Your Biggest Fan

Last week, as a recurring guest speaker at the SAG-AFTRA Conservatory at AFI, I told the story about my old MySpace profile. You remember MySpace, right? There was that lovely little sidebar in which we could share our favorite books, TV shows, inspiring quotes. Well, back in 2006, where it said “favorite author,” I listed “Bonnie Gillespie.”

I’ll never forget the day one of my playwright friends and I were out on a ladydate and I was complaining that I was having a bout of low confidence. She said, “You? You list YOURSELF as your favorite writer!”

“Well, OF COURSE I do,” I replied. “I’m the ONLY one who has ever read *everything* I’ve ever written. And if *I* can’t be totally, 100%, crazy in love with everything I write, how can I expect anyone else to be?”

I told that story last week because the question that was posed — during the amazing 3.25-hour tour of the Self-Management for Actors principles — was about trusting we’re enough. “How do I know what *they* want?” basically.

Of course, you know I’m not a fan of the “figure out what *they* want and reinvent yourself to *be* that thing” style of auditioning. I’m a fan of doing ridiculous amounts of research, targeting the buyers who are most in need of exactly what it is that you already do well, making choices, getting into the room, doing that thing you do so well, and then leaving after a mic-drop, because they know where to find you when they need exactly THAT.

Why would you doubt what it is that you’ve chosen to do, in this audition? Why would you second-guess yourself while in the lobby with all the other waiting actors? Why would you lose faith that your muse came and gave you the exact right way to book the room, today?

“Who’s your favorite actor?”

That’s what I stopped and asked of the roomful of awesome actors last Saturday.

“Who? Tell me.”

“Me?” a portion of the group answered meekly.

“I’m sorry… I didn’t hear that, and I certainly didn’t believe what I just heard. Who’s your favorite actor?”


Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere.

If you can’t be your own biggest fan, how can you *ever* expect someone else to hop on board and help you to the next tier? We like to back winners. We like to see so much confidence that we can’t possibly be wrong in being on your side. Sure, you may be trying to politely brush off anything that could come across as cockiness, and that’s not the tone I’m asking you to adopt. I’m suggesting that your ability to KNOW you’re doing amazing work, to REALIZE that you’re booking the room, to TRUST that you’re enough can make all the difference.

If you’ve not been your biggest fan, please forgive yourself for not supporting yourself fully. You’re human and you sometimes don’t give yourself the support you need (see above and my ladydate in which I was underconfident for a blip). It’s okay. You’ll struggle. You’ll feel fatigue with the pursuit. Endurance is a muscle. Build it. Give yourself *space* to build it.

You’re here for a bunch of decades, right? Don’t expect perfection in “season one” of the show that is your life. You’re on the air forever. Start giving yourself standing ovations today. Be your biggest fan. If not you, then who?

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 Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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