Hi Bonnie,

I wanted to thank you for this week’s column on Discipline. Yes, yes, and YES!

I just visited my family during a summer trip home. Let’s begin with saying that my family has been incredibly supportive of my career choice. They paid my college tuition for NYU, even when they knew I was majoring in theatre and planned to pursue acting. However, I recently turned 30 (which I am personally thrilled about) and for the first time they asked: “So… how long are you going to keep doing this acting thing?”

I answered: “As long as I still love it.” I explained that I am pursuing this profession the only way that I can, the way that is true to me. It involves meeting people who I actually connect with and keeping lines of communication with them, not spamming every CD or agent that I’ve seen at a seminar or met in a “pay to play” class. It means staying active in my craft with play reading groups and EPAs. It means building a sustainable life that isn’t just performing so I have something to draw from and somewhere to go when I need a break. It means to keep exploring what it is to be a performer, and keep honestly pursuing things that fulfill me.

This “acting thing” isn’t something that I have to be done with ever. I’m not a dancer in danger of my body wearing out with time. There are roles for every age in the theatre and on film. This may never be my primary form of income, but it will always be my defining job description. Even though I don’t love the industry in its entirety, I know that there is still art and craft to be made. The important thing for me is that there are people out there who want to keep the experience of great performance alive. So thanks for being one of those voices.

In gratitude,
Katherine McDowell

Katherine, thank you for this lovely email. You have such a great attitude toward your life’s work and I know for a fact that’s the number one most important component to success! When I think about all the things that actors do because they think they’re supposed to hustle and because they see others spinning all these plates and juggling all these balls (about which they’re passionless, by the way), it reminds me of a favorite quote from Abraham-Hicks: “You can’t have a happy ending to an unhappy journey.” So, that you’re enjoying the journey is awesome!

I’ve written before about my relatives who would call me (as late in my life as age 37, when the only relative who would still grill me about my career choice passed away) and say, “When are you going to stop this foolishness and come home?” *sigh* Eventually, they do stop asking. 😉 But yeah, when I look at my career as an 80-year stretch of happy moments strung together, I’m blissed out about it all.

It’s only those who think there’s some big clock, ticking away, and that “this is my only shot” who really suffer in this creative career. And it’s those folks who treat every audition like it’s life or death. They’re holding onto grains of sand, hoping if they clutch hard enough, it won’t all slip through their fingers. Heck, I say, let’s build sand castles! There’s nothing we have to cling to, desperately hoping to make it. There’s just infinite material with which to play.

Keep enjoying your journey, Katherine! That’s all that matters.


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/001535.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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