Writing early in the morning can yield some of the most creative and productive results for your writing.
Actors Need to Create Their Own Projects
Letting go of trying to be in control and focusing on enjoying the process is the key to allowing us to feel successful, happy, and helping us overcome the bitter actor syndrome. This is true in an audition, with a project, with our careers, and even with our lives. Not being focussed on a specific result and instead focusing on taking action allows us to be relaxed and happier as actors. The more relaxed and happier you are as an actor, the more creative you will be in your work, leading to more success in your career.
It’s really hard work trying to impress other people, especially when we usually have no idea what it is they want in the first place. The irony is, they, who we are auditioning for, usually don’t know what they want until they see it. Second-guessing what a casting director, director, or producer wants is ultimately pointless. Trying to impress others will lead to resentment and bitterness.
Natalie Roy, co-founder of C.R.E.A.T.E., a workshop series designed to break artists free of limiting beliefs, said, “You are entitled to your actions but not entitled to the fruits of those actions. Can you place the value in the action? Can you say, I took this action because I’m the kind of person who enjoys taking action. We become bitter because we want control and we expect a specific result.” The bitterness comes when the desired result does not follow the action.
When we let go and only focus on the action that we are taking for our careers, not only do we overcome being bitter, but we become fulfilled as artists. Being fulfilled leads to us feeling more confident. You enter your audition far more open, creative, and present when you are fulfilled.
The actor that we most want to hang around with and who casting directors enjoy calling in is that actor who is relaxed and isn’t trying to impress because he/she is confident that he or she is enough. He/she is in the room to inspire us with his/her art. We love being around people who are confident, relaxed, and who inspire us. People ultimately want to be inspired; it touches who we are as artist and gives us power.
So, how do we become that person? By letting go. Letting go of that control stops us from taking things so personally and stops that voice in our head that tells us that we are being rejected. Rejection is something that we actors make up. It’s not actually really true. As Roy puts it, “When you don’t get an audition, you’re not actually being rejected. The industry is not saying something is wrong with you. What they are saying is that you are not right for this project.” By understanding all of this, we come across more confident.
What all of this means is that we have to have a leap of faith of letting go and trusting that what we do is enough—a leap of faith that your preparation for the audition and role is enough, that you are in the right place for your career.
A few strong suggestions to help you to let go, be happy, and overcome being bitter.
1. Meditate. Each morning for three-to-five minutes before you start your day (and definitely before you check your phone), sit quietly and tell yourself two or three great things for which you are currently grateful. One minute of mediation can be extremely powerful in starting your day in positive way.
2. Visualize. Spend a minute telling yourself what an amazing audition or day you are going to have. Visualize that your day will go exactly that way you want to go and give thanks that it did. You are sending out positive waves into the world that will reverberate positive waves back.
3. Be around positive people. Surround yourself with people who are goal-oriented, mature, optimistic, kind, and who celebrate and validate you. This includes your agent, your manager, and your acting teacher. You are an average of the people you with whom you surround yourself.
Imagine if you had Warren Buffet help you become wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, or Kevin Spacey sharing his insights with you on how to best approach a scene. Or perhaps Oprah Winfrey explaining how to conduct a successful interview. This is what a mentor can do for you; working with a mentor can transform your life.
A mentor is that one person who can guide you, help you, take you under his or her wing, and nurture your career quest. Mentoring gives us a roadmap of the actions our successful counterparts have done so that we can follow them on their path. Success leaves clues, and if you look to learn from those who are ahead of you, you can pick up on those clues. You can learn from a mentor’s mistakes and avoid making them yourself. A mentor may notice potential in you that you might not see in yourself.
When I spoke to casting director and coach Jen Rudolph of the Actor’s Green Room regarding the value of actors working with a mentor, she said, “It’s important for actors to work with a mentor because they can help you understand how your fears or beliefs might be holding you back. They take you under their wing and coach you. A lot of times what holds us back is our own stuff. A mentor can help you work through that and give you an understanding about how the business works, or what specific things you probably need to do to help yourself.” She explained to me that when she works with actors, she tries to give them a sense of empowerment more than anything else. She tries to help them find direction versus feeling lost not knowing what to do.
Look for mentors not only in a person you can talk to, but also look for stories about how those you respect became successful. I always think of Sylvester Stallone as someone who is extremely successful, and I use him as a mentor in my life. As a young actor, everyone told him to quit because of how he spoke. So what did he do? He wrote “Rocky.” Other actors I look to as mentors are those who I relate to, like Vin Diesel, Ed Burns and John Liguizamo—all who created their own paths. And so I copied them by writing and producing my own solo show, and I am now working on turning that successful show into a film.
My personal belief is that the easiest way to find a mentor is through books. The most famous and successful people in the world can be in your house. Books contain a treasure trove of tips and suggestions on how to achieve success in your life. Books are the CliffsNotes of the most successful people in the world. You may have to rewire your brain so that you see books as a golden opportunity to gain incredible knowledge. Don’t think of books as a one-time event, read it over and over to absorb the knowledge. There is no rule on how fast you need to read them. You set your own pace. Make notes in the margins and refer back to them often.
If you’re looking for a mentor of your own, here are four places to start:
- Write to someone who is at least five or 10 times ahead of you in the field in which you are trying to gain knowledge and ask them to be your mentor. They have a whole different network of contacts and connections that you don’t.
- Work with a coach or a consultant to help you understand things about the business on which you don’t have a grasp. Working with a coach as a mentor can help you reach the next level of your career faster.
- Persevere. You must persevere in your search for a mentor. You must persevere to get success in your life. If you write somebody and they don’t answer, don’t give up so easy. Keep at it. Success comes to those who are willing to persevere.
- Read a book a week. You don’t have to finish the book in a week but you should be reading a book a week on something that will help you improve your life. Books are a treasure trove of information and advice.
Derek Sivers: Weird, or just different?
Tom Hanks and Rocky Story
A great quote from TOM HANKS and the ROCKY story. It is always easy to give up but the discipline as an artist is to stubbornly believe in yourself and remind yourself WHY you do what you love to do. DON"T let anyone tell you no!"My TV show had been cancelled; nothing else had gone anywhere; some alliances I had made petered out and nothing came of them and I was looking at a long, long year ahead of me in which there was no work on the horizon, the phone wasn't ringing. I had two kids, one of them a brand-new baby, and I didn't know if I would be able to keep my house." - TOM HANKS