The holiday season is here and in between the shopping, celebrating, and gift wrapping, this is the perfect time to harness all the excitement you feel for the new year. But how do you turn that excitement into an actor game plan so you can take control of your career?
I’m happy to share the steps I use to help me prepare for the new year. I hope they inspire you and help you make 2018 rock!
1. Schedule some “me” time.
It really helps if you aren’t distracted when you go through this process, so set aside at least an hour or two—you don’t want to feel rushed. Grab some paper and a pencil, turn off your phone, light some candles, or put on some relaxing music. I usually also pour myself a glass of wine or have a little chocolate. Hey, whatever works!
2. Make a naughty and nice list.
Now that you’re all comfy and focused, think about last year and make a list of all your successes as well as your challenges. And be sure you don’t limit your success list to bookings. Did you find a new acting class you love? Did you improve your memorization skills? Did you strengthen some professional relationships by being consistent with your marketing or through some awesome auditions? Those are definitely all successes, so don’t leave them out!
3. Celebrate and let go.
Take a look at your list of successes. Allow yourself to celebrate them and honor yourself for your hard work. Then take a look at your challenges. Acknowledge what you need to work on and where you need to refocus. Make peace with any mistakes or inactions. Then, as the song says, let it go!
4. Clarify your goals.
Picture yourself a year from today. What would you love to celebrate on your success list next year? Do you want to get signed with a kick-ass agent, finally work with that regional theatre you’ve been eyeing, or book a national commercial? Make a list, and be specific.
5. Craft your plan.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Look at each goal you wrote down, and list some actions you can take that could help you reach it. For example:
- Reach out to friends to ask for agent referrals.
- Rehears two contrasting monologues so you’re ready to audition at a moment’s notice.
- Take a commercial acting technique class.
6. Break it down.
Take a look at your list of actions and break each one down into smaller steps. For instance, if you want to take a commercial acting class, the steps might be:
- Reach out to friends and colleagues for class referrals.
- Ask my agent or manager who they might recommend.
- Look up the candidates’ websites to compare and get more information.
- Make a decision and sign up for class
By breaking down the actions into smaller, bite-sized steps, it will be easier to schedule a little time every day to take at least one step toward your goal. I suggest putting the smaller steps on your calendar so they’re easy to remember.
7. Check up.
I think this step is super important. Throughout the year, maybe every month, maybe every quarter, take some time to check on your progress with your game plan. Have you been killing it? Do your goals still inspire you? Or have you not been taking any action? Ask yourself some hard questions and adjust your plan as needed.
Now it’s your turn. Let me know one of your goals for 2018 and the steps you’ll take in the comments. Let’s help inspire each other!
Actor and web designer Amy Russ helps actors showcase their cast-ability, personality, and professionalism with simple, effective, and affordable websites. Find out the crucial "5 First Steps" to creating a website that stands out in her free video training.
Get all of your acting questions answered by peers and experts on the Backstage Community forums!
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.