How to Set Yourself Up for Success in 2014

If you’re like most, you’re starting the year steeped in good intentions: resolving to get a decent agent, land a role in a feature, and do three plays. All well and good, except that you can’t control any of those things. You can do a lot to set yourself up for success, but it’s not often you can book yourself onto a job.

So what can an actor resolve?

How about committing to creating art this year, no matter your circumstance? Since plays and movies are collaborative ventures, many of your opportunities rely on the cooperation of others. That collaboration is what drew many of us to acting in the first place. It’s also what most often gets in our way. Painters and writers work alone. What if you challenged yourself to do the same?

Write a one-act, a scene, a monologue. Work on challenging text you have no place to perform. Prepare some new monologues with no idea of when you’ll get to do them. Learn a new dialect. Create a one-person show. Take an aerial silks class. Write a poem, a standup set, a song. Draw. Paint. Design. Go dancing.

According to W. Somerset Maugham: “The artist produces for the liberation of his soul. It is his nature to create as it is the nature of water to run down the hill.” Don’t let your artistry stagnate as you wait for others to come around. Let the water run down the hill.

Jackie Apodaca is an associate professor and the head of performance at Southern Oregon University.