‘IKWYDLS’ Star Bill Heck Begs You to Say This One Word More Often

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Photo Source: Chad Griffith

The following Career Dispatch essay was written by Bill Heck, who plays Bruce Grant on Amazon Prime Video’s “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” 

Say yes, friends.

A pal asks you to come to their apartment and read something they’ve written aloud? Say yes. (And bring beer.)

You get the chance to do a small play that you dig with people you dig in a small theater, but it pays nothing and it’s gonna be hard to make it work with your second job? Figure it out.

You get an email from an acquaintance about the small play or small theater they’re in? Reserve a ticket and let them know you have.

Your buddy invites you to their showcase? Cancel your plans and get there. It could be a desperate, embarrassing mess, but even so, you can learn more from watching a mess unfold than you can from anything a so-called expert (or featured advice columnist) might tell you. Also, there’s probably free wine and cheese cubes.

Speaking of which, if you’re at an event where there is food and you’re considering wrapping a few cookies in a napkin to-go, dammit, say yes to those cookies.

READ: ‘IKWYDLS’ Makeup Artist on Designing Those Gory Looks

If you think you might want to take a class, recall the people whose scripts you’ve read, whose productions or showcases you’ve attended, or whose plays you’ve done for no money. Reach out to the ones you trust and ask for their advice, then say yes to the wisdom of their experience. 

If you’re in class and the floor is open, and you feel you should volunteer to go next but it’s scary as hell—because it is scary as hell—do it anyway. Say yes to being scared, because show business will not kill you, and fear is as good an indicator as any that you’re actually up to something interesting. Plus, if you scare yourself enough times, the scary stuff might start to get exciting. Just do me a favor and remember: Being brave is not the same as being loud.

Which brings me to: Say yes to chilling the eff out, to not letting any of it be too important. This requires saying yes to your own sense of legitimacy in the face of the many other legit people out there also walking through a world that mostly doesn’t care about you. This may be the trickiest yes of them all, but there’s a breezy freedom that comes with it.

“Say yes to being scared, because show business will not kill you.”

Say yes to your scene partner, your director, an idea, an oddly written line, or a production assistant. Let yourself be surprised by what you don’t know. There’s always another take, another night, and another moment.

Say yes now, because you can’t always be sure when the next opportunity to do so may come. (Also, that PA is working harder than you and could well be your boss someday.)

Now, here’s where it gets tricky: Is your gut telling you to say no? Well then, say yes to your gut when it’s saying no. By that I mean, when your instinct tells you to say no, listen. There is no template for how this all works. Say yes to fashioning your own template.

“Yes” is how you claim space in this whole mess. “Yes” helps you find your people. “Yes” is progress and evolution. It invites possibility and it makes you pay attention. A spirit practiced in the art of saying yes will give you greater clarity for when it is, in fact, time to say no.

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