Know Thyself and Triumph

I read a blog today. Here it is. It’s about the trials and tribulations of “being an artist” and how, perhaps, believing in one’s self somehow makes the artistic path less painful. I liked the post. Very feel-y good-y. But, not very specific. Not very useful to actors as a tool to help them succeed or make a “positive career move.”

Speaking from personal experience, I think it is very important that actors learn what they do well and then use that knowledge to get themselves cast in as many roles as possible. One of my teachers would say that actors who were able to know what they did well, and were able to parlay this *knowing* into work, had “talent for their talent.” A sticky turn of phrase that has stayed with me for years.

Now, if you are just starting out, you are not good at anything! Hate to burst your bubble…Yes, there are probably exceptions, but if you have never acted before, the first few times are not going to go all that well. Trust me. I have seen it. I have done it. I have lived it. And, if you are just starting out, please oh please, get yourself into the hands of good teachers and into the company of actors who have done it longer and do it better. This is your key to growth – community! Surround yourself with people who are more talented than you. Remember, it is not a competition. I mean, it is, but I always prefer collaborating and working and socializing with people who are my type rather than holding them suspect and getting all pissy when they get cast when I don’t (“They cast HIM???!!!”).

If you have been working for a bit, you probably have some notion of your type and what you are good at. If you don’t, you should talk to the people who cast you, the ones who see your work, and whom you trust. Once you know “how people see you,” you will have more control of your path and will be able to capitalize on casting opportunities when you see a good fit.

Going back to the post I mentioned at the top of this entry, I don’t mean to say that other people should define who you are, but being an artist for art’s sake won’t help you land your next role. It might feel good to tell yourself “I am a creative being and I am who I am,” but if you don’t know how to develop and use a skill set, while at the same time marketing and maintaining important industry connections, your creative endeavors might be restricted to your living room.

Determine what you love to do. Discover your intrinsic gifts. Develop these facets into talents. Show your talent through your choices and in your work. Share your work with people who can help you get more work.

And…Never. Give. Up.

6 thoughts on “Know Thyself and Triumph

  1. I think you are absolutely right, David. Great post. Action toward accomplishing your goals is an absolute must. And without it, “deciding who you are” won’t do anything for the actualization of your career. We have to keep at it, keep trying and as you say, never give up. Thanks for linking and continuing the conversation!

  2. Hi David – I don’t think we’ve ever actually met, but I’ve seen you perform several times and now and then I spy you at auditions. I love your blog – it’s practical and inspiring. Thanks for writing it. I’m sorry to write a comment that is totally unrelated to your post, BUT I saw your performance in the Art of Racing in the Rain and HOLY CRAP you were ridiculously, jaw-droppingly, out of control incredible. In the couple other plays I’ve seen you in, you always stick out with solid, thoughtful performances, but this was another beast entirely. There is an awful lot asked of you in this play, and you more than rise to the challenge. Just accomplishing three hours of acrobatics would be enough, but you seem to relish the nuance and heart in your character as well, making him a three-dimensional touchstone for the audience. They love you, by the way. Eavesdropping on the strangers seated around me and in the lobby, conversation was overwhelmingly centered on your excellent work. And when someone is working so hard and succeeding so entirely, well gosh they ought to be told. So thanks for sharing this blog with us, and thanks for sharing your talent with us. I hope I get to work with you someday.

    • Holy Incredible Compliments, Batdog!

      Jessica, 1. Thank you for reading the blog and 2. Bless you for taking the time to be so generous with your feedback.

      I am so glad you enjoyed the performance, and, I hope to work with you too, some day. If you are on FB, please look me up. I do a lot of networking and chatting there, too.

      ~ DSH

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