“Why Did I Bother Training?” The Paradox of Being Over-Competent & Under-Utilized

“Why Did I Bother Training?” The Paradox of Being Over-Competent & Under-Utilized

As part of my ongoing investigation into actors and their spiritual health, I recently conducted a work-satisfaction survey of several dozen actors at various points in their careers, from those just starting out to long-term professionals.   Some answers were surprising, many followed patterns you would expect, but the frequency of one answer, in particular, startled me.  Of the approximately sixty actors surveyed, over 75% expressed frustration that their training and ability seemed to have little or no bearing on whether or not they got cast.

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Your Brain on Auditioning Part Two: Cavemen Didn't Audition

Your Brain on Auditioning Part Two: Cavemen Didn't Audition

By now you can see that many aspects of the actor’s life involve perceiving threat in a way that was useful only thousands of years ago, when our lives were at risk on a daily basis. In our modern world, especially in a profession such as acting where we are forced to compete for scarce resources, encouraged to compare ourselves to each other, primed to seek out negative information, and flooded with gossip and opportunities for social comparison, this brain behavior doesn’t serve us and can cause us very real physical and emotional stress.

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Your Brain on Auditioning Part One: The Post-Audition Agony Spiral

Your Brain on Auditioning Part One: The Post-Audition Agony Spiral

If you’re like most actors, you’ve probably experienced the dreaded Post Audition Agony Spiral: you started wondering what went wrong and then couldn’t stop going over and over the whole sequence of events in your head, questioning your choices and trying to find hidden meaning in everything the auditors said (or didn’t say).

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An Open Letter to Critics and Media Writers

An Open Letter to Critics and Media Writers

As a former actor and long-time acting teacher, coach, and director as well as an avid consumer of entertainment commentary and criticism, I’ve noticed a disturbing pattern among otherwise clearly educated and otherwise honorable and incisive critics, entertainment bloggers, podcast hosts and media journalists.  I’m talking about a persistent misunderstanding of what actors actually do that ranges from unwitting perpetuation of outdated terms to inadvertent stereotyping to misapplied critique to inexplicable ridicule all the way to aggressively unapologetic ignorance.

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The Universe Doesn’t Care if You Book The Blacklist: Actors and Magical Thinking

The Universe Doesn’t Care if You Book The Blacklist: Actors and Magical Thinking

I have a friend on Facebook who recently posted about an eerie phenomenon she was experiencing.  Every day she found herself checking a digital clock of some kind (an alarm clock, the clock in her car, a microwave, etc.).  The time was always some form of three repeated numbers: 1:11, 4:44, 5:55, etc.  She found this bizarre in the extreme—surely it was a sign of some kind, but what could it mean?


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When You Have a Nemesis: Actors and Envy

When You Have a Nemesis: Actors and Envy

Something terrible happened to me the other day, followed by something wonderful, and I am ashamed to tell you about both things. I debated before writing this blog post because I wasn’t sure I wanted you to know this about me, but ultimately I found that one of the bizarre urges that motivated me as an actor (namely, to reveal unsavory personal truths) also motivates me as a writer and advocate for actors. Perhaps you’ll recognize yourself in my pettiness, and perhaps you’ll tell me so, and we’ll both come out of it feeling less petty, less alone, and with a better understanding of human nature that will inform our work. That’s my intention, anyway, and the actor’s life is nothing if not a constant attempt to balance intention and uncertainty. So, with that in mind, gird your loins: this ain’t gonna be pretty.

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