As a working actor, you have to be able to walk into every audition ready to work and book a job. You’re definitely expected to convey no desperation or even need.
Almost all casting directors will tell you to “just do the work,” yet never express over-eagerness or apologize for anything.
But that’s not necessarily how you’re feeling, right?
You may actually feel like you desperately need this job to pay for your apartment, bills, health insurance, ability to eat. Perhaps you’ve given yourself a tight career time frame. If this potential job does not materialize, then you’re throwing yourself off course and are not “successful” … or any of the infinite variety of other reasons to feel under intense pressure.
“Fake It Till You Make It” Just Can’t Cut It
And so you “fake it till you make it.”
In some ways, you’re asked to give a masterclass in effortless confidence, on top of living your sides. Gosh, that’s a heavy burden to bear.
You need to fake confidence and ease and joy and a get-to-work-attitude. When all you want to do is scream: I’M REALLY GOOD, JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE AND HIRE ME! Right?
You’re absolutely not alone.
This past weekend, I had the immense pleasure of watching A Chorus Line at the Hollywood Bowl. Truth be told, it had an extra dose of thrill for me because, about a gazillion years ago, it was the first adult musical I was ever in! I could even dance. It was thrilling.
Even I cannot believe that. (Can you guess which character I played?!) As an adult actor, I only ever was interested in straight plays and films, not musicals. I certainly was never a triple threat! But man, it was fun. And did I ever learn a lot.
Sitting there in the Hollywood Bowl on a beautiful balmy summer night, as the orchestra warmed up and the cast exploded onto the stage in their dance gear, I immediately remembered why this musical was so important to me as a young artist.
It’s the story of every actor – this calling to express something human and universal, to be bigger than ourselves. And yet, it’s just about your story. That’s it. It ain’t more complicated than that.
“Just Tell Me About Yourself” – So What Do You Say?
Because that is all that was asked of those characters: “Tell me about yourself.”
In fact, the final dancers chosen were both strong in their craft and the ones who shared what mattered most to them.
Working with hundreds of actors over the years, I’ve realized something important about not only the casting process, but your actor daily process. It’s not only about doing what matters most to you – acting, or at least I hope so! – but conveying that with style, simplicity and joy.
That is the secret edge of truly successful professional actors.
We’re going deep here.
I like to sum it up in this little chain reaction:
- Figure out & acknowledge how you really feel (desperate/ excited/ needy/ attached/ enthusiastic/ terrified/etc) –->
- Allow that to be there –->
- Identify what matters most to you –>
- Hyper focus on that & create a plan from it –->
- Execute the baby steps of that plan –->
- Allow the natural confidence to come forth from execution.
It can be simple, but requires concrete, detailed work. So we do the strategy work of the Business of Acting together. You don’t need to “fake it till you make it”. That’s way too heavy. It also gets in the way of letting your craft come through when you need it to.
Just share yourself.
Let those little wins create your own natural confidence. That’s what is truly magnetic and attractive about you. And it’s unique all on its own. You are One Singular Sensation. Now go tell the world all about it.
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