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Guidance

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Brittani NoelWell, people, it’s happened again. The “universe” has dropped another golden acorn of wisdom of on my head. And this one left a mark.

There I was, working on a new sequence in Capoeira class… well, it was hardly a new sequence. It was a slightly different variation on moves we already knew. But for whatever infuriating reason, I just wasn’t getting it. I watched carefully. I tried over and over and over again. And over again. However something about it was not connecting for me. It was hard.

I looked over at Instructor Alongado in a bit of despair, trying to understand what I was missing. With a slight smirk, Alongado assured us, “This is actually a very simple and easy combination. You’re just making it complicated. As in life,” he said, “we sometimes have a tendency to make things more complicated than they really are.” With that, he walked us through the sequence one more time, and it was one laughably teensy-weensy-little-bitty-minute adjustment that needed to be made to connect the dots. Once connected, I was baffled and kind of embarrassed at how truly simple it was. How could I not have gotten that earlier?

And as I asked the question, the acorn came spilling out all its golden goodness.

Alongado spoke to exactly what I was grappling with in my career. I’d been getting really frustrated with trying to figure out my next step. There are a myriad of things an actor can do in this business to move ahead. I get stuck on what are the most effective strategies to achieve my goals? Coincidentally I’d started entertaining the idea that perhaps I needed a career coach- an objective eye to give me some clarifying feedback when I’m caught up in a fog of confusion on what to do next. When that fog becomes too thick, I can’t see the way. So I started thinking maybe I’m a person who would be more effective with the help of a career coach.

I had been debating and analyzing and quite frankly obsessing (‘cause that’s what I do best) over the question of whether or not to hire a coach. But the second I had that experience in class with Alongado, I knew it was a metaphor for my life. Prone toward over-thinking things to the point of complicating them, I may need some outside guidance.

So I made the move. I called Barbara Deutsch, who was recommended to me by the mother of Ms. In the Biz, Helenna Santos, and had a chit-chat on the phone. I explained my situation and how I was looking to up-level my career. I shared that one of my goals is to book a national commercial and I just don’t know what else to do to get there. She said she’s done research on me and was convinced that I’ve been doing a lot of things right and appear on the cusp of success. I was a little annoyed. I was convinced there’s something big I’m missing, some grand ideas of how to maneuver my way in. Surely there must be something to do that I’m not doing. Barbara suggested there may be things to “tweak” as far as my personal roadblocks, but it sounds to her like I’m not as far away as I may think. So I thought, what the hell, maybe she’s right. Maybe what’s needed is a minor adjustment like I experienced in Capoeira. Maybe?

So I set up an appointment for the following week.

And wouldn’t you know it… over that weekend, I booked a commercial. WHAT!? Yes. My mind is still blown.

How could it have been that simple?

Well, I guess it goes back to that acorn. Sometimes it’s actually simple and we just complicate it. Easy? No. I went through a lot of frustration before I saw the simplicity of the combination in class. And I went through a lot of frustration (and auditions and classes and headshots etc.) before I booked this commercial. But the actual thing itself was just not that complicated.

So I rescheduled my meeting with Barbara.

And I carry on until the next acorn dents my noggin.

Have you ever felt lost in the maze of your career? Do you find yourself trying to figure it all out on your own? What if you enlisted the help of others- a coach, an accountability group of peers, or working professionals in the industry? Maybe you’d find a short-cut you couldn’t have seen on your own. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Brittani Noel

About Brittani Noel

(Actress/Producer/Capoeirista) Shortly after graduating from USC Brittani produced/starred in her own award-nominated indie webseries Stockholm, written/directed by Emmy & Streamy Nominee Scott Brown. On a mission to give her acting resume a kick in the butt, Brittani began training in the Brazilian martial art, Capoeira. Little did she know how dramatically that decision would transform her entire life. Since starting her training in the fall of 2011, Brittani has co-produced the multi-award winning musical webseries Destroy the Alpha Gammas, is Associate Producer on upcoming webseries gRIDLOCKed, appearing along with Andrew Keegan (10 Things I Hate About You) and Richard Riehle (Office Space, Bridesmaids), and guest-stars in upcoming comedy Disillusioned from Director Shilpi Roy (Hipsterhood). While continuing to take on interesting acting roles, Brittani is currently co-producing Brown’s short film The Other Side and recently moved up a cord level in Capoeira.