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The Working Actor

The 1 Thing You Need to Stop Doing

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The 1 Thing You Need to Stop Doing
Photo Source: Clay Rodery

Please. Stop thinking so damn hard. Now! Stop thinking about thinking so damned hard. Let it go.

OK, suggesting an actor cease thinking too hard is about the same as being like, “Let’s see if Annoying Actor Friend can make it through a column without a ‘Frozen’ reference.” Oops.

Thinking too hard will consume you. We can’t help it. We’re actors. We’re trained to take the craft seriously. But I’m not just talking about what’s going on inside our heads while onstage, in front of a camera, or in the audition room. We go through a three-act play inside our heads within seconds upon spotting a blemish on our face. Like that’s one of the #ReasonsIDidntBookIt.

I’m talking about everything. Your headshot. Your résumé font. The bar you were in where you neglected to network with someone you thought might be important. Wondering whether or not everyone we meet is important. We think too much.

When did it happen to you? It happened to me about five minutes into the first acting class of my college conservatory program. We started by clearing our heads using meticulous meditation techniques and, ironically, my head has been full of shit ever since. This isn’t a slam at my professors. They were all really cool, even though some of them came to class in the morning wearing a spritz or two of Eau de Tanqueray. 

My point being, how do we take all of our training and find a way to apply it while at the same time completely ignoring it? No, I’m serious. Do you know? I have absolutely no clue!

Perhaps it’s a personality thing. On paper, this industry may seem like a good fit for a person if they want it badly enough. But do they have the personality to sustain it? No. Nobody really has the personality to comfortably sustain this madness 100 percent. Sociopaths, maybe.

It’s not just about the amount of stars and planets that need to align for us to book a job, it’s about the astrological wizardry required at birth for us to have the personality just to get by in this business. Few are born with it. Some can learn it. Those of us who are neither have to act like we have it. That’s when we start getting too much in our own heads and start second-, third-, and fourth-guessing every beat.

It’s the middle of summer and whether you’re employed or not, the days are longer and there’s a shit-ton more time to spend awake with yourself. You might as well be happy with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. You are the only person who has complete control over approving of the choices you make.

I’m not suggesting settling with the status quo. Nobody’s perfect. And that’s just it—most of what we’ve learned from experts is what worked for them. Is it what works best for us? Think about that and then forget it.

Read more articles written about and by Annoying Actor Friend here!

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