Do you celebrate your youness? You know, that stuff that makes you uniquely you. Or do you show up for an audition and immediately start angling, based on what you think they’re looking for?
One of these choices makes you an actor. The other puts you in the psychic business, and that’s not anywhere close to what they’re looking for! I get that it’s tempting. You are a chameleon, based on years of actor training. You can change up your choices, based on years of practice doing so. You are an intuitive critter and you do want to please others — especially if pleasing someone gets you this gig right now!
But I’ll recommend that you get out of the habit of trying to read the room — or worse, hustling for info in the waiting room, or taking seriously whatever other auditioning actors are saying as The Truth about what they believe they’re looking for in the room — with the goal of changing up your read to please anyone. Get information, sure. But don’t let anything throw off the hard work you’ve done in prep for your time in the room.
Beyond the auditioning room, this advice goes for selecting headshots or putting together your demo reel! By trying to be everything to everyone, you successfully accomplish only one thing: Not being yourself to anyone.
I like to use the analogy of a dartboard, with the bullseye being your ultimate youness. It’s where you are, at your core, when you work on a role. Sure, you may play the creepy bad guy and not truly be a bad guy, but that bad guy is your bullseye and a trusted clergyman is somewhere in the outer rings of the dartboard. Doesn’t mean you can’t hit that role — of course you can, you’re an actor — but it means it’s a bit off the mark of who you are, effortlessly.
More importantly, it’s someone else’s bullseye.
And in a town like Los Angeles in particular, specializing in hitting your bullseye is the smartest use of your time, your effort, and your focus.
Sure, you can walk in, read the room, figure they’re looking for someone younger and try and come off younger in your read. But someone else is going to walk in younger, be younger, bullseye younger. Why compete with that? Instead, chalk it up to one of those auditions where you got to show ’em your take on the role (even if it’s going to go to someone younger, creepier, quirkier, whatever) and, most importantly, you got to show them your youness, so that they can call you in “better” next time.
Next time, they call you in at your bullseye, because you showed them what that place looks like, with your audition.
Never obsess about getting one particular role. Book the Room, stay Professional at Any Level, and always celebrate your youness. There will be a day when that’s exactly what they need. Good thing you showed them what that bullseye looks like, huh?
And so much easier than trying to be anything other than what you truly are!
What’s Your Youness? Do you have a clear picture of your bullseye? Let’s talk about it in the comments section, below! 🙂 Can’t wait to hear from you.
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/001390.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.
I feel very lucky because I know my type and I like it. Truly. I know my age range. I know how I appear in person, in stage, and on camera: youthful, energetic, focused, petite. (You can say short. I say it every single day!) I’m tiny but shiny. 🙂 I’m determined, and, most of all, I’m happy that I’m pursuing the career that I love.
“Tiny but shiny” is a *great* logline, Allie! I love it! 🙂 Stay inspired by your career pursuit. That attitude is so very castable. 🙂 Yay!
You have been a daily inspiration to me since Judy Kerr first recommended me to SMFA. I know my brand (and I love it), I know my bullseye and the buyers I’m shooting for, and I am not throwing spaghetti at walls or trying to be a leading lady when I’m an awkward freckly best friend. I want to share with y’all an important discovery I had whilst meditating (ugh, how douchey do I sound right now?): The importance of a name. Part of your you-ness is your NAME. If your name is Norma Jean Baker, you don’t sell yourself as a sex pot blonde bombshell, but Marilyn Monroe sounds like someone whose milkshake does, indeed, bring all the boys to the yard. I was born with the name Elizabeth Marie but no one has ever called me that. I have been Bipsie since my birth, and when I found out my name was Elizabeth I was devastated. NO one has ever called me that. Upon moving to LA, I thought I should try to fit in and have a “normal” name that no one would laugh at. But it’s not my name! And when I walk into a room and introduce myself as someone else, people can tell I’m not 100% me, even if they don’t know why. Know who you are, in every possible way, and sell it. Thank you Thank you Thank you, can’t wait for Thirsty Third Thursday! Much Love,
(Elizabeth) Bipsie Rian
“If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
BIPSIE! I love it! OMG that is sooo true. Our name is such a part of our brand, and when it doesn’t *fit* we have to make an adjustment, or else there’s brand confusion. I’m so glad you’ve embraced your bullseye and I’ve SO loved working with you! 😀 Judy is a gem for bringing you into our lives and I cannot wait to hear all about your adventures in Bipsie-dom!
LOVE that last quote you included. Really true!! Keep rockin’ those freckles, girl.
I LOVE this Bonnie AND I SO needed to hear this.
I needed to hear, “Never obsess about getting one particular role.”
Throughout my five years in LA, I’ve gotten very comfortable with myself, what I bring to the table, who I dream (and strive) to align with, and what I have to offer as an artist and a professional.
The one thing I haven’t completely conquered? — The idea of prepare, present, and LET IT GO!
The “let it go” part is the part that gets me.
By the time I get in the room (not always, though often) I’ve attached to the material and am excited to do the work, the WHOLE process of the work I mean. I’ve done so much work on the role and the preparation, that I want to see the whole thing through and often get a little crushed when it doesn’t come to pass.
Five years ago, it would just absolutely break my heart. Now, I have more auditions to focus on and other things as well and I’ve developed a more ‘catch and release’ kinda way-of-being. I have developed the ability to not place so much gravity on each project, now far past the point of seeing it as a personal failure. Rather, I’ve learned to see each audition as a chance to perform and connect. I’ve learned to treat the actual audition as opening and closing night, with the hope of an extended run, if you will– I will, I do. It helps 🙂
Honestly, I think all this comes from so many years in school. In the world of higher education for the performing arts, there IS A LOT of gravity on each project from the get-go. Well, it’s theatre based. You know, walking into the season what you need to focus on and how to get it. So, you can expect to focus on any one thing for at least a week and sometimes up to six or eight weeks. In the real world, in the LA world, in the post-graduate world, things come, things go–you don’t know how much time you’ll have with anything (most of the time). So we gotto get ok with this.
My next step in the ‘getting ok with this’, is moving forward in creating more of my own work. I’ve dedicated most of this summer to an exploration of just that. Not only will I have something to come back to to perform in the fall, but I’m fairly certain this time spent creating by myself, will only help strengthen my ability in the “let it go” of it all.
Thank you for ALL YOUR HELP over the years Bonnie. You told my class in 2007 at our UCI showcase that this was going to be an individual on-going process and one that wasn’t going to be particularly easy. Your articles have been a SOLID source of comfort and guidance — and I’m LOVING these BonBlogs.
Karen, THANK YOU for this wonderful reply! I so enjoy getting to hear from actors who *get it* and who are rockin’ it out! This is inspiring stuff! 🙂
The “let it go” part is *huge*, so being able to wrangle that is very important. I mean, how do we really commit *AND* let it go? It’s such a tough tightrope to walk! Definitely, the volume of auditions helps with that! 😉 Yay for “catch and release” mentality! 🙂 And *HUGE* yay for the self-producing. Absolutely, something that’s totally within your control is THAT! And what a game-changer (to use an overused phrase). Still… it’s true!
I *love* that you remember my time with you guys five years ago. Holy cow! What fun! I so support the UCI gang and I’m glad that my words back then planted a good seed for you. Thank you for reading my weekly columns and for enjoying this interaction we’ve opened up here at the BonBlogs, after all this time. Means a lot to hear from you and I hope you’ll keep me plugged in about your progress!
Thank you. Truly. That means SO much to me. Thank you Bonnie.
Oh, it IS so hard to wrangle. It IS a rugged tightrope! And you know, I put it out there with you because I KNOW there are a TON of other actors struggling with this very thing. Gonna get there though. Just gonna.
Remember? Are you kidding? No, not ‘remember.’ That was an EXTREMELY vivid time for all of us. We love you. My classmates and I are still VERY close and we are all so grateful for the time and knowledge you gave to us during that delicate, exciting, and impressionable time. We will never forget. All of us have utilized your online resources. I can’t count the times one of us has sited your work by sending a link to one another in times of need. It actually happened this last week between myself and a fellow Grad alum.
“KjO! Help! I need to write a cover letter to a theatre. Should I do this? What should I do?”
“Bonnie’s Cover Letter link brother. BAM. http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001159.html hit me up if you want feedback.”
“Oh my God. KjO, you’re a life saver. This is awesome.”
“Nope, Bonnie is.”
….It happens all the time.
You are a Rockstar and I am HONORED to keep you posted on all going’s on’s.
Thank you for EVERYTHING–everything you do for us, Actors.
So much Love,
KjO, I would say this is like my favorite comment *ever* but that wouldn’t be fair, now would it? 🙂 THANK YOU for this. I truly appreciate that you make use of the resources that are out there. That’s so important! And it really can make a difference in your career, can’t it? 🙂 Thank you for bringing more smiles to my face than you know. Can’t wait to keep up with your next LEAP!! XO
Gold*s – Cait
I’m actually in the midst of stepping back from aggressive self-promotion while I work on my craft and get re-grounded in the new me and instrument that is emerging. Call it “upgrading my foundation” before the next step 🙂
*smooches* to Cait and Denzil! I love the concept of shifting and regrounding. This sounds wonderful! Upgrading your foundation indeed! Stay in love with your YOUNESS! It is always a part of how you do business, no matter how active you are on the BUSYness of business. 😉