I think many actors, when they are first starting out, tend to get bogged down in the negative, saying things like:
“Why am I not getting cast?”
“Why doesn’t my phone ring?”
“What am I even doing here?”
“I should just give up. Most people don’t make it in this business, anyway. Why should I be any different?”
I, myself, have thought these things on multiple occasions! But when I stop asking those questions, and start asking myself the right questions, I find the answers are enlightening, at best, and humiliating at worst. You see, when you find yourself getting frustrated by your career (or seeming lack thereof), you have to address what you are doing to get in your own way. Ask questions like:
“How many projects have I submitted to this week?”
“Have I followed up with my contact people?”
“Am I spending my time in a productive way?”
And for the past couple of months, my answers to those questions were “less than 10,” “no,” and “kind of?” But then, a few weeks ago, my mentor, Peter Pamela Rose, posted in our Facebook group something that immediately made me take action to change my answers to those questions. She encouraged us to, for one week, log how much time we spent on our craft. I decided to track my time for two weeks. In that time, I spent a total of 25.5 hours on my craft. This included things like submitting to projects, reading The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide by Jenna Fischer, meeting up with my fellow Baby Bears, attending seminars, and doing my mailing for commercial representation.
A job is considered full-time if you put in 40 hours per week. Now, 25.5 hours over 2 weeks is DEFINITELY not full-time. But it’s also DEFINITELY more than I had been spending the previous two weeks. And not only did that time spent help me to feel more confident in my talent, and my ability to make it in this business, it actually resulted in my very first Manager! I am proud to share that I am now working with Ken Park Talent on a freelance basis! This means that I am still able to self-submit to projects, and can work with other agents/managers if I choose to, but I also have a better chance of being seen by Casting Directors, which means I have a better chance of booking a role, and actually getting real money to do what I love.
Now consider if I had spent a full 40 hours on my craft in one week. I can’t help but feel that the more time I put in to my craft, the more opportunities become available, and the more success I am able to celebrate. A teacher-friend of mine (who definitely put in WAY OVER 40 hours every week) used to tell her students: DO. THE. WORK. She even had it hanging in her classroom! And she had a point: Do the work, and success will follow.
Next week, I’m going to log my hours again, and I’m going to aim for 40 hours. Let’s see what happens, shall we?
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