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Don’t Let “The Biz”” Get You Down.

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Helenna Santos-Levy by Marc Royce smaller A little while ago I found myself having a number of conversations with people in the business about stamina.  Basically  the entertainment industry is all about staying focused on “the goal,” especially when that goal seems very very far away, perhaps in another galaxy. There are so many things that can happen to someone pursing a career in this field: exhaustion, disappointment, general malaise with where one is in their career, life feeling like it’s taking you in another direction entirely but you aren’t sure which path to follow…

In order to thrive and keep putting one foot in front of the other, it’s all about always coming at things with a renewed focus and energy, and recommitting oneself every single day.

I asked a number of my friends in “the biz” how they stay motivated when they feel like the industry is conspiring against them. Below are some of the great responses I received:

Dani: “I have on many occasions felt this way. The turning point for me was to remember that I LOVE what I do. It’s frustrating, but I love it. I remember to continue to have faith and that I put out what I get back. Blah, blah, blah very cliche positive Universe crap, but it does help me get back on track. Trying to be positive is a daily struggle but I do find that when I am throwing positive vibes out there I get auditions, interviews & bookings. Keep on fighting! It’s worth it. You know making your own projects and producing them gives you that power, channeling that amazing CEO quality. As for the clock ticking, I figured there are nannies, my mother in law to help with the children when life gets busy with auditions and filming. There are trainers to whip my butt into filming shape.”

Jackie: “For me, at the point in my life and in my career… “recommitting” each day usually involves me working out in some way. When I’m struggling through some difficult exercise, it reminds me of the challenges in my life and I feel motivated because, difficult or not, I’m doing it. Even on the days where all I do is take a walk, I take time to reflect and check in with myself.”

Amber: “I have definitely accomplished a lot this year (especially in the producing world) – and I have to admit I don’t have an accountability partner. I never really felt the need for one, as I check in with myself daily, if not hourly. I know that sounds extravagant, but it’s true. You should see my notepad on my iphone. I also use workflowy.com to help my research and complete my daily, monthly and yearly goals. If it gets too overwhelming I give myself 24 hours to get away from it, feel sorry for myself, complain, or go to the beach, whatever I need to do, then the next morning I attack the to do list with a new fire. I am fortunate enough to have created a day job that I love (editing, over at editmonster.net), so I don’t hate life every day like I did when I was working at a 5 star hotel. Maybe it’s a first born child thing? I just figure out 3-6 things to take care of, sort them in to priority, do the smallest thing first, and then reward myself for completing all 6 tasks. If I have a monthly goal that doesn’t get completed, it becomes a daily goal the following month until it gets done. My first quarter was shaky and more unfocused, but by the end of the year I know exactly what I need more of.” 

Victoria: “…It is about starting new every day, loving this life of entertainment, even though it’s all about uncertainty. The doubt comes in, the fear of “wasting our lives for something that may never happen” phobia, but also the excitement and the belief that we are in it for the long haul, because WE LOVE IT! This life, entertaining, being a part of an industry that we can use our imagination, etc. etc. etc. is something that I can’t imagine my life without. So we find our way, and keep redefining it as we go. Fall down, get back up, and get stronger in the process. Anyway, I ramble, but thanks for this article. I loved it.”

AJ: “Step 1: Get connected with your vision. What it is that you want? In the next week? Month? Year? For your life?
Step 2: Write it all down in the form of declaration. (ex: I am committed to revamping my actor website by November 1st)
Step 3: Wake up EVERY SINGLE DAY and commit to what you will create that day. (ex: I commit to going to the gym by 11AM and reading a script by 3PM)
Making it happen will also strengthen your relationship with your word. Which will in turn increase the likelihood of sticking to your commitments. 

I find reconnecting to my vision so powerful. THAT is what motivates me. …and if for some reason that’s not working… The other amazing tool is to “FOCUS OUT”. If you need a to be inspired, reminded why you’re here, reminded why you’re doing the things you’re doing… give it away, be generous, focus out on others instead of yourself. Volunteer, call a family member or friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, create something beautiful for someone and give it away, smile at strangers, the list goes on and on.”

Thank you again to everyone for their fantastic feedback!  

For me, I’ve found that it’s all about keeping my eye on the horizon and putting one foot forward and then the other.  Sometimes the path is simple and clear, and other times I can barely see the horizon for the trees, but I know it’s there.  And after all, it’s all about the journey.  Sometimes even though those trees seem to be in my way all sinister and mean and laughing at me with a Tim Burton grin, they are actually a fun labyrinth-esque obstacle keeping me on my toes, making me appreciate the odyssey that much more.

*this piece was originally published in “Geeky Gorgeous Gallantry” and has been re-edited for this site 😉

Helenna Santos

About Helenna Santos

Helenna Santos is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ms. In The Biz. She is also an actor and producer with Mighty Pharaoh Films and can often be found on panels at conventions such as San Diego Comic-Con, and has been interviewed by major press outlets including CNN. Her work as a contributing writer has been featured in MovieMaker Magazine, Backstage Magazine, IndieWire and BUST Magazine. She has produced numerous award winning short films, digital series, and feature films. As an actor, she can be seen most recently in CW's "The Flash," as well as ABC's "A Million Little Things" and "The Good Doctor", and the highly anticipated Netflix limited series "The Baby-Sitters Club".