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The best thing I ever did for my acting career was…

March 23, 2011

For awhile now, when people ask me about my “survival job,” AKA my doggy bed ‘n breakfast business, I have been telling them that starting my own business has been the best thing I ever did for my acting career.

I mean, I get paid to do something I love (cuddle with doggies), and my schedule is flexible to the point that I NEVER have to say no to an audition/rehearsal/performance/etc. Plus, I’m finally making enough money to be able to really afford regular voice lessons, new headshots, dance class…it’s the perfect gig.

But then I started wondering, is it weird for the best thing I ever did for my acting career to be totally non-acting-related? What would other actors’ answers be? And so I asked around. And boy, did my colleagues, both online and off, have some great answers. See for yourself.

The best thing I ever did for my acting career was…

  • @MysteryActor: “…taking a break from LA to find out what was truly important and a sustainable path to authentic happiness.”
  • @ErinCronican (AKA The Idealistic Actor): “…taking my Equity card when I had the chance. And I got that after giving my business card to a director at a restaurant.”
  • @CandiceOden: “…after training, meeting @ErinCronican. No joke.”
  • Meghan Allen: “…relax and stop trying so hard to make it a ‘career” that I forgot why I started doing this in the first place.”
  • @DavepowersNYC: …”to quote George Clooney from MICHAEL CLAYTON, “You’ve got great cards to play.” Always remember that. Your heart is what got you here. Your heart is what people connect with. FOLLOW YOUR HEART. Follow your HEART — that was, is, and always will be the best thing.”
  • @Asooc: “…stop working for free and realize I am a commodity which is needed and worth the price.”
  • Elisa Pupko Pope: …”to learn how to continually challenge myself. Every time I do something that scares and challenges me I learn and grow so much as a performer and a person — every class I take that is hard, every audition I do that intimidates me, etc.”
  • @CRGutekunst: “…starting. The first step makes all the difference!”
  • Blair Erin Waite: “…not listen to the stereotypes and the snobs.”
  • @HaroldPDX: “…to start using Performer Track, it helped change the way I thought of my career — I thought of it more like a business because it trained me to do so.”
  • @Garyploski: “…enrolling in an MFA program part-time while taking undergrad theatre classes, too.”
  • Crista Marie Jackson: “…join the circus.” [Editor’s note: She’s not kidding!]
  • @FreshHubby: “…doing anything others said “Don’t Bother.” Moving to L.A., sending headshots to agents — to succeed you must be the anomaly.”
  • @ErinGilbreth: “…to never stop training. I’m learning and getting better all the time.”

Great answers, huh? And so varied. I guess I am a little bit of a weirdo then for my answer not being at all related to acting, but I was surprised to see how many of these answers were more about a mindset, rather than specifically related to showbiz. I guess that just goes to show how important your attitude is in this industry. Something to think about, for sure.

photo credit

And since this is my blog post, I get to cheat a little and share what some of my runner-up answers would be:

“…taking quitting off the table as a viable option.”

“…spending some time helping out with casting sessions. It really helped me to take casting decisions less personally.”

“…to think of each day and decision to move forward as a small victory, rather than try to make huge career leaps all at once. Success is not built in a single day, but in small decisions made over decades.”

Did any of these actors’ answers hit home for you? What would your answer be — what is the best thing you ever did for your acting career?

**Special thanks to all of the incredible actors who took the time to answer this question for me!**

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2011 10:29 am

    Funny! I almost said a non-acting related thing, but then it was longer than 140 characters so I reverted to my answer above. Probably the best thing I’ve done for my career was spending 9+ years in the marketing/advertising field while I was building my resume as an actor. I quit that job when I got my Equity card, and had enough experience from the corporate and non-profit worlds to start my own business as a career coach for actors. I have full flexibility, get to work within the industry, and — best yet — get to make a difference in the lives of others.

    Someone asked me, when I was young: “If you couldn’t be a actor, what would you want to do instead?” I said, “I would be a teacher or a psychologist.” Well, wouldn’t you know… I get to be both with this job. 🙂

    • March 23, 2011 3:58 pm

      Oh my gosh, that makes me feel better! 🙂

      You do have a dream job! And such a unique background to do it with!

  2. March 23, 2011 11:25 am

    Nice going, Miss Red, what a compelling question!

    The best thing I ever did for my acting career was making the definitive decision to stop auditioning and instead spend that time producing myself in my dream acting project, Ondine. It was a play that I read every year for years and the role that I dreamed of doing that no one in the world probably would’ve ever cast me in (in a show that is rarely done). I spent over two years working on that project which ultimately resulted in 37 people working on a production that they are still to this day completely proud of to mainly sold out houses.

    Of course, the deeper reverberations of this choice in my life have led to me performing in more shows that I produced with other companies and ultimately having the courage to leave the acting studio where I had taught for 10 years to start my own acting studio: Art & Soul Acting.

    What an amazing adventure it has been all emanating from one powerful action!

    • March 23, 2011 4:00 pm

      Wow, what a GREAT answer, Rhonda. So empowering! I’ve been tossing around producing something of my own, so this totally made me smile 🙂

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