Who Are You, Anyway?

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What consistently comes up in our career-coaching sessions and dialogues with actors is the question of how to get seen in this business—how to get in front of the decision makers. While these are valid questions, we ask you to slow down and start with an exploration of you. The questions to ask are really how you can bring yourself fully, authentically, and confidently to all of your materials, your connections with the industry, your social media, the work you create—all of it. It’s one thing to have a plan of action. Absolutely have a plan. But what you are bringing to that plan is where you need to begin. Start with you. The answers lie in you. How do you bring you to everything you do? Just like your acting work (which requires you showing up fully), your career tools and industry engagement have to have the same quality of you showing up. That is first and foremost in creating a complete and dynamic presence.

You start with you. You ask yourself: What are all of the things that make up you? What you like and don’t like, what you care about, what your core values are, what is unique about you to the universe, what you have to share and express, what you want to do genuinely as an artist. Let’s not start at the end with, “How do I market myself?” Wait until you know who yourself is. Let’s not jump to, “I want to walk the red carpet” or “I want to be on a Netflix show” or even “I want to make a living at this.” Nothing external until you are clear on what your true values are as an actor, until you uncover the core of your artistry, and until you know what set you on the journey to begin with. So let’s start with that. Go back to the beginning.

It’s time to look inside and to return to the moment of inspiration that brought you to this place in your story—the spark that ignited you in the first place and the spark that is ignited every time you get to act. It’s time to figure out who you are. What do you care about? What makes you tick? What do you want out of this? What matters to you in this work? What do you honestly want in your actor life and in your career?

Now build from there. And of the other steps will fall into place.

Go ahead, take some time, and look inside. The five elements of our BGB 10-Day Actor’s Challenge can start the process of self-knowing. Meditation. Writing. Connected Movement. Acting. Giving. These elements will instantly bring you to a deep self-exploration that will both ground you and light you up.

In this, ask yourself the following specific questions? Why are you an actor? Why do you act? What do you want out of this? What’s holding you back? Are you talented? What’s unique about you as an actor? How do other people perceive you? Your family/friends, the industry. How do you perceive yourself? Are the two at odds? What are you most afraid of as an actor? Would you act if no one ever paid you for it? Would you still do it if you knew it would take 20 years to achieve financial and career success, whatever that means to you?

Really ask yourself these questions, and any others that might arise. Meditate, reflect, and write about it. Let yourself go. See what comes up. From there you can start to put a plan together. From there you can form both clear goals and active choices in pursuing those goals. Go ahead. Find out why you’re doing this in the first place. And build a more informed and personal plan from there. How exciting!

Join us for the work in the studio or online with classes, coaching, the 10-Day Actor’s Challenge, and our current BGB Career Coach Audio Series, all designed to bring you to the most powerful and authentic expression of you!

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Risa Bramon Garcia
For the past 40 years, Risa has worked as a director, producer, casting director, and teacher. Having directed two features—including “200 Cigarettes”—she has also directed for TV and dozens of plays in New York and Los Angeles. Her casting résumé includes more than 80 feature films and shows, and includes “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Fatal Attraction,” “JFK,” “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Affair,” “Masters of Sex,” and the original “Roseanne.” She is a founding partner of The BGB Studio, known for revolutionary acting training.
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Steve Braun
Steve Braun is an acting coach, teacher, and communication consultant, drawing on years of acting, Buddhist practice, and martial arts training to help his clients discover and express their unique emotional truth. When he pursued an acting career, he starred in movies, was a series regular many times, and guest starred on numerous TV shows. He is a founding partner of The BGB Studio, known for revolutionary acting training.
See full bio and articles here!