7 Pieces of Advice from ‘Transparent’ Star Amy Landecker

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Photo Source: Hanna Barczyk

Dear Younger Amy,

I wanted to give you some career advice, because I know you are totally stressed out all the time about where you are, where you should be, how to get there, that you will never get there, and that you should have already gotten there. I know these thoughts are basically taking turns on the hamster wheel in your head.

So here’s some advice that I know you won’t take:

Stop worrying so much. Your future ex-husband will tell you, “Worrying is wishing for something you don’t want to have happen.” The marriage didn’t work out, but that’s a good life lesson to take away from the whole thing. That and the great kid.

Speaking of, don’t be afraid to have a kid. It won’t ruin your career. It will actually take your mind off your relentless ambition and make you a deeper human being with more compassion and empathy.

You will not screw up your entire career and future if you go on vacation and miss that co-star audition for “NCIS.” I know you think that if you aren’t available every second of every day you are going to miss your big break, but there is not one big break. There is only perseverance and patience and talent and luck. And the last one of those you can’t control at all, so try to relax and live your life.

Try treating your acting like a hobby instead of a job—particularly if you aren’t making a living at it yet. Your dad will give you this advice one day and it will actually be good. For some reason, when you decide to do this you will have more fun and feel less pressure, and that will be the key to not stinking of desperation when you audition for stuff.

Be less worried about memorization for an audition and more concerned with making strong, personal, fearless choices. Nobody has ever hired a great memorizer, and nobody (except the person reading with you) is going along word for word. Be prepared. Be off-book. But unless it’s Mamet or Sorkin or Letts or Shakespeare, being word-perfect is not necessary and your obsession with it is keeping you tight and in your head. And always hold your script and don’t be afraid to look at it if you need to. Again, they are not looking for a great memorizer. They are looking for a great performance.

It’s not enough to be good. You have to be great. Pretty much everyone who has gotten the appointment is good. In order to actually get the job, you have to be exceptional, and in order to do that you can’t audition. You have to perform the hell out of that material. The role is yours during that audition time. When you stop auditioning and start performing, you will start to book.

I could go on and on, but I know you have already fallen asleep. Just try to enjoy the ride, OK? Because that’s all there is. There actually is no destination. No “there” to get to. So you might as well let go and try to enjoy all the hills and valleys and views.

P.S. Go ahead and eat carbs. It turns out those five to 10 pounds you spent your 20s and 30s obsessing about have absolutely nothing to do with your success as an actor. And you won’t be as grumpy.

Landecker is currently starring on Season 2 of Amazon Studios’ Emmy-winning “Transparent.”

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