Written by Rhonda Musak
On Facebook, American Theatre Magazine does a fantastic job of engaging its fans in an ongoing compelling conversation. In answer to one of their questions that they post on a daily basis, I recently read a reply that went something like this:
“I’m so afraid that I will never be able to make my living from acting and will be stuck doing terrible and uninspired showcases for my whole career.”
I could not locate the original post so I’m paraphrasing; however, that was basically it. It was posted a few weeks ago and my heart has been aching for that person ever since—and not necessarily because of their incredible hopelessness (though, that does make me sad), but more because of how that hopelessness and the accompanying fear can get in the way of possibility and actually prevent this desire from happening.
Many actors do indeed make their full living by acting—in the realm of the possible it certainly is something that is possible to do. But, if that’s not happening right now, will it happen in the future? No one knows! Simply, no one knows. Not knowing the future is our human condition; we only have this moment during this day and that exactly is what we have to work with.
In the world of the solution-focused, whatever you put your attention on you create more of. Since we really don’t know what the future will bring, to what advantage is it to hold on to something that might or might not happen in a future that has yet to be lived? The present moment is so very ripe with all sorts of possibilities for creation, especially for an actor who truly wishes to change his or her situation.
The point is to be doing it, to be acting. Acting can be accomplished through a variety of channels: auditioning for theater, film and TV projects; taking acting classes; attending workshops; creating a one-person show and performing in town and at festivals; putting together a play reading group; producing yourself in your dream project. Goodness gracious, you can even pick up a play in the privacy of your own home and read it out loud from beginning to end playing all the roles! The possibilities are truly endless as are the opportunities that can come from any one of these actions. For those who are willing to take their acting careers in their own hands, the results can be surprising and often filled with joy. When we feel like we have no options because we are only waiting to be chosen by the powers that be, we can feel caged in and at the mercy of auditioners, casting directors and agents.
However, as a wise teacher once put it, if the joy of acting no longer outweighs the challenges it might be time to put it down and focus on something else in life. Life is filled with polarity: regardless of what we choose to do there are definitely going to be challenging moments, but, in the precarious world of acting where the show always closes and the job always comes to an end, fear and hopelessness make dreadful traveling companions. If you’re planning on sticking around in this business then choose to do it in ways that feel good and bring you hope; a joyful actor is ultimately a commodity that’s worth its weight in gold. And who knows, this optimistic and proactive stance might just lead to every possibility of earning a living doing just what you love to do: act!
Rhonda Musak is the owner of NYC acting studio, Art & Soul Acting. As an acting coach and an Erickson-trained, solution-focused life coach, Rhonda blends powerful acting techniques together with transformation solution focused life coaching; a dynamic combination that insures that students learn sustainable acting tools as well as know when to use them and why.
For more information about acting classes, private acting coaching in person or via Skype, college prep program and the Art & Soul Acting Book Club for Actors’, please visit www.artandsoulacting.com