Being present, being alive, being “in the moment” are all phrases we use in acting class and with the show aspect of this profession when it comes to engaging our minds deep enough for us to believe a character enough and present them so that our audience enjoys the willing suspense of disbelief. But allow me to address something that is obviously far more applicable to those who have “left home” for another marketplace…but just because it isn’t Nashville to L.A., doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply.Let’s say you grew up in a rural part of Texas, then moved to Dallas, or a rural part of deep deep up state New York…and are now in Manhattan. Either way, London to L.A., Sydney to L.A. or just Cleveland to Chicago…the bottom line is, you’re now in a new environment even if the surroundings can some times be “similar to home” or at the other end…a complete departure from home. After living in Los Angeles, from Nashville, via two years in Atlanta…I have watched literally thousands of actors come and go. Attractive, young, hopeful, older, mature, seasoned, educated, with money, without money, character, skills, comics, serious actors and most of all…VISITORS.
One of the main elements that I have found that is common amongst frustrated, depressed or flat out in a space of simply “quitting” is…home. I’m not sure what it is inside of us, the performing artists, who want to “make money” at this art…and eventually call it a career or profession but there is this odd sort of “temp attitude” that seems to exist when you’ve moved. If you’ve not ever moved, born into a decent marketplace or simply like living and staying where you’re from…then this will not really be as much of an issue. The issue for you then becomes an issue of comfort and complacency within your “known town.” But if you have moved don’t just move…really SETTLE in to wherever it is you now call home. Also realize that if you’ve given yourself a “time frame” of how long you’re willing to be in that marketplace and therefore it doesn’t bother you as much to be a visitor, then please, stick to your time frame and LEAVE that place when the time frame is up.
There is nothing worse and will have more of a negative affect on YOU than living/being in a geographical location that you basically never call home, feels like home or that you consciously choose to “make a home” while there. The old political word, carpetbagger, existed for a reason because the locals were offended by you, coming into their town, and then becoming a representative for them when you’re not from there. While that is not an accurate analogy to what I’m discussing the concept of “never really being present” does matter. It is so funny how so many actors I’ve met over the years constantly complain about “how actors are treated” and yet what I have seen actors do to other actors is DIRECTLY related to the concept of “visiting.”
You know the old scenario of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” and a lot of that would be considered from various moments at clubs or out…as “bad behavior.” Well certain types of behavior are more accepted in Vegas or many other vacation settings…because you’re leaving soon. Well when you make the artistic city to which you’ve moved…only a temporary, visitor, or actor vacation type place in your mind…then there is a large part of you that is NOT PRESENT…literally everyday. I strongly encourage you, as small as the world is today, to NOT have this temp mentality both for you, the people you meet and over the long haul of your life. Life is short but bad treatment is forever.
Work to “settle in” find a shop or a store or a location and some regular “little actions or activities” that help you make the place to which you’ve now moved as an actor…BE HOME…to you. We all should have, and often do have, a sense of pride about our cars, dwelling, appearance etc. I want you to go one step deeper and create a sense of ownership to the town in which you reside. You’re not a carpetbagger and you’re not a visitor, and while it isn’t home…you need to be present to do your best work as an actor and to find the strength to “handle this business” and continue to pursue it actively.
Always on your side, @TheKevinE