The bad news weighs heavy every day- climate change, immigrant children held in cages, unapologetic racism. It’s a lot.
And beyond that, you’re racing down the freeway towards your acting career at top speed, pedal to the metal. The car shakes and your hands clench the wheel in a death-grip. You’re both processing the world around you AND hell-bent on reaching your career destination. Only problem is, you’ve been driving like this for months, processing big feelings about it all, and your gaslight has been on for the last 30 miles. Your car sputters. The engine isn’t getting what it needs to take you where you want to go. You start slowing down. Momentum is the only thing that’s carrying you forward now, slower and slower. Eventually you slow to a stop, steam pouring out from underneath the hood. But even though your car isn’t moving, your right foot still pushes with all its might against the pedal. And in spite of all the signs, you have no idea why you’re not moving.
Now is the time to pull back from your myopic focus on getting ahead.
Now is the time to fill the tank. You’re a hyper-sensitive person in a tough business, and an often unforgiving world. If you don’t fill your tank, you’ll be stuck where you are forever.
But you Type A people will say, “I’m all about the hustle and I will outwork everyone till I find success. I can’t take my eye off the ball.” Hard work is admirable. Smart work builds a career.
We all accept that a phone needs charging, a car needs gas and that you need food and water to survive. Well, the same is true of your art. And now is the time to feed it so it can come back strong. But how? And with what do you feed it?
Right now your acting needs two things: Joy and Meaning. Stay with us. This is not some woo-woo, self-help philosophy. This is the practical stuff of booking work. Read on:
1. Joy. The ascent up the industry ladder is full of disappointment. There are some victories, but it’s mostly rejection, disrespect, and doubt. If all that negativity creeps into your acting work or failure becomes part of the narrative you adopt, you won’t be successful. You need to approach your work in the audition room, on set, and on stage with excitement. To be your best, the work itself has to thrill you. If you half-ass your preparation because you’re punch-drunk from rejection or doubting that you won’t be enough, you’re sunk. You push back against that negativity by finding joy in the work. And you find joy in the work by exploring the kind of work that fills you up, that gets you off, that satisfies your childlike need for play.
Ask yourself what that is. Now is the time to pursue that, to come back to the wonder of it all. That may mean that the work you find yourself doing may not seem like it’s directly related to booking a TV show. But just trust that bringing joy to your work will fortify your talent and make all your work stronger.
2. Meaning. At a certain point the art of acting was so meaningful to you that you gave yourself to acting. You felt a calling and you answered it, moved across the country or the world, and committed to pursuing it as a career. That’s powerful. And whether it was because you felt like you didn’t fit in anywhere else, because there was no place for your big feelings growing up, or the connection with an audience made you feel whole and human, etc, that calling was bigger than just fame and fortune. And now, like back then, it has to be.
Acting reminds us of our humanity. Actors are warriors of connection, fighting the forces of fear to cut through our differences and make us see ourselves in each other. It is so much bigger than booking that pilot.
And BTW, when you walk into that pilot audition with the weight of knowing why your work matters, why you have an important role in society as an actor, you walk in with power and that helps you elevate scripts and book work. No joke.
Now is the time to ask yourself why this matters. You must get clear on this. Why is your work important? Don’t know? Think harder and look deeper. You must find meaning.
If you lack the patience for refueling you will stay stuck and your frustration and resentment will grow. Your work will suffer, your career will suffer and most importantly you will deny yourself the explosive ecstasy that the work offers.
Now is the time. Stop, ask yourself what brings you joy and meaning, and then give yourself the time to practice that work and cultivate joy and meaning in you. And don’t worry- the business will be there when you’re done. And with your tank full, you’ll be able to hit top speed once again in no time. And this time you’ll cover even more ground.
Join us at The BGB Studio. Your work matters. Your acting matters. Find your BGB Class to come back to the work.