1.Produce. Produce. Produce!
It's more and more common these days for actors to become hyphenates. We are creators. We are artists. So whether it's theatre, film, pilots or web series you're into creating, it's best just to dive right in and get those projects going. There's nothing more rewarding than collaborating and creating when the string of auditions have all of a sudden become shorter for a few months; it keeps you focussed on your creativity and really, that is the challenge: to stay in your creativity through the tough times.
Right now I'm about to shoot a short that my own production company and a friend's production company are collaborating on. How did the project come about? From being introduced to an actor/writer (via a circle of friends who are a part of AMAW Studios) who had several fantastically written projects ready to go. The actor/writer managed to see a screening of one of my most recent films and wanted to work together right away, asking me to direct and play a role in this particular project - we also have one theatre project, a feature idea and two more shorts lined up.
So it's important to find an artistic community that keeps you inspired and pro-active - you never know who you'll be introduced to, or who wants to pull you onto their next project. We have to be braver and bolder as artists to show up with ideas and start working in a very non-precious way - it keeps it all moving forward and before you know it you have a slate of projects that can be pitched and already-made content backing you as an awesome actor hyphenate! If you don't know where to start with all this, I'd always say people are the best resource-- dare to go to people you know who are already doing this and ask the questions. Keep your artistic soul alive!
Our LA correspondent Christina has blogged about this awesome lady once already in her 'top 10' post -- I'm going to open up a little more on her as I discovered her work at the start of January. Her name is Wendy Braun.
It's very easy to busy our lives with the hustle of the industry and distract ourselves from what is really going on with us, so much so that we don't even realise we're doing it! The work that I have done via Wendy Braun has provided huge paradigm shifts for me, a lot of inner work that actually affects the outer. If you're feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and stuck within the confines of the industry and/or in parts of your life then her course is hugely worth it. There's a lot of self realisation that comes up about your desires too which I have found particularly useful. It's a good way to just breath, relax and focus on joy being the success of your life more than any job or idea of what your career/life 'should' look like.
No I don't mean like Robots In Disguise. Although that would be pretty awesome. By 'transform' I mean re-brand or change something in your life. Give yourself a new focus.
I'll use myself as an example. For me this was to do with my body which I knew would effect my 'cast-type'. A friend of mine introduced me to Kris Gethin's 8 week transformation challenge, a completely free online video trainer from a really brilliant body builder (you can see all his stuff at https://www.kagedmuscle.com). It was a tough commitment for sure, BUT the point is in what I have just written: commitment. I gained a new focus in my life, something I was set on doing every morning upon waking, making it work around any castings or jobs that came up, setting my mind to a very very specific task and feeling that I'm challenging myself more and more each day of the 8 week period.
Overall, my mind and body are better for it - on top of that my body has drastically changed and it has certainly moved my casting into a different bracket which is working in my favour. Also, it took my mind off the obsession of being seen and getting work which gave more space for those roles to start landing - something to consider!
Your transformation may not be about the gym. It may be about a new haircut you've been considering but been too scared to take the jump, or to take that meditation retreat you've been thinking about but fear missing out on auditions/jobs along the way. Whatever it is, take the leap - life is too short to be in worry of not being there for the industry, it's really all about being there for you and doing those things you wish to do to improve your life. Don't get sucked into the acting industry vortex, stay out in the open of the wonderful wilderness that is life.
4. Re-connect With The Business Of Acting
This is contradictory to the above, but still certainly needs to be mentioned and I do touch on it where necessary-- but let that be heard loud and clear: only when it's necessary. Secondly, in small doses. I say that because this kind of work can potentially be obsessive to the point where you feel all the answers lie in your branding, etc and whilst it's important to know your business, it's also good to balance that with enjoying your life.
There are three awesome ladies I can recommend to delve into on this subject: Bonnie Gillespie, Dallas Travers & Amy Jo Berman.
All three are useful in very individual ways - so if you're looking to find out your current brand and how you can make that attractive to buyers (agents, producers, directors, managers, casting directors) or not sure where to start on how to look for an agent, want tips on self taping whatever it may be there's a lot you can learn from these coaches. They're all very honest and have brilliant tools to help all, so I'll leave the rest to you guys to scout through their sites to see what hits home for you.