Nobody talks about this because I think we often feel we’re supposed to have the same feelings for something that we had when we first stumbled upon it. When something’s brand new, it’s intoxicating and captivating and joy-filled. It’s almost like innocence, because the discovery of things within that thing seem never-ending.
But things change, and so will our feelings about them. And they should.
First off, acting is fun. It should be a celebration of joy and expression of the human spirit to create and play and be wildly abandoned and free in the moment. We need to remember this.
Shakespeare had it right when he said, “The play’s the thing.”
But sometimes, the business side of acting (it is show business after all), can really get you down. That’s normal.
It’s okay to have contrary thoughts about the business—to not want to act anymore, to feel like there’s no point, to lose your passion, to want to pull your hair out.
Our relationship to acting is like any kind of relationship. It’s a living, breathing, evolving thing. Like our relationships with our friends or parents or lovers or siblings. They change; ebb and flow, contract and expand.
They’re alive, and so is our relationship with acting because it’s really a relationship with Self, and that’s constantly transforming.
Your Self is the vehicle through which your acting is expressed, so it’s naturally going to go through moments where you wonder if this is all you signed up for, or if it’s really fulfilling you like it did when you were 19, or if it’s even worth the amount of time and effort you put in.
I can say unequivocally, yes, it is, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not also a load of other things, too. It can be challenging and maddening and scary, and it takes time and tests one’s faith and patience, and can be inexplicably odd and unfair.
When you’re not feeling as enthusiastic about it as, say…Kristen Wiig’s Target Lady character from “SNL” is about all things Target—try not to let it trigger your preconditioned left-brain stuff that already has very strong opinions about who you aren’t. That part of our brain is already conditioned to tell us that we’re not that successful or attractive or talented or capable. So when we go through phases where things get crunchy, it’s important to change the dialogues in our head and remember that this phase is part of our process, and it too shall pass.
Just allow it. It’s hard to allow, because we’re control freaks and don’t like things to be untidy, unresolved, or undefinable. But if you just breathe and allow yourself to be where you are (which is exactly where you need to be), you’ll get unstuck and move through to the next phase.
And when that happens, your feelings about creating will transform as well, perhaps to a deeper respect and love for who you are, what you’ve overcome, and what you’re capable of doing.
And that, in a way, is a different kind of innocence waiting to be discovered.
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and artistic director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) with studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Vancouver. It was honored by Backstage three years in a row and named the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read).
Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. It releases on iTunes and DVD in March of 2014. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and CW KTLA. He has been a guest speaker at the GATE 2013 Story Conference, founded by Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle, and David Lynch's Masters in Film Program (Maharishi University of Management).
He is also the author of the best-selling creativity book, At Left Brain Turn Right, which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.