Intimacy Coordination: An Actor Inquires


Actor/Writer Tiffany Hoy

interviews

Actor/Intimacy Coordinator Michela Carattini


[The following excerpt is from a transcript of the recorded interview.]


TH: So I'm curious about this - thanks for letting me ask all these questions.

MC: Of course! When people hear that I’m training and working as an Intimacy Coordinator* (IC), they ask me a lot of questions - so ask whatever you want, cause I'm sure others will want to know too!

TH: I guess what you do applies to both theatre and film, am I right?

MC: So there are two internationally agreed terms now. An Intimacy Director refers to somebody who does this work for theatre, and an Intimacy Coordinator refers to somebody who does this work for film and television. And that’s very much following the tradition of the titles of fight director or movement director for theatre, and a fight coordinator or stunt coordinator for film- it’s following the traditions of that language, but in essence they fulfil the same role in those two different mediums.


TH: So you’re focussing on the film- the coordinator- role?

MC: Yeah, I work mainly in film and television.


TH: So when do you come on board during the production?


MC: Good question. The answer is, as soon as possible. Ideally, people are thinking about whether they need an IC from pre-pre production, just looking at those scenes and thinking, do we need to put aside budget for wardrobe to provide barriers or coverings for people, do we need to put in the budget to be able to pay an IC the same way we would for a stunt coordinator? An IC can be really helpful in terms of best practice for running auditions and how to inform the actors from the very beginning around what the role will involve and having those conversations around expectations, consent and the director’s vision from the very beginning, so later on we avoid more difficulties.


TH: Are you like an expert in covers now?


Alicia Rodis photographed for Variety
MC: Am I an expert in covers, is that what you asked? (Laughing) Well look, I know a lot more about covers than I ever did before, I can say that. My mentor in the United States is Alicia Rodis, she’s head of HBO intimacy coordination and one of the founders of Intimacy Directors International (IDI). So when I was in NY she showed me her kit which is this awesome collection of pieces, many of them custom cut to be hidden from the camera from particular angles but at the same time provide that essential coverage for the protection and modesty of the actor or to provide a barrier between actors. The rule is that people’s genitals should never be touching, as well as working around the specific container of consent for those specific actors in very creative ways, and knowledge of the camera and cinematic technique is really important for this reason.


TH: Have you got a list of angles and tricks to make it look like something’s happening that’s not?


MC: Yeah, it’s a really interesting aspect that an IC brings to the work that people may not realise-- that specific knowledge, training and experience around those kinds of movements and those kinds of scenes for camera. Because something can be happening in real life, but it can still not look like it on camera or it doesn’t have the same effect on camera that a director was hoping for. As actors know as well, you might be standing what feels too close to someone, but on camera it looks miles apart- well the same thing applies for these sorts of scenes, and it’s part of our job to have experience with what can work in these types of scenes, in terms of wardrobe and movements.


Team IDI
TH: Probably equally important to those physical covers are the emotional covers. How much prep do you get to do, especially on those lower budget productions?


MC: We ask for at least one rehearsal with the director and actors, where we can have a discussion about boundaries, the intent of the scene, the key physical and emotional anchor points, and outline the choreography of the scene. Though tweaking may still be necessary on location, doing this work beforehand saves precious time on the shoot.





TH: Are you having conversations with actors before that rehearsal, or are they whispering in your ear, ‘Michela, I feel weird about this!’


MC: (Laughing) Yes, we have meetings with the actors privately before that rehearsal - it’s necessary that it’s private in order to try and mitigate certain power dynamics. Something we try and communicate to directors, producers, and actors with power, is that no matter how kind, compassionate, wonderful and open they are, by virtue of their position, it is very difficult for an actor to say no to them. It’s very much a reputation-based industry, and actors are worried that they’re replaceable and are generally trained to say yes. An intimacy coordinator is that third person who can have that conversation with all the actors involved and present to the team a container within which we can work and come up with creative ideas and choreography that will still serve the director’s vision. Some actors haven’t thought about what their boundaries are. Sometimes tough guys will say, ‘yeah, I don’t have any boundaries’ which ends up not being true, they just hadn’t thought about it before. Our work tries to remove the idea that the comfort levels and boundaries rest on one person who can be ‘blamed’ - which is why we use the term ‘container,’ within which everyone involved is consenting. And boundaries require no justification. And they can change. Consent is reversible. I know that’s scary for a lot of directors, but a lot of the work we do helps to minimize issues around this. Actors have said to me they were actually willing to do more than they otherwise would have without an IC, because they felt safer or more sure of the other actor’s consent.


TH: I was watching a video of this lady in the U.S. who seems to be credited with starting it all- I think her name is Ita- the one who did Sex Education for Netflix- and she was on set ‘OK, and now do this, and now do that’- is that what’s happening when you have an IC on set with you? It almost sounded like a guided meditation! I thought, I could go with that.




MC: (Laughing) So Ita O’Brien, who is my mentor in the U.K., is based in London, and founder of Intimacy On Set.** Here in Australia, guidelines are being developed by MEAA (Equity) as well. I’m on that development panel, as are many other relevant stakeholders, and we’re certainly taking from the best practices of other countries, including Intimacy On Set Guidelines and IDI’s.

Ita O'Brien
As for your question about whether all ICs recite or cue the action, there are different processes and different approaches for different ICs and different projects. That’s not to say that aren’t procedures and processes that we all follow, but it’s flexible, and can adapt to the particular process of a director or actors as well. Sometimes directors have clear choreography in their head, and it can happen that way, it doesn’t have to be the IC coming up with the choreography. I’ve experienced a director coming up with choreography, but then when they see it in the shot, it doesn’t look the way they wanted, and they say, ‘can you fix this?’. An IC can be very involved, as you saw in that video with Ita, or they can step back, and only step in when required. I step in when I see I can be helpful or it’s needed. You have to be able to get out of the way really fast on set and know how and when to step in. Your job helps free up everyone else to do theirs.




TH: A lot of actors feel like they want to be creatures of spontaneity, is there still room for that?


MC: Yes. One of the tenants of our work that there is choreography for intimate touching, so that -just like with fight choreography- actors will not have to worry about their physical safety, and will be freed up to be emotionally vulnerable, spontaneous and stay in character. We discourage actors from changing the agreed choreography without discussion and consent- not just for safety, but also for continuity, for camera, for story. However, there is absolutely room to come up with a new idea, and for that new idea to be discussed and embraced. It’s important not to assume- something that might seem casual and harmless to one person, might not be to somebody else. One never knows what emotional or physical trauma another actor brings with them to set on any given day, so It’s about creating a culture of communication, consent and safety where anything is possible within that frame.


TH: Why did we not do this before? Why did we just wing it?


MC: I know, as an actor myself, I think, I wish I’d had this! I think this area has been an awkward subject for  people- it feels like a personal thing and people tend to just put it to the side. We haven’t had language in the industry to address some of the issues and some of the occupational hazards we have to deal with both physically and emotionally. Bringing that knowledge and language into the conversation is an important part of what we do. Everyone does all this work for characterization, and somehow that all gets left behind in the intimate scenes. People bring in their personal selves all of a sudden: how would I kiss in this situation? Or the director says, ‘This is what I think good sex looks like.’ It’s not putting the story-telling first they way you would in every other aspect, in every other scene. How would the character express their sexuality? What is the geographical and cultural context of the character? What is the personality of the character? What does the scene need to communicate? We keep everyone accountable to the director’s vision by putting those questions at the forefront, bringing all that work into the intimate scenes as well, when previously the tendency has been to throw it out the window in those moments.


Film still from Remote Access

TH: That makes complete sense, and it’s so interesting - what an extra element of research you could do for your character!


MC: Yeah! Looking at time period, geography, culture and personality in the intimate space can be particularly fascinating and lead to really interesting character choices, increasing your vocabulary beyond your own experience. Creatively, it’s a far cry from two actors having to awkwardly come up with something on the spot, and it’s another tool for actors to be able to separate themselves from character and mitigate some of that spillage from carrying your character with you. Having that professional language, that vocabulary of choices, the training and the experience really facilitates that conversation - it’s a creative role, we’re not babysitters.


TH: I have to ask an awkward question, but this interview would not be complete without asking it. Bodies being bodies, what happens if someone gets aroused?


MC: Yeah, absolutely that happens, that’s a natural thing that happens sometimes when you’re touching another person. One of my favourite quotes on this subject, attributed to some famous actor or another, is: “If I get an erection, I’m sorry, and if I don’t get an erection, I’m sorry.” It’s not something we make a big deal out of, but we offer barriers, and a word to stop the action if the actors feel is neccessary - just as we would if someone had to vomit or had a panic attack. Coming from a Mental health background, I’m across that there’s so much coming out in the research about the real physiological effects of the pretend and imagined spaces- it can have many of the same effects of a lived experience. We all have or know stories of actors who had a hard time separating from a character or a character attachment. It’s being acknowledged for the first time in an evidence-based way that there is an emotional and physical load that comes with the work we do. I’m particularly interested in helping actors strategize to minimize that spillage.


TH: What do those strategies look like? Like a closing ceremony after the shoot?


Film still from Tendenza ad Amar
MC: If that works for you! It can look different for different people. I draw from psychology, social work, neuroscience, criminology, trauma studies and many other areas and offer them, based on the person and situation. I tell people to use what calls to them, and don’t use what doesn’t - and sometimes people are surprised by what works for them - not the ones they expected! Different things will work for different people, and be salient to different people. At the very least giving acknowledgement that this is a real thing that can manifest in different ways, give language and validation of it, as well as those potential strategies to minimize it if they would like to. That’s my intention and an area I’m particularly interested in.


TH: Thank you for being one of the torch-bearers of this here in Australia!


MC: You’re welcome! It’s still a very new field, and there will be mistakes made, but I’m so excited about the difference I see it making, creatively and humanistically. You know, I think sometimes you’re most interested, and you study and you learn, the things you most need. I’ve been an actor for over twenty years, and my study has also come out of the need I’ve seen for myself and my colleagues in the industry, struggling with these various issues. I’ve been able to take the different parts of my professional life and put them together in this unique way. You never know where your life is leading- sometimes you have a moment where you’re like, oh, this all kind of fits together in a way I never imagined. It’s wonderful for me to feel like I have so much to offer in this space, and I would love to share it and be of use to other storytellers. That’s always something that’s been important to me.

(END OF EXCERPT)


* More information on Michela and Intimacy Coordination here.
**Ita started developing the Intimacy On Set Guidelines in 2014, bringing together best practice from around the world, including working with Jennifer Ward-Lealand, President of Actors Equity New Zealand.The Intimacy On Set Guidelines advocate for open communication and transparency when working with intimate scenes, providing a structure that allows for agreement and consent of touch and a process through which intimacy can be clearly choreographed. Ita was invited by the Equity Foundation to share the work across Australia and New Zealand in November- December 2018, INTIMACY ON SET AND STAGE WITH ITA O’BRIEN, including WORKSHOPS FOR ACTORS AND DIRECTORS for SCREEN & STAGE, & AN INTRODUCTION TO INTIMACY DIRECTION: FOR POTENTIAL INTIMACY COORDINATORS, during which over 800 practitioners attended the events.

Why Acting Class Is So Damn Important

by Scott Michael Wagstaff

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Hey beautiful people! So today I want to express how important acting class is. If you think about it, acting is challenged by your being, your mind and your body -without that there would be no acting (no you!) - but there's no improving your mind and body in the realm of acting (or life) without showing up in a space where you can challenge yourself! You can look at it like going to the gym: you go to the gym to further improve your health, and your body only responds in that improvement of your mental and physical health through you challenging yourself with more intense workouts. That extra rep in that bicep curl gives you the edge in growing, and the possibility your muscle might fail - WHICH IS A GOOD SIGN OF GROWTH! All of that encapsulates acting class. If we're not showing up to the practice, failing by trying and experiencing, then we're not growing. Period.
London especially has previously been a little lost with the on-going class culture in comparison to the Americans, probably because it hosts a bunch of big drama schools. Graduating from drama school usually means you have studied many tools and much literature in depth (and hopefully yourself) for a long period of time to better inform your future work. However, just because there has been three solid years of that work doesn't mean you just stop, expect the auditions to pour in and that you'll always be ready for them - there's much much more to be learned and be prepared for!

At the end of the day your life goes on, things happen to you, and that can further affect your ability to execute the part of yourself a scene is asking of you. Yes, it sounds "woo woo," but my God it's true. We always want to be telling the truth and being deeply honest whilst telling a story in the form of acting right? Well how can you count on a bunch of tools to do that for you when you've put up shields around the 'sexy' part of you for many years because an ex-lover made some negative comments on your body? We pack away our trauma and it's our job to unpack it and let it live in story again. Don't get me wrong, tools are awesome, and we learn what works best for us- be it a Meisner or method- BUT those tools aren't sharp if you aren't putting them into practice on a weekly basis. FACT. Hey, make it a daily practice if you want, it all comes down to how much you want it right?

So, I can only really preach about what I know: I've done multiple types of classes and London is certainly slowly embracing the on-going class culture. Here's the best of the best that I know of:

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Anthony Meindl Actors Workshop London

This class is in it's 6th year in London, originating from Los Angeles over 20 years ago. The culture of the class is self development alongside the craft of acting. It has changed my life and my acting for the better (there's a reason why Anthony's motto is 'Change your acting, change your life'). It's a tough cookie to bite down on to begin with, as it is a very different way of working to what we Brits know, but I would recommending persevering, as on the other side of consistency is reward.

They have a foundations class to learn their way of working, and they have weekly on-going classes beyond that. They also run an on-camera class amongst other workshops.
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Screen Actors London

A new course on the scene, this one is geared to, yep you guessed it, film and tv. The course is run by on-screen pros who have a ton of experience, they have all the toys for playback on multiple takes and take no more than 10 actors for over two three hour sessions. If you want to investigate yourself more deeply in the screen world then this is very worth it!
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Gary Condes

Gary runs intense 12-week courses based in Meisner- really it's the Gary technique. In my humble opinion, it's Meisner done well. Gary's technique was my base for my acting moving on from musical theatre. He gave me all the tools I needed and helped me learn a lot about myself in the early beginnings. The work is deep. He also coaches privately, and alongside all this, is a fantastic Director.



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Mixing Networks

Michael Singleton (CEO/Director of Mixing Networks) has taken the casting director workshop environment by storm in London. However, it's not just the CD workshops he runs, he also teaches an on-camera class which is fantastic practice for your audition technique. Both CD workshops and on-going camera classes are a great place to practice your craft. Mike is also a filmmaker so his directing and producing skills are on point!


If you're scared, it's all good - that's usually a good sign. Just make a start! The great thing about being in class is that you'll always be ready and you'll always be growing. It will help you hit that sweet spot that Steve Martin says:
Image result for steve martin be so good they can't ignore you book

For Actors: Going Skin Deep

This month I have decided to share with you a guilty pleasure of mine that is certainly important for actors: skin care.

Since reaching the big 3-0, people have asked me nicely ("You are glowing!") and meanly ("Do you get botox?") about my skin care routine. Being an uber pale girl, I do have a few tips.

BASICS

First of all, I drink a mad amount of water each day. Especially before auditions for roles a decade younger, I tend to drink to the point of exhaustion, because nothing plumps the skin better from within than being ultra-hydrated. And yes, I pee a lot.

I have used sunscreen EVERY DAY-- summer or winter, rain or shine-- since I was sixteen. They say that everything over SPF 30 is BS, but oh well, I use "Neutrogena’s Age Shield face SPF 110". Never had a sun burn, never had a wrinkle. #placebo

I do get facials fairly regularly - probably every 8 weeks. The best one for my skin is called the Hydra Facial. They do it all around the world and my skin just looks like someone put a beauty filter onto it for days afterward. I have tried the Vampire Facial and some light chemical peels but I have to say that the Hydra Facial still shows the best results. I suggest finding a salon you like and trying out a few different facials and see what works best for you.

Last but not least, I have to admit I eat very well (mostly vegan) and I do notice a difference when I suddenly eat crap.

ADVANCED

Face Masks: I love them and I probably have a dozen different ones. I use a different one almost every day. When I feel my skin is a little out of balance and unclear I go for mud masks - the powder from the pharmacy mixed with some water. Oh, and a mask I love in the morning, making my skin look like baby’s behind is “Goddess Skin Clay Mask by Charlotte Tilbury” - perfect for audition days. Most evenings I use a sheet mask - I buy them in bulk from Amazon (sorry) - or an overnight leave-on mask. This is of course only when I am alone or next to an already asleep man ;)

Just some of my products ;)

I have gotten Micro Needling done at the salon a few times. Apart from being painful, I did like the results, but not as much as with the Hydra Facial, The idea, however, is that the effects last longer. After I saw the amazing results on two of my friends (one 28, one 50) I started doing home needling. There are a bunch of tutorials online - the process is fairly straight forward and if done regularly, it does work wonders and is super cheap. You do have to have super clear skin to do it though, otherwise you are just spreading the bacteria around your face.

An older woman with perfect skin swears on this electric device “Nuface” - I have actually bought it but for some reason I have not gotten into it properly...I should though - she looks amazing.

I have not done Botox or Fillers yet, but I am totally not opposed to either. I have a couple of friends who have done it and you’d never know it - but I have also seen people go off the deep end...

ROUTINES

Morning: I wash my face with cold water in the shower (I end every shower with ice cold water all over the body, to tighten up those pores) and then I use a serum by Deciem (https://deciem.com) and a moisturiser before I put my sunscreen on. I really like Deciem, because the quality is amazing and, as their tagline famously says, science doesn’t know luxury, so they are super cheap. For a moisturiser, I have to admit I have returned to "Creme de la Mer.” I've tried many different ones, but I just love the texture, and despite the initial price tag being high, you need so little every day that even their smallest jar lasts a full year. Then, of course, sunscreen on my face and the back my hands.

Make Up: Definitely not my speciality, but I always use a primer, to even out my skin tone and give it a little glow, currently “Benefit’s Pore Professional Pearl Primer.” The hands down best foundation I have ever used and was used on me during a full feature shoot is: “Sensai’s Cellular Performance.” Yes, it's pricey, but I only use it as a concealer and it's just perfect (my best friend loves it as well). Lots of mascara and a bit of red lipstick on my lips and cheeks and I am out of the house.

Evening: First I take off all make up and mascara and dirt with cold pressed coconut oil. Then I use a light exfoliator - currently the "Nip+Fab Glycolic Scrub Fix” and then Micellaire Water as a toner. Only through doing that three step cleanse every night have I gotten my skin to be truly spotlessly clean - for some this might be too much, but my skin seems to need it. Then I use a Deciem Serum and on some days their Retinol or their Vitamin C moisturiser. Plus I always massage my face while I put on the serums and the creams. My favourite eye cream remains, after trying soooo many, “Hyaluron- Filler by Eucerin”.

My all time favourite body moisturiser is “Iso-Urea from La Roche-Posay.” I have always had dry skin, and so have tried hundreds of body lotions and oil,s but using this one every day after my shower is the only thing that has made me feel silky all over. Pick the milk, not the fluid if you have extra dry skin like me.When my skin gets really dry or flakey, I sometimes scrub it down with a coconut salt mix - for me it’s great, try it!


Yeah, I wish I could say it’s just good genetics, but this is all the shit I do plus I really do enjoy kale ;) Please comment below if you have skin care products you adore or any other tips and tricks!!!








The Benefits of Creating your own Film Production Company


by New York Guest Blogger: Carey Van Driest

These days, everyone is talking about ‘making your own work.’ It’s a valuable conversation to have, but I never thought I would be doing it under the auspices of a ’production company.’ Especially one that I owned.

My partner Ronan Jorah and I had had careers in the arts for years - me as an actor and Ronan as a director and post-production supervisor, but work had been project-specific, and mostly dictated by other people’s initiatives. Creating our production company, Mania Studio, Inc., combined our forces to set a trajectory for long-term success instead of the short-term scrambles we had been doing.

Mania Studio’s logo


Get clear about your goals

Filmmaking is hard work, so if we were going to put time and sweat and money into this, it needed to pay off. We wanted to make more than one film, so for us taking the creative leap meant a full-fledged studio where we could control the quality and choose our projects and who we work with. Creating a structure that was scaleable as Mania Studio grew was also imperative.

We chose Scratch as our first film and set a fundraising goal. A friend who runs large-scale kickstarter campaigns advised us that for a new company, developing personal connections that would carry over from project to project was the best use of our time. So we reached out to people we called our ‘angels’ instead of crowd-sourcing.

Ronan Jorah, directing Scratch on location at the Bendix Diner


Know your strengths and weaknesses
Once funding was in place, we could have attempted to push the film up a hill ourselves. But I’m not a cinematographer, and Ronan is at best a second-rate costume designer. Our energy was better spent focusing on what we did best and putting together a talented team of craftspeople who would be the foundation of the creative network we would continue to rely and call on.

Fast, good, and cheap. You can only pick two
No one wants to hear it, but it’s true. You can do something fast and good, but it won’t be cheap, or cheap and fast, but it won’t be good. Something always has to give, so pick your two carefully. We had some money, but not a lot, so for us taking our time putting the right pieces together and planning every detail was important. If we’d had a multi-million dollar budget, planning would still be important, but larger budget equals more boots on the ground, and an engine that can move faster. Even though there were many days and nights during pre-production when we wondered if we’d ever get to set, sharing Scratch with our cast and crew and seeing their proud reactions reminded us that we did it the right way.

Carey Van Driest on set as producer and “Elise” in Scratch


Scratch
is what we intended it to be: a strong calling card for Mania Studio and an example of the kind of quality storytelling we can do as a small in-house operation. The response has been fantastic, and we’re gearing up for the online release in early Spring to get the word out about Scratch and Mania Studio. 

We have a second short film ready for production and several in development. I’m producing, writing and acting, and Ronan directs, writes, and supervises post-production. We continue to balance being both business and romantic partners and check in with each other as Mania Studio grows. Starting a production company isn’t for everyone, and sometimes we think “what are we doing?” But most of the time we look at what we’ve created together and it reminds us why we wanted to be artists and filmmakers in the first place. To make things. And this is the way we choose to make them.

Ronan Jorah as 'Scratch'



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What Eye Surgery Taught Me About My Acting Career

by Chicago Guest Blogger: Courtney Rioux

It's 1989. I'm in second grade and I can't see the board. It's time to get glasses. Glasses aren't cool. Movies are about girls becoming popular by simply putting in contacts and straightening their hair. Did I mention my curly hair? Strike two. Thank God I don't have braces. By the time I get to sixth grade I finally get contacts. Unfortunately, I don't have a straightener. For twenty years, my vision is so bad I can't recognize my mother without contacts or glasses. For all my visually impaired friends, I have a -7.5 and -8.5 contact prescription with astigmatism. For those of you with 20/20 vision, that's bad.

Cut to the present where I achieve a goal I've had for years: 20/20 vision via Lasik surgery. I don't care about the coolness anymore; I really just don't want to be the first to die in a Zombie apocalypse because I lost a contact. "Is that my Mom? Nope, that's a zombie." Dead...ish.

It's the evening of my surgery. The valium has worn off and I'm at home on the couch watching This is Us, and through my tears, I notice the red digital clock on the cable box reads 8:30. I can see the clock on the cable box without glasses or contacts. My surgery took less than five minutes to complete, and like magic, I can see perfectly. Thanks Kraff Eye Institute!

A funny thing happens, though. For almost three months after my Lasik surgery, every night before I go to bed, I think, "I should take my contacts out before I fall asleep." Then I immediately remember I'm not wearing contacts. I don't go so far as to touch my eye to try and take anything out. Still, I habitually keep thinking that thought night after night. I understand why. For more than two-hundred-forty months, I had the thought: "I should take out my contacts before I fall asleep." Now, all of a sudden, I'm supposed to stop thinking the thought just because it wasn't true anymore?

Seven thousand days thinking the same thing created a groove in my brain. It wasn't a harmful thought, and I knew it wasn't true. But it was involuntary. So, I tell my brain, this is no longer necessary to think and it's not helpful. Within three months, the thought stops popping up. And that's a thought without emotional baggage.

Sometimes we have a thought or belief that pops up over and over again about our acting career that is not true and no longer necessary or helpful. Maybe the thought kept you motivated or protected in the past, but it's not longer working (or it never worked in the first place!). Sometimes that thought isn't as harmless as, "I have to take out my contacts." Sometimes that thought causes great pain and blocks us from moving forward with our career.

Here are some habitual, painful thoughts (stories) that might not be working for you, but keep popping up:

Image result for thought barriersI'm fat (I won't get cast.)

I'm tired (I'll never have the energy that X has).

I'm broke (I can't take a few extra hours a week to pursue acting, or, I'll never make enough money acting.

I'm lonely (I can't find my acting squad, I don't have any friends, no-one likes me, etc.)

I can't _____ (act and have a kid, act and keep my relationship, change my habits, etc.)

I'm not _____ (unique, talented, relevant, hot, etc.) enough.

I don't do enough (to meet people in my industry, etc.)

I don't have enough time or money (to act and focus on my family, social life, etc.)

I'll never _____ (make money from acting, be loved by casting directors, impact the world in a meaningful way).

Or fill your own thoughts in the blanks.


Most likely, the thought is not true, or the opposite is just as true or truer than the story you're telling. It's the belief that the thought is true. That's what is painful. The thought is untrue.

So let's allow ourselves to stop thinking untrue, painful thoughts, shall we? Here's what it takes to change your habitual, untrue thoughts:


  1. Become aware of the thought.
  2. Acknowledge that the thought isn't true, or the opposite is even truer.
  3. Replace the thought with a new true thought (usually just the opposite) or a new mantra.
  4. Search for evidence of how this new thought is true in your life or someone else's.
  5. Wash, rinse, repeat.

The thought, "I should take out my contacts" doesn't pop into my head anymore. Now when an old, habitual, painful thought about my acting comes into my head, I think, "Is this like the contacts thought? Useless? Untrue?"

Why is it important to change your untrue thoughts? Because-- aside from the fact that they may cause you pain-- over time, they become deeply ingrained beliefs whether or not they're true. Those beliefs shape your career and the life around you.

You are more powerful than you imagine and you are worthy of thoughts and beliefs that shape the career of your dreams!


Courtney Rioux is an actor, clarity coach, and writer. She helps artists shift from stuck and unhappy to empowered and joyful. You can catch her on NBC’s Chicago Med as Paramedic Courtney. This was a short excerpt from Courtney’s upcoming book. For updates on Courtney’s book and more, head to CourtneyRioux.com and sign up for VIP updates!