An actor’s career is often a complicated one. It’s never easy to get the audition you really want or more so the part you know you would be perfect for. An actor’s journey to success is a bumpy ride, full of small pebbles, big rocks and sometimes even mountains. It’s the road of ups and downs, friends and foes, agents and casting directors leading up to the ultimate prize of success.
There’s a trend of advice among success coaches out there, in the entrepreneurial world: visualize your goals. It as if they all came into an agreement to suggest this strategy so that it would look as if it’s working, and who says they didn’t? But the positive, naive and ambitious person inside of you probably believes that visualizing your goals, knowing where you’re going and creating a business plan of your acting career is a key to one of those locks on the door with a star and your name on it.
Today’s advice is a simple one: visualize yourself where you want to be and then make sure you know how you’re getting there. Take the imaginary paintbrush and paint your journey to success. To put you on the right path, here is what you need first…
Paint Your Journey to Success
1. The ultimate goal of where you want this journey to get you.
Last week, Kevin Spacey already taught us about the difference between desire and commitment. Unfortunately, there are a lot of actors that are still meandering around without a clear sense of what they have to do in order to achieve something. Their journey to success is tampered with their wishes and dreams; they spend too much time thinking about what they should have done or could have done instead of taking action. Do not be one of these actors. Take that paintbrush and start working on the picture in front of you.
Have a vision of your future. Set yourself clear goals on what is your primary focus. Is it the stage, film or television? Maybe you prefer comedy or improvisation shows? Or maybe, throughout this journey to success, with all the passion for acting that you have, you actually prefer writing over performance? Be honest about your beliefs, passions and goals. Make sure you can see them clearly in your mind. Start painting. In the mean time, here are some additional questions to ask yourself about your journey to success that will help you form the image you’re working on.
What kind of a performer are you going to be? Whose posters are going to be hanging on your walls? Yours? What kind of car are you planning to buy after your first big paycheck? Do you have a dream house that you always wanted to live in? What films/plays/shows are you going to be working on when you have the opportunity to choose? What makes you happy? You will come up with more questions as you create this imagine of yours, full of color and ambitions. If you’re having trouble visualizing it all, start writing it down or possibly — actually painting.
2. Shape the form of your journey to success and work on details.
You need to paint this picture with certainty. Your journey to success needs its edges, otherwise you’ll be stranded in the middle of this big image without road signs of where to go. Think of things, places and people that will get you to where you need to be. Analyze your current situation: remember who always pushed you forward and who held you back, in what places were you the most creative artist, what inspires you and motivates you. All these things are the edges of this path, this journey, this picture.
Painting this journey to success is much like writing an artistic business plan for your acting career. Create lists of pros and cons for different situations. Make up lists of what you have in your life right now, what you need to cut loose and what to gain. For example, if you’re a little low on money, maybe you need to get rid of that habit of daily shot of caffeine from Starbucks, or clubbing every Friday night. If you feel that during your auditions you’re always too much in your head, maybe you need to take some improvisation training classes and work on letting go of your self-consciousness.
Think of small goals you need to accomplish and place them somewhere in that picture so that you would always see and remember them. Each one of those little goals connects to the other one, thereby bringing you, the main person in the picture, to the end point of this imaginary journey. The ultimate prize from the first step above.
3. Paint more faces and real people into the picture as your support team.
It’s very difficult to fight the battles of rejection after rejection on your own. You need your team of support to be there with you, surrounding you in that imaginary picture of your journey to success. These people could be anybody who makes you feel good about yourself, who motivate you, who inspire you, who never turn you down when you’re in need of some physical or emotional help. Most importantly, make sure to leave out those who discourage you from pursuing your dream, people who bring you down and restrain you from developing your inner creativity. Leave them be, and move on.
Pick anybody you currently know: your family, friends, acting teachers, career advisers, mentors and idols, casting directors, talent agents, managers, directors, writers — it does not matter. Whatever the reason you have chosen a place for them in your painting, make sure they are worth it. Be certain about how you feel about these people. We’re back to giving shapes and edges to your path, and it’s important to be concrete. You need to see a light somewhere in this maze, and you need to know how you are getting out.
Entertainment industry is overflowing with sleazy pretend-to-be agents and managers who wish to hire you and suck you out dry. There are a lot of scams around every corner. As you go along, you will learn how to identify them and avoid them; for now, when you’re still inexperienced, lean on and trust the support of your team. You have chosen to trust them, so please do. Take into consideration the advice they provide, and if you fail — they will always be there to help you stand up and get back on your feet. These people are part of your journey to success, they are there for you, so never forget to reward them for the dedication and support they provide.
In the end, it’s all about three things:
- Visualizing your ultimate prize
- Knowing how you will get there
- And having the means to get it
This metaphorical painting of your journey to success is an on-going process. You will be moving things around in the image as you go along learning from your success and failures. Don’t be afraid to adjust to whatever comes up, but always — to use the old cliche — keep your eyes on the (ultimate) prize. It’s your number one motivation.