Train Like An Athlete

To start off, I would like to elaborate on the inspiring articles I read last week. I often go through phases where I am extremely motivated, before I go back to my normal self. I don’t know exactly what it was last week, maybe it had to do with reading it in two separate books within a few hours of each other, but I decided to make a commitment, that I would stick to, so I would train like an athlete for the next 5 years. It’s kind of an arbitrary deadline, because it’s not like I plan on giving up in 5 years, but it was the timeline Hugh Jackman gave himself, so if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.

I started by making a list of dream goals, things that are completely out of my control, but that I would love to achieve. Then, since it was while reading Sara Mornell’s Backstage articles that I got the revelation, I bought her book, Even The Best Hookers Need Pimps: How to Be A Working Actor in Today’s Hollywood. It is a very interesting title, but the content is absolutely inspiring. She adresses type, agent meetings, how to prepare and handle auditions, what you can control, and at the end there are interviews with casting directors and actors she coaches. I poured through the book in less than 24 hours and took pages of notes.

I keep a journal, and at the bottom of each day, I have an arrow beside which I write what I did during the day to advance my acting career. Often, I am getting to bedtime and realize I haven’t done anything so I work on lines or do something arbitrary just so I have something to write. It is better than nothing, but I wouldn’t qualify it as training like an athlete. To remedy this, I now have an excel file, where I keep track of everything I have done, and at the end of the day, I have a column where I write how much of my day was dedicated to working on my career. My goal is to get to the point where they are all full days of acting and writing work. A very important difference in how I am working is that it is not only more time that I am spending on my career, I am also being smarter. I have been a big fan of submitting for everything in my age range in the hopes that something sticks, but now that I have discovered my brand, I am submitting myself for things I actually have a good chance of booking. I submit for the smaller part instead of the lead, because I know I can nail it, or I don’t submit at all, because even though I would love the work, it doesn’t fit with my brand of the kind of person I want to show to the world.

Then on Sunday, I watched the SAG awards. If I wasn’t already inspired, this definitely did me in. One of Bonnie Gillespie’s ninja things to do is to make a list of who you would thank if you won one of these awards, so I have started thinking about that, but more than people, I want to have something inspiring and uplifting to say. I have put some of my favorite quotes from the night at the bottom of this post, but the whole show had me on the verge of tears, the kind you get when you’re at a wedding or watching soldiers reunite with their families. Happy tears. And in case you didn’t watch, or didn’t realize this, Uzo Aduba, who we know as Crazy Eyes from Orange is the New Black, she won her SAG award for the role that got her into SAG in the first place. She had an extensive history in theater, but it was her first real film role. I find that inspiring.

On Monday, I helped a friend with a self-tape. Not living in the city, I am often lazy and would rather stay home than drive out and do something, but I made a list of things that are holding me back, and plan to work on all of them. In Sara’s book, she had an interview with Jesse Williams, who plays Jackson on Grey’s Anatomy. He gave a list of things he was doing to try and advance his acting career in New York City, and one of them was to always help friends to learn lines, prepare for auditions or do self-tapes. When you think of it, you’re getting a chance to act, you’re discovering new projects, and you are helping out a friend. How can it not be a winning idea? Anyways, I went to her house and taped her doing a couple of scenes, which will hopefully give me some tips for my self-tapes 🙂

Another result of my enthusiasm last weekend was that I checked out all Toronto agents, as well as helpful resources for actors, and potential acting classes. I saw a notice for an agency that was looking to establish themselves in Toronto and needed actors. I am being cautious since most agencies don’t ever ask for submissions, but it does happen when they are opening a new branch. Anyhow, I have a meeting on Sunday, where I have a scene to prepare. I am going through all of my books on acting, getting all of the advice I can on agent meetings, and using Sara’s steps for tackling audition sides. If it doesn’t feel right, I will walk away having practiced and thus gained confidence for my next agent meeting, and if they seem to be exactly what I am looking for, then I will be able to cross off one more thing from my list 🙂

Wednesday I was on set all day, but during my drive I discovered the Serial podcast. It is really interesting and gets you thinking, so I definitely recommend it if you have a long drive coming up. I unfortunately hadn’t downloaded the whole thing, so I also learnt a lot about some actors I admire from the nerdist podcast. For one, did you know that working for ABC gets you passes for Disney? This is now going on the bucket list 😉

Yesterday we had another rehearsal for the play I am doing in May. I got there early and talked with some of the other actors while we waited for it to start, discussing Toronto vs New York vs LA. It wasn’t a debate so much as sharing experiences, but I definitely enjoyed it.

As a side note, it doesn’t look like I will be making it to Vegas before my birthday, but since the point of that item on the list was to go somewhere exciting for a weekend with friends, I am making an amendment so my upcoming trip to New York with Steve counts. Less gambling, more Broadway, but still a weekend getaway, right?

“I want to say to all you kids in the drama club, you kids are the real actors.”

-Julianne Moore

“Finally I just really, really, really truly want to say, the day I got this job was the day I stopped acting and to be in a room with all you amazing human beings, amazing talents, for what I respect so much and love so much, is really truly the greatest honor,”

-Uzo Aduba

“Thank you to all the people who love me exactly how God made me.”

-Viola Davis

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