If you’re an actor in L.A. and you find yourself only waiting for your phone to ring or your agent to call, you’re in trouble. It is the surest way to become a bitter, jaded actor. And no one wants to hire one, or even be around one. Trust me, I’ve been there myself. You need to find a way to stay in touch with your talent, and keep it alive and flowing.
I have a friend who is a sculptor, another a painter, and another who is a writer. What is great about these artists is they don’t need someone to be with them to realize their work. They can work any time they want. They don’t rely on someone else to give them permission or a space to work. When they are inspired, whether in the middle of the night, an empty space of time, anytime, they can go to work. It is all on them and when they are inspired. They don’t need to wait for someone else.
Some artists need others to work with. Actors need other actors, a director, and a place to perform. Directors, cinematographers, set designers, and make-up artists, they too need others to fully realize their work. A songwriter can sit alone and be very productive, but a bass player ultimately needs to find a band.
I recommend that actors find something that they can do alone, on their own, to keep their instrument, talent, and craft alive.
The most obvious choice is to be in a class. That keeps you committed, with something to look forward to each week, as well as having homework and assignments to work on. This is vital to keep your instrument in shape. Personally, I think class or a workshop is a given for all actors. You need a space to keep your talent alive and be challenged.
What I want to share here are things you can do on your own, alone. For those times when you are craving creativity, are frustrated, maybe when you wake up in the middle of the night, or bored on a weekend.
Here are some recommendations to keep you connected to your artistic self and staying creatively alive and passionate.
- Get the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
It’s a 12-week individual program you work on your own at your own pace. It’s brilliant and I’ve seen it launch actors and writers back into their work and passion time and time again. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and knowing Julia Cameron and all her books are excellent for artists. Keep one on your bedside.
- Write in a journal.
Be committed and specific. Write every morning before getting out of bed or before going to bed at night. In the morning write your dreams and intentions, at night, list your gratitudes for the day. Let your journaling be a dialogue with your inner self.
- Work on a stand-up routine.
Find a subject that speaks to you, maybe you growing up as a child. Don’t worry about performing it, or it being any good, just write it.
- Write your life story.
Yes, write your story, where you came from and where you want to go. Again this is just for you, not something that anyone would look at other than yourself. Maybe something will come out of it, maybe it’s just for you. You might find some interesting stories for those auditions where the casting directors ask you questions like, “Tell me something about yourself”, or “ What was your favorite vacation?” , or “What is you most interesting hobby”. These are common questions for commercial auditions. The more you know about yourself, the more spontaneous and interesting you can talk about these things.
- Have a “Practice.”
Yoga, meditation, an exercise program. Pick one or more. The daily practice of these is good for your body and inner spirit. And that is very important for your energy and soul. That keeps you in your “love of yourself zone,” or “a God like zone.” This energy shows up in your work and presentation of yourself, both in and out of your work.
- Consider a one-person show.
What would that look like for you? Write ideas, outlines, play with it. Again it’s about keeping you working and looking inward.
- Finally, consider volunteering for a worthy cause.
Ultimately as actors, we are giving and are helping humanity through our work. Consciously working with a foundation or cause is exercising the service quality of acting.
I understand that we all want a job and want to work. Of course, but in the meantime, stay alive, in your personal work, connected to your best self, and mostly feeling good about yourself and who you are. Keep your spirit and soul alive. That is what is required. It’s how you keep going and survive all the ups and downs of being and working as an actor.
Actors Workout Studio