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Is It Break Time Yet?

January 14, 2013

An actor’s work is never done. As soon as we land one gig, we are immediately bombarded with lines to memorize, music to learn, rehearsals to get to…all while simultaneously trying to line up our next job! After the non-stop audition searching, countless long drives to interviews, prepping, learning, stressing, hoping, achieving, and failing, it’s easy to let yourself relax when you finally land a long-term job that you love. Not to say that we don’t deserve a break and a chance to revel in our newfound opportunity, but I’ve found that it’s during this time that we can do some of our best career building.

On several occasions, I have been the perfect example of letting myself get too comfortable with where I’m at. I’ll land a contract for six months as a singer in a fantastic show and spend six months forgetting that the next audition I attend might have a dance portion. When the contract is over, my skills, stamina, and flexibility are greatly lacking. Similarly, I’ve spent the better part of a year working in musical theatre, only to attend an acting audition with a monologue portion and realized that I haven’t even read a monologue in a year, much less practiced one.

After spending a month or two of my current contract loving the fact that I don’t have to constantly search for auditions or prepare songs to sing, I wisened up to the fact that one day, this contract will end and it would be detrimental to my career if I spent another month lying in the sun and acting like a tourist rather than bettering myself for my field.

My first step was to start some personal marketing. True, I don’t have to go on any auditions just yet, but it wouldn’t hurt to prepare a well-organized website and a killer show reel for when I do need another job. Next, I looked for dance/acrobatics studios in the area to try to keep my skills well-rounded for when audition time rolls around. I kept an eye out for new songs to learn for my audition book, constantly worked out at the gym, and spent a huge amount of time networking with the other industry professionals here to figure out what my next step might be.

As a scatterbrained, stressed out, struggling actor, I know that it’s crucial to find some time to simply relax and be happy with where you are in life. But it’s equally important to never stop bettering yourself, never stop learning new skills, and never stop looking for the next great opportunity to add to your resume. What are some ways that you keep yourself motivated to develop your skills and continue improving your career?

The Reckless Artist sig

4 Comments leave one →
  1. California Triple-Threat permalink
    January 14, 2013 6:30 pm

    I’m just as guilty… the lie I tell myself is that the hours I spend on youtube and watching tv are “research” for future auditions. oops!

  2. January 15, 2013 8:43 am

    Good point in this post. We always have to keep sharp like athletes, but it can be hard, i know I’m very guilty of letting skills slide when I’m not using them… for me it’s diction and speech work, which I really need to do every day, but don’t, but will…! Anyway, don’t forget too that taking a total break day here and there is good too, it gives you a lot of perspective to spend a day doing nothing to do with your craft… especially when spent with people you love and can give them full attention! 🙂

  3. January 15, 2013 9:20 am

    I also totally struggle with taking breaks versus staying sharp. It can be hard to find the perfect balance!

  4. The Growing Artist permalink
    January 17, 2013 2:36 pm

    I definitely struggle with this as well. Sometimes I find it helpful to meet up with a “work buddy”- someone who I can sit with for a planned period of time and work on projects over a cup of tea. Since I have planned out that time in my day, made the commitment with a friend, and also given myself the treat of having a nice cup of tea (and possibly a cookie haha)- I am more likely to stick to it, rather than being distracted 😀

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