It’s 2019. A brand new year, a fresh start, a chance to recalibrate and plan ahead. A chance to give your acting career a kick in the butt and get the ball rolling.
First things first, let’s look at mindset. Talk to any working actor or celebrity and ask them how they got there. They’ll say things like “Failure just wasn’t an option for me” (Jennifer Lawrence), “I relished every audition as it was an opportunity to act” (Bryan Cranston), “Be yourself, in the most vivid possible way you can” (Meryl Streep).
Healthy mindset = successful career. Now is the time to take a look at what kind of mindset you have towards acting and your creativity. Take a pen, and write down every negative thought that crosses your mind when you think about the year ahead, and your acting career. Do you beat yourself up every waking moment for not being famous? Do you procrastinate because you figure it’s not worth trying and you know it won’t get you any results? Are you avoiding embarrassment, shame, loneliness, failure? Write all of these cyclical thoughts out, and you’ll find they become a little less intimidating. Once it’s written on paper you can see how irrational and silly some of them are! “It will never be perfect, so no point trying?” That’s one of my major evil Indy comments, which I’m STILL working with today.
Now that you’ve identified your demons, take a look at your cheerleaders. Some also call this their Inner Child, their mantra, their spirit, their god. Who or what is cheering you on? You haven’t given up yet, so what’s keeping you in the game? Now make this your focus, diminish your demons, and inflate your cheerleaders. These things take time, and everyone is different – so make sure you find what works best for you. The idea is to shift our mindset from defeatist and negative, to positive and inspiring. Where your mind goes, your career follows.
Setting realistic goals
Define what you want, and place your focus there. Not further down the track (lead roles on Netflix) but on what is right in front of you (weekly acting class, new headshots, vocal warm up, writing your own play). Setting goals that are too large, can often make you feel dispassionate and unmotivated, because it’s so far away and much too big to comprehend. Start small, and start simple. Break your goals down into smaller goals, and you’ll find them much easier to work towards. What do you need to do, and where do you need to be to set you on the right path this year? It could be as simple as Meditating on my mantra every morning for 8 minutes, or emailing a headshot photographer and getting a quote. Whatever goals you set, make sure you know you can stick to them, and then begin. Whatever can be done tomorrow, can also be done TODAY.
It’s all about Momentum
Ever noticed how you get 1 audition, and then maybe another, and then a friend emails you asking you to do their Fringe Show, and then someone else offers you a free acting class, and then your agent calls about new headshots all in one week? There are forces out there, permeating every day life. Either you can use them to your advantage, or you can stay still, and get stuck in a current of nothing, nothing, and more nothing. Get started, and the Universe will meet you halfway. Find your undercurrent, find your wave, and keep riding it.
If you feel stuck and like you’re floating in the same place right now, then make a move. Sign up to weekly acting class, put down 2x new self-tapes to add to your showreel, send some emails to Agents. And then keep making moves! One thing leads to another, but nothing leads to more nothing. Write out all your small goals and tasks that we talked about above and start there. Build momentum and do not stop.
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good, it’s the thing that makes you good”.
I’ve been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success and I am unbelievably inspired. This guy is incredible, he has noticed a series of trends amongst successful people, and he lays it all out in this book. One of those trends which really stuck with me, and I think applies to all creatives, is the 10,000 hour rule. Gladwell looks at people at the top of their field, and adds up the amount of hours they spent on their craft whilst growing up and training. He found that consistently around 10,000 hours is what is needed to become an expert in any field. A bit less, around 8,000 hours, and you were “good”. Around 5,000 and you were just “okay”. How many hours have you spent on your acting?
Get into a classroom, or make your own training schedule, and start clocking up those hours. 10,000 hours looks like 7 vocal & physical warm ups per week, 8 hours of reading per week, 6 hours of craft study, 2 hours of research, 1 hour of meditation, as well as hours and hours of getting up and performing. I think it’s time to get out your 2019 diary and start scheduling.
We talk a lot about rejection and persistence on the blog, and simply because that is a part of the job. It is IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU TO LAND EVERY SINGLE ROLE YOU AUDITION FOR. It’s near impossible to land 50% of them. Most of us, land about 10% of them if we’re doing our 10,000 hours. And for those doing zero hours, they land zero jobs. This industry is tough, but I kinda like it that way. Survival of the fittest – it means only the hardest working, and most persistent actors get to work consistently.
So rejection is apart of the job, and you can’t do anything about that. But what you can do, is get back up again, and keep trying.
I guess the main theme here is work ethic. If you don’t work for it, it won’t come. So long story short, make 2019 your b*#tch.