If you weren’t an actor or [insert chosen entertainment professional title here], who would you be?
Take away the acting classes, the Casting Director workshops, the agent submissions, the cattle calls, the click and submitting, the auditions, the headshot sessions and retouching, the monologue-ing (yes, I just made that a verb). Even the time you’re not actually actively doing these things, you’re thinking about them, talking about them, otherwise being consumed by them. Strip all of that away, and what’s left?
In the absence of all the actor related “stuff”, who are you?
It’s a question that I’ve contemplated in the past, and recently, I’ve seen several friends asking the same thing of themselves.
Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t want to do anything but be an actor. That’s my dream and I can’t imagine doing anything else.” That kind of commitment and drive is admirable – and arguably necessary – to succeed in this industry. Keep the commitment, it will ultimately serve you.
But consider this; How is it serving your craft, your ability to portray layered and complex human beings, in myriad of life scenarios and circumstances when you live in a “Hollywood Bubble”? (Or, a “New York Actor Bubble”, etc). And, how does it leave you feeling when nothing much is happening on the acting front? We all have periods in our career where things feel stagnant, or we can’t seem to get a break, and when we have little else going on in our life besides our career, this can be difficult, even devastating for some. (This rings bells for me right now, as I’m in a holding pattern until the funds have been raised so I can finally finish my first film.)
I’ve heard many casting directors talk about how they want a human being, not an actor, to walk into the room. So, who are you, human? What do you stand for? What makes you cry? Who would you die for? When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? And when was the last time you did anything purely for yourself that had nothing to do with your career – and didn’t feel guilty about it? What do you do outside of the acting stuff? (Going to cardio class a couple times a week doesn’t count). What communities are you involved in? Do you have any hobbies? What activities and relationships – outside of the entertainment business – make up the intricate mosaic that is you?
Your mission this week, should you choose to accept it, is to take a day off. (Calm down and take a breath, workaholic!). A whole day where you don’t think about acting, or any of the related minutia. A day to see new places, have new experiences, meet new people and enjoy new activities. A day to explore deeply who you are, as a human being, on this tiny blue planet, in the absence of all the fluff and stuff.
Find the joy in just being. And let that be enough.
Originally published at MsInTheBiz.com, June 17 2015