One of the most important elements to success in this industry is endurance. You’ve got to outlast, outplay, outwit, outstay everyone else, for one. And secondly, you’ve got to keep at it because, well, it takes a while to build up a reputation as a professional whose work is worth paying for, over and over again.
While some folks shake a raised fist at the ebbs and flows to the amount of work going on in town at any given time, I’d like to recommend getting in tune with those shifts in the tide. Because if you can time your recharging sessions with the “downtime” in the industry, you can be that much more ready to kick butt when things pick up again.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, since everyone knows the second you book a nonrefundable vacation ticket, you’re going to be put on avail for a major class-A network national. Once you confirm your lift tickets, you’re told there’s a pin in you for a series you thought died on the vine.
But that’s okay, right? I mean, if scheduling your life — and the downtime you need to recharge — actually creates more work for you, that’s cool too, yeah? Yeah. I thought so.
Still, there are some somewhat predictable “seasons” to this business, and if you can choose to scoot out of town for a little bit (even just two days a half-day’s drive away) when no one will really care, that’s a great way to recharge. And recharging has great value.
It reminds you that there’s more to life than scouring the breakdowns, clicking submit a dozen times, refocusing your target list, doing drop-offs, mailing submissions for upgraded representation, doing a little resumé feng shui, re-editing your demo reel, meeting with your power group, attending networking events, developing your own project to self-produce, goal-setting, class-taking, rehearsing, auditioning, workshopping, and the blessed event that is the producer session followed by actually getting on set and getting to do the work… finally!
It puts you in contact with “civilians.” (I highly recommend that you keep a few civilian friends, because their point of view can be incredibly valuable, as you try to maintain balance.) It also reminds you that life is bigger than just this crazy town and all the things we do, daily, in pursuit of the next tier jump. Most importantly, perhaps, it gives you a renewed sense of confidence when you next charge in. Because you’re coming from a place in which you’ve been recharged. You’re renewed, refreshed, restored, and ready to charge in with new energy.
Scheduling these recharging sessions is one of the nicest favors you can do for yourself. Try a getaway as pilot season ends (mid-to-late April), in the summer before midseason starts up (early-to-mid-July), and somewhere in that lovely run of weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year, when there’s a lot less going on in town. (Of course, there’s always something going on, so these are just suggestions for places you could possibly steal away a few days without too much stress.) I recommend at least one blast of two days off — totally off (which you can define for yourself, but for me it means no phone, email checked only twice per day, and no one outside of the most essential members of my team even aware I’ve gone out of town) — three or four times per year. I know we’re all workaholics, and I don’t judge anyone for choosing work over “real life” most of the time (heavens knows, that describes me most days). But I do know that we’re all better prepared to rock the opportunities we get, to handle the inevitable stresses with grace, and to enjoy the journey in a more comprehensive way when we hang up the GONE FISHIN’ sign every now and then.
How do you recharge? Comments are open below. I’d love to hear how you keep your creative fires stoked, by taking time away from fanning them all the time.
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001170.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.