What I used to think….
“Well, this is not an original topic but, it seems to be one I’m always battling. I seem to spend a lot of time working at the administration work of being an actor and a lot less at the actual act of acting! It always seems like everyone else just gets work so easily, so how do they do it? If you are one of those, who the work just keeps rolling in, please let me know your secret. I have got all the usual systems in place – website, an agent, constantly trolling wherever I can for auditions, etc… It’s just never ending and it never seems to take off of its own fruition. To give you an idea, take a look at my diary on my website. That will give you an idea of what is actually on the horizon. There are a lot of possibilities, but only a few confirmed events.
So if any of you have any pointers on what I could do to help get more performing work, please get back to me, I’d love to hear from you or if you are struggling like me, I would love to hear your struggles as well!
Speak to ya soon!”
So, how do I deal with this better today, well, in a nut shell, I don’t sweat the small stuff so much! Also, I’ve really looked at my life and have worked on the things I can and cannot change. Like having all your ducks in a row does not mean you will get work. I’ve done a lot of self-hustle to get what I have. I’ve produced my own one woman show – Miss Givings – something I wasn’t even considering when I first put this post up. It was just an idea floating around at the back of my head, which needed years to come to life. If you want more info on how to pull a one person show together, check out Robert Cohen’s blog post on this site – he wrote my show!
I’ve had some great guidance over these years and the biggest has been to enjoy what you have. So set time aside to go out and do things you love and not to get tunnel vision or go down too many rabbit holes of distraction. In fact, I’ve found going to a museum I get the answers or ideas I need to find my way forward.
I, suppose, in a way, it culminated with last year, where I took a year out and went travelling around the world. Now, as a performer, I thought this would be the death knells of my career, so far, it’s not so, but I am thinking differently and feeling a lot better about it. Plus, it’s just awesome to have done such a great thing!
One thing I did read this last year, that success is best measured by what I achieve and how I set the parameters, not by someone else or that negative voice in the head that says, “Well you aren’t working or making tons of money or working in the West End or the latest big movie!” So I take back the things I can control, which are the little day to day goals and achieve those rather than the ones I can’t control, which are who hires me, when or for what. As I try to say, I keep my side of the street clean, so that it’s easy for people to hire me because I’ve got the work ethic, skills and tools for the job ahead.
Tools can break down into, things like: up to date website, regular blog posts, keeping contact with key people in the industry, head shots, CV, show reel, etc.
Skills, well those are the acting I do. I keep them up by doing various things and sometimes that means I do classes or teach them. Teaching is a great way to keep it all ticking over nicely.
Work ethic can be doing the daily practise, learning new monologues that I want to learn – just for the sake of it (I’m currently working on a new acting class – Back to Basics), eating well, sleeping well, setting time frames for things, etc.
You can do the old pie chart of the different parts of your life, click here for an online version example of this.
So, here are some ideas on what you can start to do, to enjoy your life:
- take a hot bath
- join a choir, if you’ve always wanted to sing
- go to the museum, especially, if you’ve never been
- do that thing you never thought you could, would or have the time for
- read a book
- listen to music
- go out for a great meal
- have a picnic or BBQ
- go to a wine tasting/whisky/beer/etc.
- go to a tea tasting, this one I just loved when I did it!
- swim with the manatee in Florida
- go paragliding/parachuting/bungee jumping – even if you only do it once, it’s pretty awesome
- ride a horse/camel/elephant – one of these is possible once in life
- volunteer at something you love, like an animal shelter or for the elderly
- create a walking group, I did this and have met oodles of new friends
- go to the theatre or a live music event – just cause, not because you are watching anyone else or trying to get a job, remember why we got into this career!
- go to the movies and get the expensive seats or a drive in!
- sit in a park or garden and have a glass of champagne, just for being
- go to a local shop that does pottery painting and make yourself a new cup
- do an art class
- learn the ukulele
- call a friend to say ‘Hi’
- write a hand written letter to someone
- go to a sport match
- join a meet up group
I think I could come up with ideas for hours, but I think you get the gist. Go out! Have some fun and the work will come and your ideas of what work you want to come will all come clearer. Just don’t go down the ‘rabbit hole’ of only acting. It’s never ending and will not necessarily bring you the satisfaction and joy that life has to offer when you live a full life!