The best and also most challenging thing about a career in film and television is that there is no map to follow. It’s hard to be sure one is moving in the right direction. For example – becoming a lawyer: Degree- law school – write the Bar Exam – intern, work- become partner.
Recently an acting friend of mine was faced with making a new list of career goals .
She called me and asked “ Where do I start?”
It may seem obvious to some but I knew exactly what she meant. When she and I entered the industry our goals were simple – to win and Oscar and be on SNL.
Working now for over a decade in film and TV, reality and circumstance have caused a shift in our goal setting. At times we have both thought how many times can we cut out a picture of an Oscar and tape it to our vision boards?
The answer to that is still unknown but what I have learned is there is so much more that needs to go on my goal setting sheets.
In the beginning everything was exciting and I understood that every step was ultimately leading to the big goal. Years later every commercial, every voice job, and every part can start to feel more like a hamster wheel than a ladder. Now I don’t mean to sound like a pessimist, I am so grateful for each and every last job! I am especially grateful to be a Wedding Belle, something I never expected.
However I think every performer often asks “am I heading in the right direction”?
To answer this I have tweaked my goal setting. Now it is more of a philosophy to help guide me and remind me that each step may not be an ascension, yet every moment has value and therefore is a move in the right direction.
Here is my philosophy!
1) There is no right path. Wake up each day and connect with as many people as possible. Be authentic.
2) Be inquisitive of people. Listen to their stories and learn from them. It will lead you towards your opportunities
3) Be open. Never decide something isn’t for you until you have heard all about it.
4) Understand that it IS the Journey. Trophies and lines on a resume can feel empty. It is the people you meet and the challenges you overcome that make it an awesome experience.
5) Nobody does it alone. Let others help you. Look for mentors, they are there if you are looking.
6) Don’t give up. There is a quote “Never give up on someone you can’t go a day without thinking about” – Never give up on an industry that you can’t stop thinking about. I once quit for a short time and couldn’t watch anything from a commercial to a movie without my heart aching.
Applying a philosophy to each day is a great goal setting technique. Then trust that the winds of fate will guide you swiftly to your dreams and of course put Oscar on that board.