I love lists. Checking things off. Feeling accomplished.
I always prided myself in being a pro-active actor, I would make lists every morning, search for opportunities, send out mailings, tweet cleverly, maintain relationships, do plays and student films to stay busy, update my reel, do everything within my power to achieve my goals day in and day out- and although my hard work paid off, and I found success, somehow in my day to day life, I remained unfulfilled.
Then one day, I entertained the possibility that I could be more; that I could do more. And I began to write. From that day forward, I have been on a journey of discovery, a journey that has opened up a richer, fuller self, not just as an actor but as an artist.
Back then, the possibility of an audition could consume my entire day. First, there’d be the debate over whether to write to my managers about a role I would think I’m right for. Is it too soon? I just wrote about a different role yesterday. Maybe I should remind them I know the CD. Maybe I’ll wait an hour. Then I’d debate whether I should also ask my agent. Should I wait a day, in case something better comes up tomorrow? Maybe if I catch them right after lunch…Then I’d push the “get mail” button incessantly waiting for a response. Then I’d go look at the sides. Then I’d decide to put myself on tape. Just in case. Then I’d debate sending the tape. Finally, I’d send the tape. Then I’d push the “get mail” button incessantly waiting for a response. It was exhausting. And not in a good way.
I was doing everything that was within my control, I was a good client, I was a responsible actor, I was staying in class, I was working on my craft, I was following up with casting, I was staying active in the business side, staying informed in the business- but it wasn’t enough for me, and every day I could feel it wasn’t enough.
I would say to myself, “How can I love this job more than anything in the world and still not feel happy at the end of the day?”
But once I started writing, creating my own content, generating material- a whole new world opened up to me. What started as a side interest to fill my days, turned into a full-blown second career. Then I began to worry: how can I balance both, does it make me less of an actor?
But what I’ve come to realize is as the industry changes and the film industry democratizes, it should be not only the goal of every actor to broaden their own definition of what “actor” means- but it should be a requirement.
I am not an actor, I am an artist, and every day I am fulfilled. I spend my days bouncing from project to project, things I have in development around town, new ideas I’m working on, meetings from development executives to location scouts, from interviewing casting directors to conference calls with film commissions. And when I get an audition, it doesn’t dominate my day, it’s a part of my day. It’s a part of the larger picture of who I am. It does not define me.
To say that my life has changed dramatically since the day I first considered the possibility of being more than just an actor- would be an understatement. The pleasure, satisfaction and energy that I now derive from a full creative life is unparalleled to the world I lived in before. It has been a journey that has not only given me a richer existence both creatively and personally, but that has cycled all the way back around to inform and strengthen my acting career and craft. It is a journey that I cannot encourage other actors enough to embark on, because the rewards and potential are limitless.
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