Well-meaning coaches everywhere are telling actors to treat their careers like a business. We’re told to be the “CEO of our own Company”. We’re expected to spend a minimum number of hours working hard at our business. But working towards a bottom line “at all costs” is a prescription for anxiety and depression.
It’s what happens when a person finds themself to be the only person who’s survived a tragic event. This past year, in spite of the pandemic, my auditions have surprisingly increased. Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty about this, so I try keep it to myself. Are you keeping the good things in your life a secret?
As soon as I came back from my family vacation, I was hit hard with non-stop auditions. In July, I had fifteen of ’em in nineteen days, including two callbacks (see video above). Some say it’s not cool to mention this when so many actors are suffering dry spells, but attempting to control other people’s feelings is a losing game.
Throughout my business, I’ve had the privilege to speak with many artists about their career needs. The conversation almost always comes down to this: Something is missing. When asked what it is they really want, an actor will usually say, “I want to be a working actor,” but when we go through the reality of what that looks like, they realize that getting a paycheck for “any gig” is not what they’re looking for either. Time and time and again we assume that all of our problems will be solved if we could only get work. And that’s usually not the case.
I forget who said this, but it’s wise and it’s true: “We are not hungry for what we’re not getting. We’re hungry for want we’re not giving.”
I named my company The Recognized Actor, because I believe that every person’s deepest desire is to be seen. Some of us confuse this with fame, but it’s really recognition. It’s recognition for what we contribute to our tribes.
If we look outside of ourselves for it, we are seduced into traps of following rules, people-pleasing, or working “hard”. I’ve learned, however, that outside recognition – because of its transitory nature – is never satisfying. The only satisfying recognition comes from within. Self-acceptance. When we accept who we are (an ever-evolving process) our real values rise to the surface, and we discover that most old beliefs actually belong to someone else. When we accept where we are, we let go of comparisons and the need to live someone else’s life. When we recognize our real values, we become mindful of our habits, and begin to make right choices. We are exemplary in the smallest of tasks. We experience joy in conscious living. And finally, we realize that all of our desires already exist inside of us, and that the only thing – the only thing – keeping us from them is resistance.
This is why I created Action Groups – a safe place for artists to meet, redefine their goals, and get support in taking that next step. Facilitating these groups has opened me up to greater compassion, acknowledgement and leadership in my everyday life. If you can’t join one of mine, I urge you to find a group that values you and helps you find that “missing piece” of being recognized for what you contribute to the world.