How To Deal With The Ups and Downs of the Entertainment Industry
So, I think it's pretty much common knowledge that the entertainment industry is not for the faint of heart. I always tell people that if there's something else you think you could do for a living and be happy, do that thing, because performing is a bear. The reason that I've chosen to pursue this field is because, as dramatic as it may sound, I don't feel fully whole when I'm not performing, and I know that in any other career field I'd spend life regretting that I didn't have the balls to pursue my dreams. With that being said, here are some of the miscellaneous things I learned at Williamstown that have proven extremely useful to me in the subsequent years:
1) Ask yourself who do you want to be in the industry? Over the years, this has been extremely useful for me when I start to doubt myself and my abilities. I tell myself that no one else in the world has my unique set of life experiences, and I have something unique to offer.
2) Saying yes to opportunity is powerful. Alright, story time: I was lucky to book a long term acting contract before I actually graduated college, for which I am abundantly grateful. My boyfriend at the time spent basically the entirety of my final semester of college coming up with his own fear-based reasons that I should not take this job and instead get a better paying job in a more predictable field, despite the fact that this is literally the only thing I've wanted for my entire life. But thankfully, I was stubborn enough to not listen to him. Even if an opportunity isn't perfect, I do recommend going for jobs that you get, because you have to start somewhere.
3) This career is what you make it. I firmly believe in DREAMING BIGGER, but starting small. For example, since I'm quarantining, I've been trying to just do a self tape every day, rather than worrying too long term.
4) Attempt to do the thing you think you can't do. Also, don't listen to others who tell you you can't do something, even if the person is well meaning.
5) Be honest about what you really want and work like the devil to get it. Perseverance will get you places. For example, I had to audition three times to get into Berklee's Performance Major, but I didn't give up because I knew I wanted what that major offered. Another example is that when I applied for Williamstown, I didn't initially hear back right away. So, I called the Admissions Office (yes, it's like applying to college haha!) and asked about my application status. They informed me that I was on the waitlist. So, I figured that since a decision hadn't yet been made, I wanted to do everything in my power to get in. So I had not one but two professors submit additional letters of recommendation to help me get in, and it worked! This is just one of many situations where I've found that my perseverance has been an asset.
6) You need to have something that refuels you, and have hobbies outside of theatre. This is something it's taken me a while to figure out, but I've found that for me, arts and crafts can be highly therapeutic because the stakes are low and I'm not good at visual art, so there's really no pressure attached to it. I'll try to do a separate post at some point about good (affordable and low maintenance) hobbies for actors.
7) Find mentors who are doing what you want to do, but mentorship should be mutually beneficial (think about what you could offer them). Find someone whose career you admire, whose work you like, and try to learn about their process.
Stay safe, my loves!! My thoughts are with you :)