What Would Bonnie Say?

This week, I’m on the road (doing a panel at SXSW and several events with SAG Foundation here in Austin), and that always gets me looking through the gratitude file. 😉 Here are two awesome thank yous I wanted to share.

Hi Bonnie!

You critiqued my materials this past December and I wanted to thank you again. Your recommendations and comments made me more confident in my materials and more confident that the direction I was heading in was the right one.

I recently interviewed with an agency that I think is a great fit for my current tier, and found out today that they would like to represent me!

I wanted to send you this update because you say you like to get them from actors you’ve corresponded with, and the thank you because I remain very grateful for what you provided to me and to everyone who reads your columns and everything else you put out there!

Take care,
Erin

Erin, that’s wonderful, and I’m not surprised. Critiquing your goodies was easy because you were already doing so much right, and I love that. I also really appreciate that you — and all the actors who participate in my critiques — are putting your materials out there for ALL readers and future readers to learn from! That’s a very giving thing, and it’s one of the parts of our industry I simply adore. 🙂 The “yes, and…” of it all.

Keep rockin’ and congrats on the new agent! Keep keeping me posted. I *do* love it. 🙂

Bonnie,

I had the most revelatory moment reading your email, and I think you’ll really get a kick out of it.

To place myself, I had been working fulltime as a film and television actor in Seattle and Portland for about three years when I finally decided to pack it up and make my way down to LA. My first day here, I managed to schedule my first casting director general for the day after that.

My elation quickly gave way to abject terror as I mentally walked myself down the perilous plank of, “What the hell am I supposed to do at a CD general?!?!” I had no idea.

Not only that, but I was convinced that I had the power — in one short meeting — to bury any hopes of ever working in this city. It was to my great joy then, that I woke up the next morning (January 19th) to an email from you with the chance to learn to “Rock the Meeting in 5 Easy Steps.”

And as quickly as it came, that joy vanished when I saw that this offering was launching on February 1st, weeks after my own career doomsday. Then, in a rare moment of true serenity, I paused. “Conner,” I thought, “you must have read SMFA five times over. Every morning, between brushing your teeth and eating breakfast, you read an archived Actors Voice column. You’ve got this, baby; just go to your ninja place.”

So I went Jedi on that shit. I sat down, listed the numbers 1 through 5 on a piece of butcher paper, and imagined what you would tell me if I were getting A-listed through your course. Somehow, the mere act of asking myself, “What would Bonnie say?” enabled me to focus on what I have learned from you already and I realized that I’m far more prepared than I initially thought.

More specifically, I’m prepared as a direct product of doing my homework, and for that I have you to thank (over and over). To employ the cliché: You haven’t just fed us, you’ve taught us to fish.

This is not a way to justify not taking your class. In fact, I hope to Get A-Listed B-Gillie style as soon as I can. Nor is this to say that actorwork exists in a finite state and that I’ve finished it. As if, Poof! and I’m prepared. Done-zo! Quite the opposite; I recognize that it’s a continually evolving beach ball of mania that demands constant engagement with craft, with one’s own goals and ideals, and with the industry around you. But I’m suited up, on the field, and ready to play.

Maybe my five aren’t the exact five that you outlined, but they were strategic guideposts that allowed me to approach the task of a CD general armed with knowledge, preparation, and confidence. And, oh, how the meeting went beautifully.

This is a very long-winded way of just saying thank you. So simply (and from the heart): Thank you. You’re a rockstar and I’m already ineffably indebted to you and your work for this community. I look forward to sending you my materials quite soon.

Sincerely,
Conner Marx

I love this email so freakin’ much! Many times, I’ll get emails from actors who tell me they’ve gotten good at connecting with their “inner Bonnie” or the “Bonnie on their shoulder” or some other version of “WWBS” (what would Bonnie say) if they just stop and focus on all they’ve read from me over the years.

Awesome. That’s why it’s here. All of it. All bazilliondy words, free, searchable, archived, and even open for comments over here. I *want* y’all to be able to fish.

Both in LA before I left on this trip and just today here in Austin, I was told that my teaching style is unlike any other many actors have experienced, because I don’t try to layer anything ON the actors and teach them “my way” or create a world in which they need me to “guru them” through anything. Nope. I do the exact opposite: I peel away the layers, get to the authenticity of each actor with whom I work, and then get out of the way as fast as possible (because they’re gonna take off like a rocket).

So, it’s no accident that you were able to ninja your way into your own five steps. And you’re right. It’s totally irrelevant whether they were the same as my five. Because it’s SELF-Management for Actors, and that means everyone’s road is their own, and it’s about getting clear on what is working for YOU, while remaining professional, focused, and confident along the way.

Happy fishing, my friend. Cannot wait to hear more about your Jedi journey!


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/001633.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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