15 Things Actors Do That Make Me Happy

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1. You show up every day. You make no excuses.

2. You love the work wherever and whenever you’re doing it and you don't complain. None of the “I’ve been a series regular for six years, and I’m only working one day/week for $40,000.” Or “I’m so ready to work, but I’m home all day with nothing to do.” You bring your love of acting to the audition room, set, rehearsal, class, and you carry your love of the work into every experience. You relish it.

3. You do everything you can to be prepared. You know your lines. You do your homework. You do it to get out of your own way.

4. You’re generous to each other, and you’re generous to yourselves. You give yourselves a break. You manage your expectations.

5. You don't apologize, and you’re willing to applaud yourself. You turn limiting beliefs into empowering ones.

6. You focus on others, not on what they think of you but on what their needs might truly be. We are all your audience, and you’re there to offer yourself and your work to us in performance, in collaboration, in a shared adventure.

7. You train. You study. You work out. You continue to develop your craft. You get that being in shape is what gives you the edge to compete and the freedom to fly.

8. You live full lives.

9. You’re proactive and deeply creative. You take responsibility for your work, your success, and yourself.

10. You’re willing to fight for it.

11. You understand the power of fear, that it’s a force, not an impediment. You take risks in spite of your terror. You let it fuel you. You do what Yoda says: “Feel the force!”

12. You’re courageous. You embrace the struggle and find a way to love it, knowing that the creative spirit grows from battling through the night, that this is the force with which we create. You're willing to do whatever it takes.

13. You’re about the work first, knowing that career will follow and not the other way around. Dedicated work leads to good work. Good work leads to great work. Great work is thrilling. Great work is noticed. Celebrated. Hired. And money follows bliss. As Steven Pressfield wrote in "The War of Art," "The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying."

14. You know how damned lucky you are to have chosen this thing, this thing that is generated from the fire within you. You’re blessed to be on this journey.

15. You have faith.

My happiness isn’t really determined by an actor’s decision to take care of him or herself. This is my own checklist for artistic sanity and success. However, when I do see fellow artists show us and embrace these actions, I’m gratified. We conspire together in our pursuit of happiness.

There’s further to go in the exploration of each of these commitments... For now, let's embrace them. Let’s look at where each of us shows up, where we might have to recalibrate how we approach our creative lives. Our careers and our joy depend on it.

Risa Bramon Garcia has just started up a new Studio in L.A. with partner, Steve Braun, called The Bramon Garcia Braun Studio, dedicated to actors’ whole journey, connecting craft with career.

For the past 30 years Risa has worked consistently as a director, producer, casting director, writer, and teacher, collaborating with some of the most groundbreaking artists in the world. Having directed two feature films ‐ the cult classic, "200 cigarettes," and most recently, "The Con Artist" in Canada - Risa’s also directed for television, including multiple episodes of "The Twilight Zone" for New Line/UPN, and shows for HBO, Lifetime, and Comedy Central. She’s directed dozens of plays in New York (The Ensemble Studio Theatre, Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club) and in Los Angeles. Risa’s casting résumé includes more than 65 feature films, classics such as "Something Wild," "At Close Range," "Angel Heart," "Fatal Attraction," "Wall Street," "Talk Radio," "Jacob’s Ladder," "Born on the Fourth of July," "JFK," "The Doors," "Sneakers," "The Joy Luck Club," "True Romance," "Speed," "How To Make An American Quilt," "Dead Presidents," "Twister," "Benny and Joon," and "Flirting With Disaster;" and numerous television shows, including "Roseanne," "CSI:NY," "The Cape," and most recently "A Gifted Man" for CBS and the pilot "Rewind" for Syfy. She’s about to start casting the Showtime series, "Masters of Sex." Risa served as a producer on Oliver Stone’s films "Heaven and Earth" and "Natural Born Killers," movies she also cast.

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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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