As most people know, it’s a brutal battle trying to make it in the entertainment industry. With so many hopefuls longing to fulfill their dreams of being on the stage and screen and only so many jobs to go around, they are far more likely to have more lows than highs in their pursuits. And with a few very rare exceptions, most have to work for a long time before they see any kind of breakthrough. Thus, most actors learn very quickly that in order to see any kind of progress in their artistic careers, they have to work their butts off honing their craft. During my time in New York, I would frequently see actors sign up for one audition, then hop across town to sign up for two more auditions that same day, all while finding the time to fit in a dance class and singing lesson before the day is over. You learn to be an early riser, as many sign up sheets go up at the crack of dawn and if you wait even a little bit, you could find yourself in slot 300 on the list, and wait around all day only for them to stop seeing people before your number, then you’ve wasted your day. You also have to develop arm strength as well, as you get used to hauling around a bag containing not only your audition material, but also a few extra outfits, makeup, hair products, and all the other things you need for your day (keys, wallet, snacks, etc.).
Although I’ve been out of that environment for a little over three years, I’ve still found myself clinging to old habits in my day to day life. I’ve always been an early riser, but recently my motivation for getting up early has had more to do with a desire to get as much done in a day as I can rather than any biological makeup. I’ve had multiple people comment on how overstuffed my bag is whenever I come in to work, but I’ve had it drilled into me to be as prepared as possible, even if the need never arises. And although I haven’t had to audition in quite a while, whenever I read a play, I make a mental note to keep an eye out for any monologues that may suit me. Although I’ve been away from the New York theatre scene for some time, I still constantly feel this hunger to both prove myself by improving my acting skills.
So how does one deal with this while being stuck at home?
Being stuck at home and unable to flex my artistic muscles has honestly been an adjustment for me, and I can’t imagine how it is for those actors still living and working in New York (my heart truly goes out to you). But as I alluded to in a previous post, I’ve managed to find a few ways to stay busy and fulfill that creative urge. I’ve been practicing the guitar and ukulele, both things that I kept putting off with the excuse of being too busy before. I’ve been getting up early to work out and keep in shape. I’ve been actively learning monologues and filming myself doing them (albeit with bad camera angles) to keep working on my acting. But most importantly, this time at home, as hard as it is, has allowed me to take a step back and recognize what I do well, which is frankly something I wasn’t able to do during my time in New York, with the constant scramble to make a living while fitting in classes and auditions. In taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate my strengths instead of just zeroing in on my weaknesses, I have realized that I can be more positive and therefore productive with my time. While we’re all stuck at home, I’d encourage everyone to just take a little time out of your day to acknowledge something that you excel at and take that bit of positivity with yourself throughout the day.
Thanks for reading, stay safe!