No doubt you have more a few regrets as the year comes to close. Auditions you didn’t get. Bookings you didn’t get. Agents who didn’t want to sign you. The list may go on and on, but as you transition from 2015 to 2016, don’t lose the feeling of those lowest moments of the past 12 months. Continue reading
As Christmas approaches, the word generosity keeps coming to my mind. In this season of giving, it seems like a perfect word to guide us to thinking and acting unselfishly. Even when we face our own struggles and suffer from a lack of auditions, bookings, income, attention, and whatever else is on your list, we can find our true value by shifting our focus to the industry and the people in it we can serve.
You may be thinking, “I don’t have the money to buy presents for friends and family. How on earth do you expect be to be generous?” Forget presents in the tangible form for a moment. Think about what your presence provides instead and what gifts only you possess.
Many of us use this time of year to reflect on what we accomplished over the last 12 months and what we aim to achieve in the coming year. It’s a good time to do so during the transition from 2015 to 2016 yet solely focusing on what you have and don’t have pulls you away from the spirit of generosity. So I came up with a list of 10 ways to be a generous actor in the new year, regardless of whether you’re “successful” or getting auditions or adding credits to your IMDb page. Continue reading
This year I traded the largest city in the South for a quaint small town adjacent to a medium size city in the Midwest. The move brought lots of changes, some I liked, some I loved, and some I … well, hated. Eating brats at a beer garden is definitely a new Love, while Likes include less traffic, close proximity to one of the Great Lakes, and the potential to build a snowman on occasion. Walking the dogs on cold mornings probably falls in the Hate category. Continue reading
If I went back in time to my college years, a time when my bills were covered by student loans and my parents, the first change I would make is finding a business class. I did have access to the owner of a small business before and during college—my uncle Neil who ran a heating, plumbing, and electrical business—and could have asked him all kinds of questions about running it. Foolishly, I didn’t.
Back then, I looked at a trade like plumbing as something someone else did for a living. That’s not for me, I thought. I’m just helping to make money during the summer or during winter break. I missed the opportunity to learn how any small business should and shouldn’t run, and that ignorance led to me making a series of bad business decisions for myself when I started acting.
Without going into too many gritty details of the financial pitfalls we face when starting and growing a career as an actor, I will say briefly that I have spent far more auditioning and acting than I have earned. FAR MORE. But that in itself is not a mistake or a huge problem, unless you’re relying solely on acting to support yourself. Much of the time, I was.
In examining the error in my ways, I came up with a list of decisions I could share with others who aim to work as actors professionally. In creating a whole workshop based on this list, I expanded the language to include virtually all artists, from actors to photographers to designers. In the workshop, I ask attendees to write and share their answers to 10 basic business decisions. Then we discuss their responses and I can guide them to more productive thinking, if necessary.
It’s fascinating to watch in a group setting because you see common ground shared between people of different ages and interests. They learn from each other and they give so much to each other. I highly recommend taking the list I am about to include here and sitting down to do the exercises with someone you know.