Something came up during our first live Zoom for the enoughness membership of Get in Gear for the Next Tier last week that was pretty *ooooh* to everyone not in on the shorthand. So much so that in explaining it later in the comments area of the course pages, I decided it’s BonBlast-worthy goodness.
So here we go. 😉
Consider this image: There is this block of marble… and you’re sculpting a career out of it.
It’s big. It’s bigger than you. It’s tall and wide and thick and heavy and, well, let’s face it… it’s massive.
At first, it’s pretty shapeless, as careers go. It’s just a mass and you’re the sculptor. And since you’ve got big chunks of marble to remove before you start seeing ANYTHING looking like the shape of the career you actually want to carve out of this thing, you use the best tool for the job: a sledgehammer.
You take a big swing with a heavy mallet and OFF flies a chunk of marble. BLAMMO! What’s my type? BLAMMO! How do I get footage? BLAMMO! How do I get an agent? BLAMMO! Where do I train? BLAMMO! When do I join the union?
Big, flying chunks you can send OFF the block early on in the crafting of your career.
But then there comes a time when you need to do more delicate work. Your sledgehammer is the wrong tool. You need a chisel. You’ve still got chunks to remove from the marble, but you need more control over the work you’re doing. You can’t send huge blocks of marble out into the air anymore.
Tink tink tink. How do I navigate a tier jump? Tink tink tink. Which of this footage is serving me anymore? Tink tink tink. Is it time to add a manager to the team? Tink tink tink. Do I need to go to Sundance even without a film screening there? Tink tink tink. Should I shore up my NO line?
And after that, there’s a moment at which even your chisel won’t do. The career is really taking shape. You can *see* it coming more fully into form. From a distance, it even looks precisely like you thought it would way back when, when you envisioned it from that massive block you started sledgehammering at first.
Ah… but you’re not at a distance, are you? You’re right up on top of this thing. And there are still changes to make. There’s still work to do.
Now it’s time for the 6000-grit sandpaper. *s-c-r-a-t-c-h* Does saying yes to this gig put my true north vision on hold for three more seasons? *s-c-r-a-t-c-h* Is this the right publicist anymore? *s-c-r-a-t-c-h* Should I be more public with my emotions about this political cause? *s-c-r-a-t-c-h* Will speaking at this event align with my brand? *s-c-r-a-t-c-h* Will this brand pivot be as powerful as I hope it will be?
Here’s what happens, though. Even as we’re doing the tiny work of sanding an edge, working really close-up and quietly, there will be moments at which we romanticize how very effective that sledgehammer once was. We get antsy. We’re sick to death of the itty-bitty work of these teeny details and we want something as MASSIVE as that moment we got the big a-ha about our logline or the WOO HOO of finally cracking into that big casting office for the first time.
So we take that antsy energy and we go back to the tool we used the longest, used the most, and used with the most ENERGY. We go grab our sledgehammer and take a big ol’ whack at a career made of marble… that is OMG so close to its intended shape… and because we’re impatient with the finesse required at this stage in crafting our sculpture… well… we risk really screwing up the thing we’ve been working on forever.
This metaphor lays out why the work — the longer you’re doing it — gets less CLEARLY results-related but has OMG soooooooo much more value and purpose for the quality of the finished product.
Be SURE you’re using the right tool for the level of work in which you’re engaged. I know the sledgehammer days were effective AF. That doesn’t mean picking that bad boy up when you get twitchy about how challenging it is to see your progress during the chisel or sandpaper stage is going to serve you.
Resist the urge to go back to the BLAMMO! days. Unless of course you’re starting over with a whole new block of marble that is. 😉
At which stage are you? What tool are you using? Comments are open just below.
Enoughness is an inside job… and sometimes you need a guide to find your way there. Let Bonnie Gillespie get you started.
Hello- how do I find out my casting bracket? I can come across very sensitive and child like on screen but I worry my facial features don’t match that innocence.
Any guidance would be useful.
Hiya Andrew. First off… do you have my book? There’s a whole chapter on this process.
If you don’t yet have Self-Management for Actors, hit the START page at this very website. There’s a section on figuring out your most castable type and brand. Read it, watch it, listen to it… there’s a lot of good stuff right there for you.
This is a great analogy. I’m at the sledgehammer stage and it feels amazing lol so I can see how one who’s been at this for a while might yearn for those earlier days of seemingly limitless growth.