Sunday, April 27, 2014

Learning to Trust

It is so important to trust yourself.

Trust that you're good enough, trust that you're doing the right things, trust that you'll meet the right people and find the right path when it is time.

Ready for some unabashed honesty? 'Cause here it is.

I have a hard time unconditionally trusting myself, particularly so during this past week. When I don't trust myself, it comes from a place of fear. A fear of not accomplishing enough, of not living up to other's expectations of me, of not making enough money.

Several loving and enlightening conversations with friends over the past week have led me to realize that just the act of following my dreams makes a difference. There are innumerable people out there in the world who never even proceed to the first step-- having the courage to try.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Luck = Opportunity + Preparation

I would be lying through my teeth if I told you that this was easy. Lately, it's been an uphill battle complete with gremlins pushing me down. Two steps ahead, one step back; that sort of thing.

Sometimes I lay awake at night, asking myself when "my time" will come. When will all of this auditioning and booking jobs come more effortlessly and consistently, when will I feel satisfied with the work I've been putting in versus the tangible outcome I am receiving.

I think the answer is ...never. 

I've been on more auditions in the first three months of 2014 than I have in all of 2013, and it has been a tremendous learning experience. I've also started taking voice lessons, audition coachings, and dance classes again. This is such a funny business; in order to really thrive you need to be constantly enrolled and engaged in practicing and perfecting your craft in order to be prepared when you hit that special moment:


I've been to all of these auditions with no job offers (yet); however....


I'm learning not to care. Or, how not to care so much. I am trying to detach myself from the "result" and just focus on the "process." [Plug in actor-speak here.] It has been so difficult to disassociate how I see myself and the value of my talent from the "result" of all of this auditioning. I have been pushing myself to do things that terrify me; pushing myself to work with the fear and work with the rejection, but it does catch up to me. So often I feel like I killed it in the audition room, or at least made a great impression, to find out that I didn't get a callback. Or that I got the callback, but didn't get the job. 

There are 1,000,001 reasons as to why someone else got the job instead of me, so instead, I am doing my darndest to focus on what I have control over. And to turn the focus around on all of the wonderful, joyful things that I have in my life. *Hello* I just got engaged! I am healthy! I have a great apartment! I consistently have good hair days! I'm smart and I have smart, caring friends! Maybe I should make a little list of these things and keep them in my pocket. 

In this video, casting director Amy Jo Berman tells a story about a young actress who found her success at the brink of throwing in the towel. So maybe all this hand-wringing and exhaustion are all signals that I'm doing the right thing! 

I have to believe that all of this hard work must come back to me. I do not know what opportunity awaits to meet me in the future that will spark....but this preparation isn't for nothing. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Looking back on February

Last year I started keeping a daily journal, logging all my artistic efforts and successes. I have a little calendar that I mark all my auditions. In February:

I went on 17 auditions. Sang for 5 agents. 3 Audition classes. 1 voice lesson. 1 meeting for representation.

After a while I got into the rhythm. February is notorious for being "summer stock" audition season; seemingly every regional theater comes to NYC to audition for it's summer season. Each morning I could wake up and check the audition postings and potentially go to anywhere from 1-4 auditions each day. Realistically, I kept to about one audition per day, but there was one epic day when I went to four.

No wonder I am feeling so tired!

February was a very challenging, but great month for personal growth. I want this more than I ever have before and I'm working harder toward it that I ever have in the past. I am trying to realistically assess my strengths and weaknesses and add more support in those areas. Besides a few side jobs I worked from home, I didn't hold a "regular" job. Auditioning was my job. And through all the emotional ups and downs, I love it so much better than any "day job" I've ever had.

Sadly, as my financial resources are dwindling (thanks, taxes), it's time for me to start going back to working for someone else. I hate that being an actor is not considered a "real job." I've been pulling long, exhausting, and exhilarating days and putting in work after-hours, but with no financial remuneration. Its so challenging on your ego - so often we put our self-worth into the results of our efforts. In terms of the traditional working world, your positive reinforcement is money, promotions, a better office, recognition. In my audition-centric universe of February, I left a little piece of my hard work and spirit in each of those audition rooms, with little to no feedback. Sometimes auditors throw you a bone here and there, "Nice job, Brittany!" "You sound great!" "Lovely job!" but there's always a little voice inside doubting their compliments, that perhaps they are saying these things to throw a little salve on the experience. In the best feedback, you get a callback. Otherwise, you file that audition away as a learning experience and hope that in a few weeks, when you've totally moved on, that you'll be pleasantly surprised by a callback or even a job (this has happened to me countless times....).

And so I consider February to be a personal triumph. I'm not afraid of auditioning and I'm not afraid of putting myself out there. I can do the NYC audition machine thing. But what I learned over all is that the journey truly never ends. In an ideal world I would always be auditioning and gigging. I so look forward to the day when finances don't keep me from achieving my dreams all day, every day.

Oh, and I got a manager! A step in the right direction. I look forward to seeing what doors having another person on my team will bring me.