In 2018, I resolve to act, write, and go out to do something every day. I resolve to work at least 40 hours every week on my career. I absolutely loved having CONFIDENCE as my word for 2017, and would want to keep it for this year as well, but I think you’re not supposed to, so I am going with COURAGE. As in have the courage to go up and talk to that person, to ask for help, to chase after my dreams, to do the things that scare me, to not be afraid to fail, because at least it means I’m trying. Most of all, the COURAGE to believe in myself when it is so much easier to stay small.
Here are the goals I hope to accomplish this year:
Believe I’m Kickass
For years now, I have been saying that I want to play kickass characters. Spies. FBI agents. Someone who survives in a post-apocalyptic world. I dabble in stunt classes, I learn some stage combat, I get my gun license…still no one ever wants to cast me in those roles. Recently, I realized that it may be because although I want to play these characters, I don’t really believe myself as them either. I took the classes, but I don’t exactly feel confident in the skills. So, to remedy this, I am giving myself this year to convince myself that I can be kickass (or play a kickass character, but they’re kind of the same thing, right?). Since the scariest part of my stunt stage classes was at the beginning, when they would have us jog for longer than I was capable of at the time, I am going to work on my stamina and strength as well. The plan is to spend the next few months training, mostly on my own, to be stronger, tougher and have more endurance (speaking of tougher, perhaps I’ll revisit the Tough Mudder training plans?). Once I am no longer intimidated by the non-stunts part of the course, I will take classes and develop the skills I want to have. Stunt classes. Combat classes. Gun ranges. Some of it will be revisiting what I have already learnt to be more confident in the execution of it, but I want to learn new stuff as well. Then, once I believe that I’m Kickass, I will work on convincing others (headshots, stunt reel, attitude). By actually forcing myself to follow through on not just a class, but an actual skillset and confidence in it, I will either realize that I like the idea more than the actual thing, or I will put in the work and show myself, and everyone who thinks I’m too sweet that there is a lot more to me than meets the eye. I am okay with either outcome, as long as I don’t half-ass it, but actually put in the effort. I will be reaching out to people I know in the industry and asking for advice once I get the ball rolling (because I don’t want to bother anyone until I would not be making a fool of myself), but I am still very open to any and all tips and suggestions. For this and anything else on the list
The Dark Shack
Ideally, I will find something that I love and work hard at it so it becomes a new skill on my CV. However, the point of this goal is to go out there and try new things. Pole dancing. Horseback riding. Learning a new language. Trying a new dialect. Rock climbing. Actually using my boxing gloves. Trying my hand at archery. I hear they even have lightsaber combat classes. There’s a world of possibilities, and I want to try some of them.
Send a book to Publishers
After giving myself the goal of publishing a book, and then of making a story I wrote ready to be published, this year I am going to actually send something out to publishers. Luckily, I am friends with some really awesome published authors, so in addition to research, I can also ask for some insight. I don’t know if I’m more terrified of having people that I do know read my books, or people that I don’t know, but I plan to do both within the next year, then sit back and watch my comfort zone grow.
Film Something I wrote
This is one of the resolutions from last year that I achieved, and I would like to do again this year. Ideally, it would be a Member Initiated Project (MIP), which is what ACTRA calls the really low budget content that their union actors create. I would therefore have to become ACTRA for it to be an MIP, but the requirement here is just to film a short that I wrote, using the knowledge that I gained from The Anniversary last year. Some very talented friends of mine are already planning on us writing an anthology of shorts and filming them in the new year, so I hope to be really busy creating content, rather than waiting around for others to cast me. I am really lucky to have these incredibly badass friends like Danny, Nir, Michaela, and so many others who are just constantly releasing content. They inspire me so much, and I want to be like them; the ones who do stuff instead of just talking about it.
Build my Toronto Show Bible
In the entertainment industry, a show bible is what the writers use to keep track of all the characters in a show (absolutely everything they know about them) and how they are connected. My show bible starts with me, and includes everyone I know in the industry, and the information I might know about them. It’s a much lesser version of what Bonnie Gillespie recommends, but I’m working my way up. I could technically just write down everyone I currently know in Toronto who is somehow connected to the acting industry, but what I really mean is that I want to build it up. I want to go out and meet people at networking events, work with them on sets, get cast by them after an audition…I want to build up my Toronto network.
The 2 camps in April and July, then the main event in November. I have so many stories and ideas and I work best with a deadline and something tracking my word count, so this is the best way for me to get the creative juices flowing and finish things.
15 Speaking Days
I’m putting the same number as last year, even though 2017 was very good to me, because I am taking into account the fact that I moved to a new city where I don’t know that many people and there is a lot of competition, as well as hoping that I will have to be doing them on union projects. I wrote “have to” in the sense that I won’t be able to do non union sets anymore, but it goes without saying that I mean “get to” and I am saying it with a humongous smile and way too much excitement.
50 Networking Events
This seems like a whole lot compared to the 15 I was trying for last year, and it’s also more than I actually achieved in 2017, but as I have resolved to go out and do something every day, and I am really lax about the definition, I figure 50 is reasonable. This can be going to a play or a screening, attending a film festival, going for coffee with a director, getting tea with a fellow actor, grabbing lunch with a casting director, meeting people at Toronto Cold Reads…not so much events as just going somewhere and talking to someone in the industry. I don’t want to worry about getting to a certain number so much as actually getting to know people and building relationships. So the 50 is more of a suggestion, to encourage myself to face the cold (or tear myself away from Netflix) to interact with real people. (Also, apparently every event I go to has to have a picture of me listening to someone talk?)
Since these are more goals than resolutions, I decided to include 2 items that I have no control over the outcome. They’ve been on my list many times before, and I won’t make excuses or give myself ultimatums to get them done this year, but I will put them out to the universe, and hustle to make them happen.
Get an Agent
I did a sendout when I first moved to Toronto and got a few meetings, so when I go back next week, I will follow up with them, as well as people who haven’t gotten back to me yet, and take the people who have offered me help up on their offers. I can’t exactly make this goal happen, but I can ensure that I do everything in my power to put the odds in my favor.
I know. Again? What happened to the “I’m getting in this year or I’m signing up for school in Vancouver!”? Or getting in through background work? Or all of the other ultimatums I have given myself? Believe me, I know. Nothing has changed, really, other than my acceptance that it will happen when it happens, and my feeling that I am ready for it. Which doesn’t mean much in terms of actually making it happen, but it is still one of my biggest goals this year. Luckily, Toronto seems to be a town where you can make decent money as a non-union actor, but I would still love to join. My plan is to start off the year with “100 days to join ACTRA”, so I would do at least one thing every day to get myself into the union. I will go to the ACTRA branches and meet with the people there to understand my options (as in I won’t be afraid to ask for help, or advice). I will get into the rooms where ACTRA productions are being cast (by getting invited for an audition, not by thwarting security). I will be the best darn extra on sets so if they need someone for an upgrade, I’ll be their girl. I can join AABP and do my 200 days/1600 hours (if I decide it’s worth it to give up on non union work). I will create my own content and be so awesome that those with the power to cast me can’t help but notice me. Basically, this isn’t really a goal of getting into ACTRA, so much as that I resolve to constantly be doing everything I can do to be so amazing that ACTRA really wants me in their union. Which has the same outcome, but I would rather get in because I earned it than because I wore them down (although if that works, I’m not opposed to trying it).
As for last year’s resolutions, it will take me a little more time to finish reading my Shakespeare, I have to wait for the premiere of D33P W3B (or find another friend) to learn how to drive stick and I’m still working on my cake, muffin and cookie recipes. I did, however, film a short that I wrote, and am able to cry when I need to, both on set and in life. Even though I only won 1 of the 3 Nanowrimo events I participated in, it was because suddenly my life was more exciting than the lives of the characters I was creating. I went way over the 15 networking events, and speaking days on set, then went above and beyond my November Nanowrimo word count, where I was writing about my own life (probably not the best idea emotionally, but boy do the words flow). I chose to finish Shards of Glass instead of Owens, because I felt one needed more time and work than the other, and I didn’t want to rush through the editing process just so I could check a resolution off a list. Because last year I realized that while my goals and plans are really important, I also need to be open to change, and to things I hadn’t planned for. I don’t want to sit down next year to go over my list and realize I didn’t accomplish anything but binge watch Netflix, but I also don’t want to stay home and check off boxes when I can be out there making friends, falling in love or living life.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”