Get Out Of Your Own Way

So, you are an actor? Congratulations. A noble and storied profession. Well, “profession” might be a stretch. Nonetheless, my dear actor, you are a gem. A treasure. You move people. Change lives. Teach lessons.

If you are working.

Are you working?

Are you working as often as you want to?

Are you in your own way?

One thing that gets in my way, or at least used to, was my messaging. The voices inside my head said things like: “You don’t want an agent,” “Agents are jerks,” “You aren’t funny,” “You can’t do camera work,” You aren’t ready,” “You aren’t tall enough,” Your aren’t fit enough…” And on and on.

Then, my friend told me he was moving to NYC. It was early 2011. He had an agent. He kinda looks like me. I kinda look like him. Well, he’s taller…

My friend thought it would be nice if I could “replace” him at his agency. I decided to interview. I went in. The office was shiny. I sat at a small conference table in the back and “performed” a bloody monologue and then read some copy for an agent who was two shades shy of barely amused. I figured that I had blown it and that I was right all along – “Agents are jerks” and “I’m not ready.”

The agent offered to sign me on the spot. That year I shot a cable network pilot, an indie feature, and a short. I also worked with the Seattle Shakespeare Company in a very funny Comedy of Errors (wait…I thought I wasn’t funny). In December of 2011 I started blogging. Sharing. Inspiring. Teaching. Listening. Believing.

Something happened in 2011. Yes, I got a few nice gigs, but, more importantly, I changed the message to myself. I can do it. I am funny. I am an artist. I am good enough. I am tall enough. I am enough.

Get out of your own way. There are more than enough obstacles to hurdle along the path already.

4 thoughts on “Get Out Of Your Own Way

  1. Every actor has their own career. It’s SO tempting to compare your breaks, failures, attributes, foibles, etc to those other actors, yet the only person who can be you is you. Your path is yours and yours alone. Make your decisions based on what YOU want and what YOU are capable of. When your “product” is yourself, it doesn’t make sense to imitate someone else. Easy to say, so very difficult to remember sometimes.

  2. Brilliant ideas ~ brilliantly written! The concept of supporting or sabotaging oneself with personal “inner monologue” is exactly what I just covered with my Bellevue College classes. Rather than put into my own less illustrative words. . .would you mind if I share your essay in total with my students? Would credit and highly sing your talented praises along with heartily pushing them to see you in doggy action! On the stage, of course, on the Book-It stage πŸ˜‰

  3. Stella Adler once said that you are an actor whether or not you get the part. That each part can’t tell you if you are an actor or not. It is not theirs to give.
    But that can be hard on occasion. Especially when you’re not working.

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