You can make progress with practice.

For beer pong, maybe, but practice does not make perfect for acting or any creative endeavour. It does make progress. This one is for perfectionists (represent!

Do not ‘act your pants off.’

Have you ever noticed that the harder you work and push yourself, the worse you act? This holds for most creative pursuits. The more push you put in, the worse it tends to get. It doesn’t work this way with creativity. However, this does not mean you should stop working. You may need to do more work. It would be best if you did not work hard while performance is being achieved, but before and afterwards performance. This includes preparation, warm-ups and cool-downs. It also means research, consuming content, and getting in the classroom. Everyone will require a different amount of preparation and a different work method. This is why I encourage you to experiment.

Do you need to read the script 55x, break down each scene and draw your characters’ arcs on a whiteboard before you can act? Are you an actor who must search every word in the script and then write down a monologue for each line of dialogue? Then, are you the one who has to practice in the mirror? Are you an actor who must do an interpretive dance for each scene, sip tea, and meditate on the scene objectives?

You can try different learning methods and techniques throughout the week. Find your method.

Not careless, but carefree

It is amazing how effortless it feels to act effortlessly. It’s like the words flow effortlessly through your mind, the thoughts land where they will, and emotions bubble up to the surface to support and encourage you. You will also notice how quickly this can fall away if you get too involved in the scene. It is important to find a way to work free from care but not carelessness.

Carefree means working without inhibitions, taking risks, and letting the chips fall where they may. It’s also about having fun while doing it. Careless means not supporting your work, procrastinating and giving up before you even start. Sometimes we can become careless when we try to let our hard work go and be spontaneous. We need to be carefree. Ironically, this is not always easy. It can be learned and trained.

It’s a form of mindfulness, working moment to moment instead of being caught up in the past (prep/training/habits) or the future (results/fame/financial gain).

Develop a positive outlook on life

We must stop thinking of a career as a series of milestones, results and a path we must follow.

“Miley Cyrus started her career on Disney Channel. Therefore, I have to get on Disney Channel before turning 22. Then, I will release an album …”. “Judi Dench started her career on the stage in London. I need to move there to work with RSC before I turn 30, and then I can move on to an Academy Award Winning Film …”.

It doesn’t matter if someone made it’s doing XY, Y, and Z. It won’t work for you. Accept this and then move on.

Your career is yours. You will never know where it takes you until you reach it. Don’t obsess over your appearance, accent, or opinions. Actors have dyed their hair blonde to imitate Jennifer Lawrence’s audition for Silver Linings Playbook. They believe they will get similar roles if they do the same. Jennifer Lawrence was Jennifer Lawrence. She is talented, hardworking and fun to be around, making her the right choice for Silver Linings Playbook. It’s amazing how many actors will go to extreme lengths to get ahead in their careers (losing weight and changing their hair, moving 4x, moving cities, sleeping with C-list directors, etc.

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