, and sweet potatoes before 3 or 4 p.m. and then switch to lower calorie carbohydrates—broccoli, spinach, squash—later towards the day.

3. Drink water. Good hydration improves your skin, appearance and digestion. And good digestion keeps weight off. Add lemon to your water to help your body eliminate toxins.

4. Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast in the morning helps your body focus throughout the day and also reduces cravings for bad food. The higher in protein and fat your breakfast is, the more mental and physical energy you will have. Greek yogurt with nuts, or two whole eggs with almonds or cashews (any nut is fine except for peanuts). And if you are in a crunch for time: a whey protein isolate or plant-based protein mixed with almond milk and a banana.

5. No junk for breakfast. Like starchy bagels and muffins. Starch is pretty high in sugar and will crash your energy stores later in the day and make weight gain much easier due to what it does to your hormones.

6. Carry snacks. Carrying snacks helps keep your blood sugar even. You should eat something high in quality and low in quantity every 3–4 hours. Low blood sugar levels completely destroy your emotional state and your stamina goes right out the window. Nuts are an easy snack to carry (except peanuts) and they raise acetylcholine in the brain which make you feel mentally strong and think clearer. A can of tuna in oil—which is full of Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain with depression and OCD—organic protein bars like KIND bars, and of course the easiest thing to carry is apples.

7. Move your body. The most important thing is to move your body at least 30 minutes a day, minimum. Choosing which exercise can seem overwhelming but if you just start moving your body it will help give you momentum. And once you get in a rhythm, you can choose a mode that is more specific for what you need. Exercising puts you in a positive state of mind and makes you more proactive.

8. Meditate. Meditation helps you with stress. Don’t know how to meditate or find it to hard? Just sit somewhere quiet for five minutes every day. You will be amazed by the positive response it has for your mental and physical state. The better you feel, the more you want to accomplish.

When lost, remember this: Live clean, train hard, get rid of crap, have a positive inner voice and you will have a much better body.

“Actors are athletes of the heart.” —Antonin Artaud

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