By Allen Levin
When I was a kid I loved the gold star chart my mom had on the refrigerator. 25 gold star stickers on the fridge = a trip to Showbiz Pizza (later renamed Chucky Cheese)! My father would spoil me with about $5.00 worth of tokens! 20 games!! Awesome. And all I needed to do was earn 25 gold stars and every time the stars made it to the bottom of the chart I could go? Amazing! Yes. Good deeds and chores here we come! I loved focusing on that chart. It certainly made me a lot easier to handle as a youngster. I remember counting gold stars and being proud of this accomplishment. Wow! I’m already at 14. Only 11 more and we are at the arcade!
The kid in me that loves gold stars is still ever present. I like to challenge myself, keep score, and award myself celebrations. The truth about the acting industry is that most of your big accomplishments will go unrewarded unless you reward yourselves. Getting paid isn’t enough. You should do something nice for yourselves as to create a hunger for more bookings, more signings, more scene wins, etc. Create a system of focus and be sure to “pay” yourselves when you have earned a reward.
As we “score” we improve, however, there is no degree that will get you signings. There is no certificate or even perfect resume that ensures you’ll get the booking you desire. Keep score. Challenge yourselves.
How many days in a row have you:
1. Read at least 15 mins nonfiction towards your dream?
2. Written anything original for at least 15 mins?
3. Done at least 20 mins worth of administration work (submitting, resume refining, reel editing, working on business cards, fliers, contacting industry (even on social media), etc
4. Worked on memorizing lines (or any text) for at least 15 mins
5. Rehearsed at least one hour with another actor for an acting scene?
6. Worked on improv with another actor for a minimum of 15 minutes?
7. Sent out a new submission to an agent or a manager?
Each day in each category should be a point! Get to 10 points, celebrate! Get to 100 points CELEBRATE! And on we go! Within those journeys you’ll have validation from the world as well. Bookings and signings are coming, but that’s not the goal. The goal is your own personal best score! The signings are a bi-product of what you are creating for yourselves.
***How many weeks in a row have you taken any real risks for your career? Once again, make this a game. 12 weeks? Celebrate! 52 weeks in a row? Give yourselves a great BIG reward! Now onward to 100!
Allow everything to be a game.
What is your booking percentage for your last 10 auditions? Beat that percentage with the next 10? Celebrating will help you beat your new best score.
Define precisely what your goals are and work with a task list. You can assign points to each, if you’d rather turn everything into one game. When you get to 10,000 points, it’s a trip to Vegas! Stay at the Bellagio. You’ve earned it.
If you can enjoy all of this: You. Will. Last.
As long as you don’t quit, and you remain positive, you will walk up this mountain and find yourselves ultimately going beyond your dreams. You will bring people up with you and you’ll have a loving family. You’ll find the happiness and creative satisfaction you deserve. This is all a process. It’s going to take quite a while.
If you want instant gratification, roll the dice elsewhere, gambler! This is a delayed gratification plan with hard and rewarding (be sure to reward yourselves) work! So, let’s dig in. Let’s keep scores. Over the long run we will create a real body of work. This isn’t a guess. This isn’t a joke. This is real life. This is consistent work. Let’s challenge ourselves to our new personal best score.
Let’s make it all the way to Chucky Cheese! $5.00 in tokens! I’m buying!