How 10 Habits of Highly Successful People Apply To A Life In The Theatre
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.
1) Review your goals. The person who wrote this book recommends hand writing them 10 times each. Although this can feel a bit excessive, I do think there is tremendous merit in constantly assessing what direction you actually want your career to take. This gives actors a sense of control in a career where very few things are actually in our control. For example, when I was a senior in college, I made a vision board which included photos of travel to foreign lands. I reminded myself constantly that my goal was to get a theatre job that would allow me to see the world. The constant reevaluation of my goals was what made me more sure than ever that this was something I truly wanted.
2) Prioritizing sleep. This is true in every career, but particularly in a field where we often work extremely irregular hours. Being able to consistently deliver a high level of performance is impossible without adequate sleep. (I've learned this the hard way over the past year).
3) Scheduling workouts. On the surface level, it would appear that the rationale for this would be due to the entertainment industry's ridiculous beauty standards. However, I fervently believe that there is not only room but a NEED for all body types in this industry. My reasoning is that I personally find that the better shape I'm in at dance calls, the better I do because even if I mess up the choreography, it shows the creative team that I have the physical stamina to do 8 shows a week.
4) Read/learn from someone who has had the experience. This has been absolutely vital to me in my career. The beginnings of this for me were the books I was required to read in college, including but not limited to "Rock The Audition" by Sheri Sanders, "The Enraged Accompanist's Guide To The Perfect Audition" by Andrew Gerle, and many others. However, I've also gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from interviews and Backstage.com videos about the industry, including advice from people on "the other side of the table."
5) Scheduling time for email. I personally find this to be the most effective after I've already gotten out of bed and accomplished a few things that day.
6) Actually doing what they say they're going to do. I've worked in countless staged readings and new projects where people bail out at the last minute. It creates a negative impression that can be hard to shake. But also, in any area of life, it's just a good habit to stick to appointments out of respect for someone else's time.
7) Say "no" when it's not a good fit. For example, I was offered a role once in an (unpaid) biblical musical. As an atheist, I just didn't feel like I believed in the work enough to do it justice.
8) Discipline for focus (not having your phone, movies, etc. on when you need to focus). This one is pretty self explanatory, but a perfect example of this as an actor is that I used to apply for jobs on Backstage.com while listening to videos, podcasts, etc. However, I don't do that any more because I found that the quality of my submissions is much better when I concentrate. The same thing applies for when I'm sending an audition email.
9) Surround yourself with at least 5 positive people. In an industry with so much competition, it's vital to have people in your corner that will lift you up rather than tear you down.
10) Prioritize "me" time. I've found it's so easy for me to spend all of my time not working just hunting for the next acting job. However, I've found that I'm much happier when I give myself time to relax and not have to think about my career or anything else on my To Do List.