Many of my convos with actors and other showbiz creatives lately have centered around production coming back, so much casting going on, all the momentum building… and feeling rusty as hell.
Whether we’re doing 1:1 coaching, meeting in a mastermind, or doing one of my bigger course Zoom sessions, it seems the topic is a popular one. So let’s break this down.
If you’ve been with me a while, you may have bumped into “Dichotomy Required” (a piece I wrote almost exactly 12 years ago).
You must be vulnerable so that you can freely access your emotions, yet hard-shelled enough to deal with the criticism, rejection, and exhaustion of pursuing this career.
You must care enough about a role to prepare with gusto and have confidence in the product you’re offering up, but care so little that it’s easy to forget you were on avail, had a pin in you, or booked the gig before the money fell out or they cut the role.
You must be both creative and business-minded and know when to switch from one to the other, as creatives scare the bejeezus out of suits, but people who don’t know how to negotiate because they’re so busy dreaming get eaten alive in this town.
You must know how to spin the projects you have coming up without stealing focus from those you’re promoting right now, your enthusiasm for the latter having been at its peak months or years before you’re being asked to give good mic on the red carpet.
You must be encouraged by love and adoration from the fanbase you worked so hard to create, but not so tied up in whether anyone gives a crap about what you’re doing that you give a crap about the hate some will spew, the more high-profile you become.
You must be able to hear endless advice about “how this works” and both take the advice that will help you and throw away the advice that doesn’t apply, wouldn’t help, or simply isn’t right for you right now.
No wonder some people say we’re crazy.
Not only is dichotomy required, we actually have to be in a state of readiness — like an athlete on the bench, always ready to be put in the game — warmed up, feeling powerful, aware of all the potential plays we could be required to run out there on the field, living in the POTENTIAL for what may never even happen.
We have to be relaxed. Present. Not anxious. Not agitated. Not pissed that we’re not yet in the game. Not resentful about someone else getting called off the bench first. Instead, fully aware that ours is a relationship business and that edginess can read as something uncastable.
Low-key hostile? Not good.
I’d love to know: How are you staying READY? Workouts with fellow actors? Ongoing craft classes? Self-taping challenges?
And: How are you staying RELAXED? Meditation? Breathwork? EFT tapping?
Share in the comments just below. Inspire me with your creativity here! 🙂
I’m always amazed by how brilliant y’all are.
So much love flowing your way,
Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!
Hi Bonnie- So true about the this and that dichotomy.. To deal, I stay true to myself and listen to my inner voice, my instinct. I am totally into wellness, mindset, self-care every day. Affirmations, listening, watching, learning from people I connect with and like. I am currently taking a 3 week chakra class with Angela Rauscher who generates only positive energy. We do 1 thing every day- even just writing for 5 mins, massaging our eye area, paying attention to how our feet are grounded with the earth- tons of things that don’t take up alot of time. For acting I have consistenly been studying non-stop for 3 years. I just finished a class with NY CD Mel Mack – Book the Audition Room. She’s great – warm and helpful. She has a technique of what’s called “thoughts” where we 1st say the thought out loud before the line. Then we keep changing the thoughts. We rehearsed 5x a week with the other 5 students who now I consider lifelong friends. I am creative every day and post on IG and FB @srsartist. I simply want to make people feel better- that’s it. There are so many wonderful people like you and honestly I want to learn from everyone. It’s a buffet of brilliance. Thank you for all you do and keeping it REAL! With gratitude, Sharon Speer
Buffet of brilliance indeed! 🙂 Love your list of practices, Sharon. Thank you so much for sharing them! You’re a lighthouse. 🙂
LOVE this, Bonnie! I am staying ready by acting every day. I pick random sides from showfax, break down the scene, read through it, and that’s just my baseline criteria (as you taught me!). For bonus points I can self-tape if I choose, but usually it’s just to stay nimble, so that if I get an audition, there’s no gear-shift. I’m already in the lane.
To stay relaxed, I am meditating and find the wind-down ritual I’ve chosen (tech turn-off at 10:30PM and reading a book about acting before bed) to be incredibly restful and promotes awesome sleep for me! I like to think that my mind is also integrating what it’s learned through the day with that little extra space away from stimulus & screens, where it can focus on the craft.
I love your Bon Blasts!!
Aaah! I know you won’t see this because I’m replying after your tech turn-off. (LOVE that boundary!!! Amazing!) I’ve been trying to wean myself off screens by doing more physical book reading. Even puzzles in book form vs. apps. Bit by bit!!
Thank you for this share, Brigid. You rock!
Love this! I’m staying ready with private coaching’s, ongoing VO class, and creating my own content. Launching at 85% when I update my footage next week.
To stay relaxed I meditate every morning. I also apply EFT during moments I need to reconnect and calm my amygdala.
The work is never done and it’s a daily process so even in the micro keep the needle moving forward.
Rock on! Love this balance of ready + relaxed, Aaron. Thank you! And I’m so excited about your new footage!!
Actually, in the last few days, I haven’t been staying ready. At all. I got a great audition, did well with it and am waiting, but in the interim, I haven’t been doing the work of what I do most of the other time: continue with Howard Fine online classes, write, wholeheartedly praise others. And the result has been evident: I got impatient, rage-filled and resentful at constantly not being picked when I’ve put forth my best effort. (It’s so easy to think “What did I do wrong?”–Wrong question. You can do a perfect audition, knock it out of the park and still not get the part for something that has nothing to do with you.)
It’s scary. I started to lose my belief.
Why? Why didn’t I do what I know to do: let that audition go, no matter how promising. Turn it over to God and let Him handle it. Use the materials and knowledge I ALREADY HAVE.
The sticky bit in doing the work is the DOING part. Sometimes you get in a funk and want to stay there awhile. Just don’t hurt anybody else, maybe keep it to yourself, let the funk have its say for a minute…and then get over it, past it, through it, escort it from the premises or throw it out. Whatever it takes. Don’t let it put down roots and eat everything in the kitchen.
Use your tools. This was not your last audition. You do not know everything about acting. You have not yet become the actor you will be in five years. You’ve barely got into the foothills of a mountain.
Forgive yourself and then remember you’re just human.
Dry the tears.
Return to faith. Believe and trust again.
How am I staying ready?
I’m getting back up.
Wow…inspring post Sean.
It is one thing to say, I want to be an actor….but it is certainly another thing to actually commit to it and do the work you need to do. Showing up for yourself is no easy task… over and over, being judged and facing constant criticism, has to be exhausting for any human being.
But I always think, creatives don’t get to choose their profession, It chooses them.
And while I am typing this I hear Eminem’s “Lose Yourself’….
“Look….if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment…..would you capture it, or knee let it slip?”
Not at all a coincidence. Keep the faith!
You’re awesome, Donna. You too, Sean! Keep going!!
Thank you, Bonnie and Donna!
Keep on getting back up, Sean 💪
We often circle back to the Jacob A. Riis quote: “When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”
Who’s not to say your now at your ninety-ninth blow?
By the way, I do get picked every once in awhile. And I thank God for that. 🙂
Hello Fabulous Bonnie!
I’d like to share info about the currently free pilates classes given twice a week through The Episcopal Actors Guild (EAG) in New York xia zoom. The classes are gentle & exercises can be modified if need be. If you don’t know EAG, ithey’re wonderfully supportive organization:
You can find also find EAG on facebook.
Stay safe & sound.⚘💜
So thoughtful. Thank you, Alyxx!