By Allen Levin
So much of this acting dream is developing your brain so that you can accept that this is really your life. You have to truly believe down to the fibers of your being that you can and will do this. You put your believes into action on a daily level and you walk up the mountain. It’s all in your brain. When the chips are down, do you believe in yourselves?
I like to lead by example. I believe I should be an acting coach. I have put a couple decades into my acting coach training and I have many success stories under my belt. These are the things I remind myself when I have a star actor wants a private lesson (that’s still intimidating!). I have to remind myself I have plenty to offer someone that could already be a guest speaker. I’m able to challenge and improve artists. This is what I do. So many times I’ve gone into a session with some anxiety only to come out with genuine praise from the artist. Fantastic! This is who I am. This is what I do. What do you do? How do you remind yourselves that you are right for the job?
One way to become strong in your brains is to remind yourselves that no one else is you. Only you have certain truths in your life. That provides big advantages for many roles. Sometimes the director has already envisioned you in the part. She needs you. She needs your face. She needs your talent. You are the only you! Awesome! You qualify to be you. Also you should know that sometimes you are simply the closest around to the actual character. Don’t get in your way. Don’t get too emotionally attached to validation. Sometimes you’ll book roles when you thought they didn’t like you at the audition! No worries. You qualify for your dream. Remind your brain whenever necessary.
All of the successes I know, all of them at a point sooner or later decided that they qualify for their own dreams. As years went on they became stronger and stronger in the brain. They believe in themselves. They believe in their worth. They know that they add value and are willing to work hard. They are flexible and can deliver the goods. Prove to yourselves that you can deliver the goods! Get in a couple really challenging scenes. Scenes that scare you. Do the things that scare you now, when the stakes are zero, so that when the stakes are high you don’t get stressed out.
Take risks. Watch as the risks either pay off or they don’t. The risks should be sensible. Don’t jump off a roof to get subscribers for a Youtube channel. Don’t disguise yourselves as a pizza man and deliver pizzas that weren’t ordered with your head-shots in the box (sound familiar?). These risks are not going to help you and will likely hurt you. Keep an eye on the communication you are sending. Do legitimate artists need to do this? When in doubt, act. Do another scene. Do something that scares you within your work. How about “The Other Sister” or “Brokeback Mountain” or “Trainspotting?”
The more you act, the more your brain will accept that you are an actor. When people ask you what you do, tell them proudly you are an actor. When they say, “What have I seen you in?” You can say, “I’m working right now on a highly functioning autistic character. It’s nearly ready! Just wait, she’ll blow your doors off!” Communicate in a fashion that has integrity and doesn’t hurt your brain power. Don’t sheepishly slink off after saying, “Nothing…..yet. You haven’t seen me in anything yet.” You are better off saying (with humor and a smile, please) “What are you casting?” Most people will get the subtext of (“I share my resume with people that are hiring”). Try not to be too snarky, but don’t let people slow your confidence.
Confidence is a journey. I know people that are big stars that have trouble with confidence. I know a strong talent that comes to me because while the world thinks she is nothing but confident, that’s where she lacks. She appears to be very confident and it’s not the truth. She told me once that she was completely dependent on me and that she wasn’t going to audition unless she worked with me first. I reminded her that she wasn’t. She’s gone on to do even bigger shows than the one she was starring in at the time. She still needs some work on the confidence, and she’s become patient. It’s a journey.
Confidence is your brain power. Why shouldn’t you qualify for your dreams when clearly so many others march confidently out and take theirs? You do. You should. You will. Be patient and tenacious at the same time. Be greedy with your day. Make sure every day you do a little reading, writing, rehearsals, and administration work. Don’t let anyone stop you. These are the things that are going to make you supremely confident. Having a bit of trouble remembering lines? Ok, add memorizing for 15 minutes every day to the list. Memorizing lines will become easier each day. Ultimately you’ll be able to be off book so quickly it will thrill you.
Get confident. Feed your brain with positive thinking each day (15 minutes of reading will get you there). Know that this dream is yours. Join me in a “pinch-me-am-I-dreaming-???” life. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to get your art out there. We need you more than ever.
Onward and UP.