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Note From the CD

Are These Thoughts Poisoning Your Abilities?

Are These Thoughts Poisoning Your Abilities?
Photo Source: Nick Bertozzi

Do you think the following thoughts and utter these phrases to describe yourself and others? “I’m a hungry actor.” “He’s a starving artist.” 

Do you describe those that hire you as “gatekeepers” or “those on the other side of the desk”?

Watch your mouth. Watch your thoughts. Watch the loop going on in your head that’s tearing you down.

Words matter! Change your dialogue. Banish these terms from your lips and your brain. These thoughts are pervasive. When you speak them aloud you give them life and energy. I have actor friends who refer to themselves as “starving artists” while trying to maintain a supposedly tongue-in-cheek attitude. Even if they’re joking, it plants a seed in people’s minds that artists have to starve and struggle for their work. The words and phrases tend to romanticize the life of an artist, implying there has to be pain and lack of comfort to attain true art.

In my article “This Will Change Your Life,” I asked you to reframe the way you’ve been thinking about meetings and auditions. I wrote about thinking of the whole auditioning process as a collaboration between filmmakers.

I also suggested that you’ve got to stop the deadly “me against them” loop. Delete the word “gatekeepers” and anything else that you think is standing in your way. Replace it with this mantra: “I am a filmmaker! I am a collaborator!”

Another self-sabotage move is the idea of luck. What is luck? Some have it and some don’t. Really? If luck exists, why do I even need to get up in the morning? My luck will take care of everything. No need to even insert myself into the equation because it’s out of my hands. I call bullshit on this with a big cherry on top.

I don’t believe in luck. Some say luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. This quote, attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca, reminds us that we make our own luck.

As I always preach, perception is 90 percent of the game. As an artist and performer with so many things out of your control, the one thing you do have control of is your perception and how you let things plant firmly in your brain or let them go. Are you going to stick with the voice in your head that says, “I never get comedy jobs”? Or are you going to change your “luck” and start viewing your opportunity in a different light? Take ownership of this opportunity and get yourself into some sitcom and improv classes. Turn your “bad luck” on its ear.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman did a 10-year study on the topic of luck. In interviews with the study’s volunteers, he realized that unlucky people are typically more anxious and tend to be more hyperfocused on the specifics of a situation. Lucky people, on the other hand, are more laid-back and open to whatever opportunities present themselves.

His research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, making smart (“lucky”) decisions by listening to their intuition, creating self-fulfilling prophecies via positive expectations, and adopting a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

When you take control of what you think and say, I guarantee a change. The universe is listening.

Like this advice? Check out more of Marci Liroff's articles!

Known for her work in film and television, producer and casting director Marci Liroff has worked with some of the most successful directors in the world such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Mark Waters, Christopher Nolan, Brad Bird, and Herbert Ross. While working at Fenton-Feinberg Casting, she, along with Mike Fenton, cast such films as “A Christmas Story," “Poltergeist," “E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial," “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," and “Blade Runner." After establishing her own casting company in 1983, Liroff cast “Footloose," “St. Elmo's Fire," “Pretty in Pink," “The Iron Giant," “The Spitfire Grill," “Untamed Heart," “Freaky Friday," “Mean Girls," “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” “Vampire Academy,” and the upcoming “The Sublime and Beautiful,” which she produced as well.

Liroff is also an acting coach, and her three-night Audition Bootcamp has empowered actors to view the audition process in a new light. The class spawned an online course available at Udemy entitled "How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp."

Visit Liroff online at marciliroff.com, follow her on Twitter @marciliroff and Facebook, and watch her advice videos on YouTube. You can also read her blog.

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