Sunday, July 29, 2012

Get Serious

OK self. Let's have a chat.

What are you doing here? Are you hanging out and surviving, or are you living out a dream? Are you just another post-prosperity young American drifting through economic hardship, or are you gaining ground and advancing on our goal of acting in feature length films, TV, and Shakespeare? Are you letting life just happen to you, or are you going to be bright and brave and beautiful and grab the bull by the horns? Are you going to blow the smoke away and DO what you're here to DO?
Why do you live here again?
Let's be real: if you're just going to work a smattering of jobs in an attempt to pay your bills and not put your entire energy every day into your acting goals, you might as well not be in New York City. If I'm just living my life, I might as well live somewhere easier and prettier and wilder, with expanses of sky and water and space. Like Tahoe, Montana, Sicily, or Galway. Remember why you didn't go that route? Remember why you're here? There was a reason. A good one.

There's a good reason you don't live here. Yet.
You are an actor.

Remember the advice given to you by an older, more experienced actor: the beginning is slow, the beginning is hard, the beginning kind of sucks. You watch friends marry and buy houses and earn livable wages. You watch the comforts and pleasure of life that you've postponed going on and thriving in their merry dance around you, and you get jealous. You want things you don't have. You feel you've maybe made a bad trade, that maybe you should take a month off the acting stuff and try to save up for a motorcycle. If you're not careful, you get bitter. You covet. Your focus swings off track and you get bogged down in pursuing contrary purposes.

But there's an easy way to avoid this. Remember the wiser actor's advice: get to the middle. Don't wallow in the beginning. Push through. Push to the middle of your career, the part where you're a well oiled machine and a passionate doer of deeds, where you audition your face off and know who you are and know what you want. 

The middle, where you keep in focus at all times that you ARE doing what you came here to do, that you ARE an actor, that you ARE closing in on parts that are right for you. The middle, where you're making that true. The middle, where your married friends with houses are stuck with mortgages and car payments and office jobs and you are not. The middle, where you are free to go to do an amazing, epic, romantic, steamy film in Brazil with Joseph Gordon Levitt if you want. Heck you could even tell him what a crush you have on him over craft services one day. Just be like, "Hey Joe, it's me the other Joe - what's up? What? What's that you say? You like chewing on matches too? Ok, let's make babies. Or not. You know, we could just hang out and work on a film together and make brilliant acting choices too...if you want...either way..."
"Hey JGL. Looking forward to our movie."

This is the middle, where you will live the rest of your life.

Get serious, self. This isn't a brief experiment. You want this life. You want this topsy turvy acting career. In fact, there is little else you want at present. You are shaping your reality - so don't forget to be intentional. You are the man behind the curtain, so to speak. If your hand sags, the whole puppet stops. Get going. Don't stop. Never quit.

Remember who you are.

Remember why you're here.
Mufasa says: "Remember who you are!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

One Thing A Day: Rest

They say you should do one thing a day for your career. Some days, I do as many as 10 things. Some days, I am uber productive, focused, relentless, passionate, and cut-throat. I submit resumes, shoot emails, make phone calls, have meetings. Some days, though, I feel like I don't manage to do even one thing. I'm trying to learn how to make every day count.

Today I am pushing through my reflexive guilt and doing something very important for my career, something I hardly ever do, something that Americans generally probably suck at...


My one thing today is to rest. To take an actual weekend day. To sleep in. To watch a movie. To wear mismatching house clothes and not brush my hair. To have a skype date or talk on the phone with my mom. To hang out somewhere with friends maybe. Or, maybe, not do any of those things. Maybe do nothing. To rest for me means to reclaim space in my mind, declutter my soul, and touch the things that make me myself, dust them off, and let them shine again.

As a New Yorker and an extremely ambitious gal, it's hard for me to justify staying at home all day. The pace of the city and the drive of my heart's desires usually thump and pulse and propel me down my stairs and onto the streets. As much as I love sitting on my couch watching "Waiting for Superman," I feel like I'm missing things when I make myself rest. However, I think it's really important that I learn how to do this now in my 20s, before my film bookings and family things have me flying all over the world or whatever. Perhaps this rest is less for my career and more for my personal pleasure, but you know? I think those two things should intertwine. Resting not only makes me healthy, it makes me strong. It will allow me to hit the ground running.

I'm making rest part of my career strategy.