I sent an email the other day that made me filled with joy. Not for its contents, but for its recipients. I realized that I was just happy that these folks welcomed me into their inboxes. That they would be excited to hear from me, even if all I had to say was, “OMG, did you SEE that nomination snub?!?” or something similarly banal.

As I was writing the email, I actually stopped and said to myself, “Oh, hey. This is a column. Because if you don’t love your audience, you are screwed!”

Here’s what I mean. Actors spend a lot of time resenting what they have to do to carve out a career as a working creative. Not every actor, of course, but so very many actors out there DO get pissed that they must showcase at “agent nights” to get meetings or do random CD workshops to be seen or perform small plays for tiny audiences or even that the casting session is running behind and there’s a parking ticket getting slapped onto their windshield while they’re trying to bring a character to life, after having been stuck in a jam-packed waiting room filled with other over-gossipy actors’ cologne.

What’s important? Taking a beat. Finding that love for your work. Remembering the joy for performing and creating and being a part of the storytelling process that drove you to commit to this career from the beginning. Staying focused on the fact that you have talent to share with the world and that these folks are part of that world. Essentially: Loving your audience.

Because if you can’t find love for the recipients of your work — the work you find so freakin’ important to give, the work that caused you to give up on a “normal life” to pursue an acting career, the work that lights your inner fire as a creative — you can’t possibly give your best. As Blake Robbins says, “Almost anyone can act well, given a perfect set of circumstances. A pro can act well regardless of the circumstances.” Your most heartfelt gift — your best work — is accessible when your heart is in it.

Disdain for anyone you encounter (due to the fact that they’re being paid to be there, you can’t penetrate the office without enduring the workshop experience, they’re the only ones who showed up for the play that all your friends said they’d attend after you spent hundreds on marketing, or the running-late-ness of the session and the huge number of folks brought in for it, or whatever) blocks your talent. Don’t block your own talent. Let it shine.

More importantly, let your talent have its best shot at shining. Love your audience. Be grateful they’re there — however “present” they may be in the moment — to receive what you’ve created. Watch ’em adjust their seats to lean in to learn more about you. It’s a beautiful thing.


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001771.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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