3 Ways to Remain Your Authentic Self in Hollywood

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Authenticity is essential to great auditioning and to great acting. And yet, we live in a time when authenticity is often replaced with packaged profiles and fabricated personas. What we’re seeing too much of these days is a whole generation of actors who are mistaking their images for who they really are. And, according to many casting directors, the level of work in audition rooms has decreased accordingly.

Here are three ways to stay connected to the real you.

1. Don’t believe your profiles. Using different platforms to market yourself is, of course, a good idea. Just always be clear that these profiles represent a carefully curated picture of your life and accomplishments and have little to do with who you really are.

I have seen numerous actors who are great at marketing and create opportunities and auditions for themselves.

And then they blow it.

Because they’ve never moved beyond their marketed “brand,” they’re dull people and one-dimensional actors. So yes, put yourself out there, just know it’s only a small part of who you are.

The clever use of social media is not a replacement for talent. When your opportunities present themselves, you’re still going to have to show up in the audition as a fully formed human being with the insight and ability to fully bring the words on the page to life.

2. Know that a persona is not a person. Social media has allowed us to present many faces to the world. On social media, we exist not as whole people but as a series of personas. Personas are about the outside, not the inside. They are facades that we create in the hopes of being liked and accepted. They are masks. And today there are so many to hide behind: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.

When people become addicted to their personas, they cease to show up for the moments of their lives in any meaningful way. Instead of opening up and taking in what’s happening in the moment with an open, undefended heart, they slap on a mask that they hope will be acceptable and pleasing.

This is creative suicide and leads to something I’ve seen too often lately: actors who have no idea who they really are.

When I give these actors material, the choices they make are about supporting a likable persona, or “doing a funny character thing that people like in my YouTube videos.” When asked to take off the mask, rip down the facade, and go deeper into their own personalities to find the truth…they can’t. They literally have no access to their own emotional mapping.

They believe that if they add all their personas together they’ll get a person. They are wrong.

3. Get naked. So, who is behind all of these personas? Who are you when the masks come off and no one is looking? Do you even know anymore?

Here’s a good way to start getting yourself back.

Take off all of your clothes and stand in front of a mirror. Don’t move for 20 minutes. Just feel everything that comes up.

Feel the emotions you have around your naked, true body. The vulnerability of being stripped bare with nothing to hide behind, the compassion for this tender creature in front of you—the empathy for yourself—as you realize how amazingly beautiful you are, just as you are.

This can be a difficult practice. You may want to run away and find something to hide behind. Being this exposed, this authentic, even just in front of yourself, may be too much. Stay with it if you can, because when the time is up you’ll feel the peace that comes from authenticity. Nothing to do and no one to be but yourself—living in a place where windows replace walls and acceptance and support fill all of the rooms. You’ll be home.

Be fierce about developing your talent and vigilant in maintaining your authenticity, always remembering you’re so much more than a brand, product, or profile. Stay in close touch with your heart and soul. Do the work of the truly great actor, delve deeper and deeper inside, and keep uncovering and getting to know the different layers of your humanity. Be the actor who can make a real creative difference. Amaze the world with your authenticity.

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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.

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Craig Wallace
Craig Wallace is the creator and award-winning teacher of the Wallace Audition Technique, an audition preparation system that he developed based on his years of experience as a studio executive, talent agent, and casting consultant.
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