What do William Jackson Harper, John Krasinski, Naomi Watts and Amy Adams have in common (besides being actors, of course)? They were about to pack it up and quit acting when they got their big break. (And by the way, the movie name I forgot in the class clip here re: Naomi Watts was the 2001 David Lynch film Mulholland Drive.)
The truth is, acting and mastery of any craft is hard. Getting a meaningful career is not easy. So how can you hang in there?
I don’t get into this here in this specific clip, but something I work with a lot of students on is helping you connect to WHY you act as well as creating measurable goals of things you do personally have control over. This activates the center of motivation in your brain.
If you don’t know WHY you do it, it’s going to be very hard to keep going so ask yourself: What lights a fire in my belly? Is it my deeply held belief that powerful stories can change the world? Am I compelled by my unique life experiences I wish to express in my work so others know they aren’t alone? Is it that magical feeling of getting “in the zone” where I lose a sense of time and all I know is the world of the role I’m working on? Great. If you don’t know, keep asking. Don’t settle for someone else’s reasons. Know YOURS.
If you find out you want to act because, if you’re really being honest, you want to be famous, that’s ok because it’s true. But a word of caution here: it’s a fool’s errand. Most people seek fame because they’re looking for love and validation and I promise, fame doesn’t give you that. If this resonates, it’s time to dig deep in your personal growth work.
Why do YOU act?? Will you email me and let me know? I promise I’ll read every response.
CLASS CLIP TRANSCRIPTION
Student: The way that John Krasinski got the role in The Office is crazy. Did I tell you about it before?
Sarah: I don’t know. I can’t remember.
Student: He was, um, to shorten it, he was in New York and he was doing acting for two years and he was trying to get roles and stuff, and he told his mom, it’s not working out, I’m gonna come back home. And then he went to go audition for The Office, and then he’s like, and I got that role. I was just about to give up on it cuz nothing was working out for me, I wasn’t getting anything. It’s like, that’s crazy to hear.
Sarah: You will be amazed at how many of those stories there are.
Student: Yeah, I feel like there would be a lot of them.
Sarah: There are a lot of them. There are a lot. Naomi Watts has another story like that, and she even had had, she was starting to already have a career, but it wasn’t until…oh gosh, what was the name of that movie? It was a long time ago now. I’m forgetting the name of the movie. It wasn’t until the really big breakout movie that she got, where she was packed up, done, like I’m done with acting, screw this. She was like, I’m sick of being broke, I’m sick of all this stuff, and then got this big thing. So it’s…I really believe in that, like being in it for the marathon of it, and knowing that this is not fast and that doing it because, really because you have to, because you love it, and you love storytelling, and you love working on yourself and trying to become better and all of that stuff, and becoming the best storyteller that you can be. And maybe that means for some people, finding their own ways to do that, in the meantime, you know.