At the end of the year, this may be the most important Blog you’ll ever read, both for your sanity and your lifestyle. You see, I too sat one day in a theatre alone watching a movie and said to myself, yep that is what I’m going to do. It was a huge life and profession direction change for me, and now the better part of my life has gone by after that one fateful day. I don’t say that because I have regrets or…that I in any way wish I’d made a different decision. I say it because time simply FLIES that’s all. Regardless of how mindful you are your 30s and 40s, once there, will simply be the fastest 20 years of your life…without question. It is typically when we’re the most involved with raising a family and/or building our lives and careers. One day you were sad about turning 30 and the next thing you know you’re sliding into 50. Trust me it happens that fast and it isn’t necessarily bad at all, it just is.
Yet one of the more common issues I have been faced with at both the “Issue-time” sessions that I created at The Actors’ Network or in one of my over 1000 private consultations with hopeful and pursuing actors in Los Angeles…was this sense of guilt or oppression about “being an actor.” Folks this is NOT a prison sentence nor are you some indentured SERVANT simply because you like to perform, hear clapping, indulge in fantasy and characters or just can’t help yourself. It is just you. But just because it is you does NOT, in any way, mean that you’re required to pursue it as a profession. I think this is the biggest source of out and out pain that I’ve witnessed in my life. A passion for performing does not mean moving your life, your family, altering who you are or sacrificing one element of your natural life’s desires…to go be a STAR. Uh…NO. Stop, don’t do it, unless you have to.
The joy, the love, the internal satisfaction of purely performing is something you can just enjoy in your town, home city and local place of performance. It’s all good for you and nothing more is required. Regardless of how many people tell you that you have a great voice you don’t have to try out for American Idol or The Voice. Regardless of how many people comment on how funny you are does not mean that you’re meant for the life of a stand-up comic or comedic writer. Pull up on YouTube the following song, and listen to it, REALLY closely: Mr. Tanner (by Harry Chapin). This song truly sums up exactly what I’m expressing to you and it can’t be said any clearer.
In the song, it doesn’t mean that perhaps Mr. Tanner couldn’t have necessarily “become” a great singer but it does mean that it has to be “in you” to want to put yourself in front of the scrutiny of the paying public and the producers/creators/investors of such projects. No, I didn’t ruin the song, so still go and listen to the damn thing. J All I’m saying to you is that you don’t have to leave your home, you don’t have to traverse the world and come to Hollywood and you certainly don’t even have to feel required to “create something yourself” at home for YouTube consumption. NONE of these things are required and if you catch yourself doing it “just to see” or to “give it a shot” or cuz someone else said “you should” then be careful…because you might look up and realize 15 years have gone by.
As I like to say about my BRIEF stint on two college golf teams back in the early 80s, I was only good enough to get high enough up on the mountain to realize how FAR I was from the top. J Ha. This wasn’t bad, it just meant that my love and natural gift for the game, simply was NOT going to be enough for me to monetize it as a profession. That is all and there isn’t any more to it. It doesn’t mean I couldn’t have or that I didn’t have enough skill to do so…it just meant that was my reality and if I truly wanted to go down that path…I would have to ALTER how I viewed the game and my life.
So if you’re reading this feeling stuck in your small town or feeling completely insignificant in New York city the choice is yours. If you’re truly a performer in your soul and heart, there is NO SUCH THING as “quitting” by leaving a large marketplace or by ceasing to view it as a desired profession. You’re simply shifting your talents into the “Show only” place and forgetting about the business. I absolutely RECOMMEND this for about 90+% of the performers I have known in my life. There is an odd and healthy obsession with being about to pursue and survive this business…as a business of the arts for performers…and it is distinctly not remotely close to being for everybody. More notably I would say after my 27 years that it is actually…for almost no one.
Always on your side, @TheKevinE