Anthony Robbins said, “If you want to know the secret to happiness, I can give it to you in one word: progress. Progress equals happiness.”
I love this. I agree fully. I believe the reason I’ve attained the happiness from my dreams and beyond is that in 2005 I realized my dream by launching our acting studio and it was a journey that involves yearly progress. I’ve seen our studio get stronger each year. Every year it has a higher caliber of artist. Each year our artists are able to accomplish more together inside and outside of class. It’s been a constant journey of progress. It’s made me truly happy.
Having an acting career is a parallel. You may have a few years where you don’t improve as much as you like, but that is controllable. How much progress you personally make is up to you. There are two important ways of progressing as an actor. We progress in our professional life and we progress in our personal life. Both are long term journeys that don’t have a finish line. Let’s take a look at the one you might not have expected first: the personal life.
Progressing in the personal life involves being selective over whom you allow in your bed, in your bedroom, in your house, on your telephone (for a conversation), and in your life in any capacity. Raise the standards of the type you’ll allow. Do not allow everyone. It’s wonderful and naive to believe that everyone means well. It’s simply not true. There are far too many takers. Those that are supporters of your dream stand a chance. Anyone that isn’t, if they won’t change (and some people will) need to be cut.
Each year your personal lives need to become more and more conducive to your career. This means as we go along the journey if we have a trip planned with people next year that we have to cancel due to a professional acting booking they are flexible and understand more than the people that you’d deal with this year. As we move towards the future, each category of support needs to progress. Ultimately any partner that you have in an intimate relationship needs to be fully supportive of your art. This means they shouldn’t have a problem with you playing someone else’s wife or husband. They shouldn’t have a problem with you stage kissing in rehearsals or in a play or movie. If they do…. it’s time to move on.
Your personal lives also should include a warm and happy place to live. This is also a journey of progress. Some of you live with roommates that make your lives difficult. You feel you must stick with them because you can’t afford your apartment without them. I understand that. Be making steps so that you can get away (move onward and Upward) asap. Each week. Each month. Each year you are improving your personal life. Be patient with yourselves. This isn’t a quick fix. It takes time. List the categories in your life you’d like to improve (keep this list hidden from anyone that might take offense). Over time you’ll notice that each category really does improve. It starts with the desire to improve (the intent) and it continues with the actions we take to improve (the physical movement) it. Each year make progress (even if it’s a baby step every week) and you will get there.
As for my personal life, I’ve been saying for 13 years that my life is the opposite of the movie “Office Space” (which I love). Every day you see me it’s likely the best day of my life. This has been a powerful journey both making changes inward and making changes outward. Each year I find more ways of giving. That is such a wonderful gift. It wasn’t until January 1st 2017 that I started writing. It was a New Year’s resolution. I kept it. I’m so glad I did. I truly hope this writing helps people. I’m not charging for it. I just would like to give. That’s a part of this process. Get yourselves to where you aren’t focusing on what you can take to be happy. Focus on what you can give.
As for your professional lives also know that it’s going to take time. This isn’t a race. This is simply a journey of constant progress. I see some of my friends that I used to do scenes with 20 years ago. They are starring in the really big shows! I just saw another one as a Series Regular on “Mad Men.” Good for her! She kept going. She got better and better. She’s now what she dreamed. It took time. Patience. Focus. Tenacity. Now I see she’s starring in a movie with Danny Trejo set to come out in 2019 (and that has connected us on IMDB as I did one with him about 15 years ago) at a point you’ll all have a movie with Trejo. He works a lot! It’s a right of passage for any actor. All of you go book a movie with Danny. Super nice guy.
In any case if you are in rehearsals daily, along with reading and writing, this thing is going to happen. Your progress will be more evident at times and at times it may seem to slow. Keeping yourselves challenged on an artistic level is your job. Find roles you love. Find roles that scare you. Play roles that offer variety. Can you play low functioning autistic? Deaf? Blind? Can you play a killer? Can you play someone falling head over heels in love? Rehearse. Progress.
This is a long and wonderful journey and the rewards can’t be described here. I’m so excited for you to get past your own blocks and see what’s on the other side. You can do it. You can survive. You can rehearse. You can challenge yourselves and see constant progress. Give it time. Come join us! It’s in the work each class. We are ON tonight at 7:30 pm at Two Roads Theatre in Studio City. If you are in LA you owe it to yourselves to take in a class at Lifebook. Sending you all love and wishes for speedy progress no matter where you study.
Onward and UP.