2020 has been a masterclass in one of the most important lessons for an actor:
Do your best, and let it go.
So many things are out of the control of actors. You can train, you can prepare, you can be the most talented person in your category on the planet. But if you are not what casting is looking for, you won’t get the role.
There are few ways you can hold this.
You can choose to focus on how unfair it is that you worked so hard to deliver an amazing audition and still didn’t get the role.
You can choose to focus on how unfair it is that you didn’t even get a chance to audition for a given role.
Or you can focus on what IS in your control. This is the “do your best” piece.
Focusing on those things that are out of your control will not help you succeed. It will only make you feel crazy and detract from the quality of your one precious life.
Instead, you can focus on what IS in your control.
Here are some things that are generally in control for an actor (or the parent of one):
- Level and quality of training (classes have moved to Zoom, and so can you!)
- Educating yourself on how the industry works
- Keeping headshots up to date
- Keeping your resumé up to date
- Keeping necessary documents up to date (passport, work permit, Coogan account, etc.)
- Developing special skills
- Keeping your online profiles up to date on Backstage, Actors Access, Casting Networks etc.
- Staying in shape and taking care of your “instrument”
- Watching great performances with a critical eye to understand them
- Keeping your social media professional
More important than any of those by far: managing our attitude, or mindset.
How we hold what happens (for example, “life happens FOR me, not TO me”), how we speak to ourselves about the events of our lives, how we frame our experience, is everything.
You can do all of the other things on the above list to perfection, but if you aren’t a master at managing your attitude, you aren’t likely to go far.
2020 challenged every one of us in ways we could not have foreseen. The entire industry went sideways. Our resources have been stretched and our relationships tested. Some have broken under the strain. Some have blossomed.
Throughout this year, as I watched things fall apart and fall together in unexpected, sometimes painful, and sometimes beautiful ways, I found myself thinking,
“Do your best, and let it go.
Just do your best, and let it go.”
This is what I tell every young actor to do as they approach an audition, and what I coach their parents to teach them.
It’s all any of us can do. It’s a good mantra for an actor, and it turns out to be a very good mantra for a global pandemic.
The “let it go” piece is just as necessary as the “do your best” piece, because if you can’t let something go then you cannot move on. You can’t be at peace. Obsessing about what we might or should have done differently is a recipe for pain and failure.
If we genuinely should have done something differently, that’s OK. It’s a chance to learn something. And then let it go and move on, incorporating that learning.
I’ve always believed that acting training is good for everyone, and that the lessons an actor learns are good lessons for life.
2020 has underscored this for me and reminded me yet again of the power of doing my best, and then letting it go. I imagine that 2021 will be a good year for this mantra too.
And as the industry continues to come back to life—slowly and safely—we can do our part to be ready with all of the things that are in our control, starting with how we approach this new normal.
Doing our best, and then letting it go.
If you would like to get your new year off to a strong, safe, and successful start, book a Zoom consultation with me. In just 60 or 90 minutes we can cover your concerns, and create a detailed action plan. I look forward to speaking with you!