This is part four of my series on the business of being an actor focusing on building habits.
Ok, here I go again. My last three blogs have been about the business of acting; tools, strategies, setting goals, etc.
Why do I keep having this conversation? Because you are a business, and as an actor you need to conduct yourself as such. I have been teaching in Los Angeles for over 30 years and the actors I see succeed have good work habits, discipline, and work ethics. Oh, and they are very talented as well. But talent alone is not enough.
I’d like to complete parts 1, 2, and 3, on the Business of Acting with a discussion about habits. (if you missed them you can see them in the archives on this site). Specifically, the difference between being in motion and taking action. Many people confuse the two and don’t distinguish the difference.
We sometimes spend so much time trying to find the right plan or approach and we don’t get around to taking action.
I have seen this in so many actors. When I was a young actor there used to be a joke statement about actors; “Writers write, directors direct, and actors talk about acting.” I found that insulting as a young actor, but saw and still do see so much evidence of actors doing this. They spend a lot of time talking about acting, making plans, strategies, etc, but not a lot of time on action.
Motions alone don’t lead to results, actions do. To talk about all the plans you have regarding your career is good and you can even fool yourself into thinking that you’re in motion and might be moving slightly forward, but it is the actions that produce results.
The best way to produce actions is to do repetition work. I don’t mean it in the Meisner sense (though I believe that is the best way to train as an actor). I mean repetition of a specific action towards you career.
Make one call a day, then two calls a day. Make yourself write for 10 minutes a day, then increase it to 15, then 20. Start with a simple task, repeat it, then add to it. Look on the casting sites for 5 minutes and make one submission. Do that every day then increase the time. The key is to make it a habit. Make it an easy one at first.
Remember, you are in the business of selling yourself and looking for work more than most other professions. You want to develop habits that serve this or you will burn out with frustration.
I highly recommend the book “Atomic Habits,” by James Clear. It’s a #1 New York Times Bestseller and one of the best books I’ve read regarding habits and how to craft them.
Good luck creating your habits and I hope you have the habit of reading my blog each month!
All the best.
Actors Workout Studio