Last month I talked about how it’s that time of the year; a time where many of us make resolutions, do self-evaluations and initiate change.
If you’ve followed my blogs over the past several years, you’ll recall that in January I like to start with a conversation about the Business of Acting.
Acting is a business and requires a business plan. It is important to set goals, create and execute tasks, and hold yourself accountable. You are your own boss. At the beginning of each new year, I require all my students to participate in an intensive workshop where we face our demons, set goals, and put ourselves into action. For some, it can be an extremely confrontational experience. Just training in the craft is not enough; you need to make business decisions and take business actions. We start the conversation with each actor assessing the past year and evaluating where they are in their career. Last month’s checklist was Part I of the discussion; this month, I’d like to continue by talking about Time Management.
The following is an assignment that I gave to my students. I’d like to share it with you so you have an opportunity to evaluate where you are and find out if you are spending enough time on your business. Try it for a month.
FIRST TWO WEEKS
- Find or create a page-per-day calendar with times broken down to every 15 minutes.
- For two weeks, record in your calendar what you do every day. Don’t change anything; just look at what you already do.
- That includes when you go to sleep, when you get up, your work schedule, class(es), dates, social life, laundry, shopping, free time, auditions, exercise, hobbies, walking your dog, watching TV, going to the movies or theater, even binge watching Netflix.
WEEK THREE AND FOUR
- At the end of two weeks, go back through your calendar and see how much time you are spending on the “business” of acting. I don’t mean class or rehearsing, or actually working as an actor, I mean “business” things.
- Things like submitting yourself for auditions, sending out emails and mailings, making phone calls, submitting to and contacting agents, managers, and casting directors. These things are the nuts and bolts of being your own manager.
- How much time are you dedicating to your business? 3 hours a week? 5 hours? Zero hours?
- Once you see your schedule laid out in front of you in writing, you will discover where you are wasting time or not being productive.
- Next, schedule in a few hours each week to focus on business things – things that we tend to procrastinate about and hate to do, like make calls.
- Be realistic. Don’t try to do too much. As we all know, most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by mid-February. Crash diets don’t work.
- If you noticed you spent no time on it, start with 3-5 hours per week.
WEEK FIVE AND FORWARD
- Assess how you did for those second two weeks. Did you stick with your plan? Was it easy? Was it hard? What changes can you make to set yourself up for success?
- Evaluate your schedule and see if you can increase your hours. If you started with 3 -5 hours a week, can you add a few more?
- Keep your calendar going and schedule your time.
- Remember, very successful and busy people – the President, Senators, Movie Stars, and Bill Gates have the same number of hours in a day that you do. How you manage your time is crucial.
- This work can be very confrontational but will allow you to see where you are wasting time, avoiding, or being in denial.
- Every two weeks from here, evaluate and adjust.
- Set reasonable goals for yourself and as you achieve them, gradually increase the time you spend on your business.
This is a great chance to build and sharpen your business skills. It is will also help you hold yourself accountable and feel like you’re in control of your career and destiny. These skills tend to be difficult for artists because many don’t like to do this work and prefer to just be an artist. You have to do both if you want to be successful in this business. But a little time and dedication is all it takes – you can do this!
Good luck and don’t forget to schedule me in for next month’s blog!
Keep on working!