Simplify

The Actors Voice
by Bonnie Gillespie
week of June 04, 2012

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001514.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive and new columns are available each Monday at Showfax.

Simplify

I’ve noticed a theme in my conversations with actor friends lately. Heck, it’s something that’s happening in my life these days too. We’re simplifying. Minimizing. Unsubscribing from a thousand email newsletters. Closing off accounts at too many social networking sites. Cutting off our overexposure to far too much noise about our creative pursuits.

I often describe my work with creatives as something that helps y’all balance the dichotomy required between being an artistic vessel and hustling to keep the business focus alive. I use the visual of The Great and Powerful Oz paired with the frantic little man behind the curtain, pulling on levers and pushing buttons, trying to keep things going as the huge head keeps everyone’s focus.

The goal is to have enough business savvy to keep that guy behind the curtain busy (and hopefully not so frantic) but never to let that focus distract you from the show you are putting on, as the actor with stories to tell. And if you get that sometimes hectic-looking situation over there behind the curtain down to a science, it just starts to hum in the background, and you don’t actually have to focus on it that dang much!

But!

Because sometimes the focus on all of the business, all of the typing, the targeting, the marketing, the submitting, the networking, the self-producing, the promoting, the pitching, the DOING OF THE STUFF can become a deafening cacophony of that kind of jazz fusion music I, personally, just do not GET, it becomes essential that you know how to unplug. That you know how to minimize. That you know how to simplify, so that you can reconnect with your artist.

Now, be sure you know the difference between simplifying so that you can focus on your art and avoiding the business side of your career because it’s tough to navigate sometimes and the work is, understandably, hard. Check in with your inner Steven Pressfield Resistance meter before going off the grid. Partner with an accountability buddy, so that you don’t go too long between moments of focus on the business side of things. (Heck, if you unplug for too long, the whole industry could change. Again. And then you’re playing catch-up.)

Remember, the whole point of learning how to master the business side of your career is so that it can get you closer to the money faster, so you can enjoy the thrill of creating and telling stories at the highest possible level, and then have PEOPLE who take care of all the details that — at first — you do have to be the one to handle.

Take a good look at the clutter in your creative life. Rank it. Start clearing out the stuff that’s getting in your way. I think you’ll be amazed at how freeing the focus of SIMPLICITY can be!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Follow Bonnie on Twitter, circle up at Google+, subscribe at YouTube, download THE WORK podcast at iTunes, or hit “like” at the Facebook. For cool weekly emails from Bon and a free MP3, opt on in. Looking for Self-Management for Actors coaching? START HERE! Yay!

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