If our career choice was a roller coaster before it now feels like the coaster has come to a screeching halt at the top of a loop leaving us dangling and unsure of how we are going to end up. First and foremost, you are not alone. As a collective, we are all in this together.
So, how do we manage? How do we stay connected to our craft? How do we focus amidst all the challenges we now face? Step by step. One by one. Bad days are bound to come, but more productive days and joyful moments are out there, too.
1. Put down the whip and pick up the feather.
If you're like me sometimes you are your own worst critic and are exceptionally hard on yourself. This is uncharted territory and we can't expect ourselves to simply "carry on" unaffected. Sometimes there are days I don't even want to get out of bed. Being one of those people who is brave enough to experience all of these feelings can be OVERWHELMING. This is why we do what we do.
We feel things. Deeply.
If you don't feel motivated. It's okay. It's more than okay. The only way out is through, so rest. Do what you can. When I feel sad, overwhelmed, etc. sometimes I pick a sad piece, an angry monologue or scene to "get it out". I create a self-tape and let the emotion that is right there simmering under the surface due me justice in my art.
2. Master your self-tape set-up.
None of us can say for sure how this pandemic will shape our industry. What we can do is be prepared for the potential changes ahead. One of those changes might be casting leaning towards more self-tape submissions in lieu of in-person auditions. These offices might not want the additional new health risks a daily influx of actors coming and going could potentially bring.
Now is the time to perfect your self-tape set-up at home.
Practice with your lighting, audio, and backdrop. Create a pool of potential readers. Do everything that is within your power to ensure that when productions start rolling again, your tapes are industry-standard, elevated and are the best representation of you as a professional actor.
3. Connect with other actors.
Zoom and social media have both made this incredibly easy. Like anything, there are pros and cons of both, but as actors we need feedback.
We need connection for our craft.
There are numerous online groups for actors and at ActorPlaybook we have bi-weekly actor training and monthly workshops all via Zoom.
4. Create your own playbook.
Do you have a role prep technique? Have you tried various memorization techniques for getting off-book quicker? Do you know your own emotional triggers or emotionally specific physicality? As actors, we have to be constantly learning and growing in our craft.
Our minds and our bodies are our instrument.
Honing it is a lifelong journey. Get crackin'.
5. Expand your mind.
There are so many great books on creativity, acting and technique. Utilize this time to read some! Here is a list of recommendations to get you started:
The Art of Acting by Stella Adler
The Intent to Live by Larry Moss
A Challenge for the Actor by Uta Hagen
Truth by Susan Batson
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
If you ever need support in your craft, another actor to connect with or have questions about the industry, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm here to help.
This site, this community of actors at ActorPlaybook have been a saving grace to connect with, to focus on the craft we all share a love for and to develop our skill-sets for when the industry starts to roll again.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Do your art.