As a follow up to my last article about low points, I had a couple of great conversations with friends both in and outside of the industry. One of the major take-aways for me was how much I had let the business side of my acting career become the determining factor for every decision I made, regardless of whether is was directly related to my career. This made every single decision from cutting my hair to ordering lunch to what to do on a Friday night, a business decision. Hearing that was a huge wake up call because while I have always made my acting career my number one priority… it’s not the only thing in my life and it isn’t the only thing that defines me.
This was a bit of a scary realization, mainly because I both wanted to re-claim my life and also because there was a lot of fear of doing something that could in some way possibly endanger my career. However, the minute I opened my mind to this “new” way of thinking about my life, I immediately thought of things I had wanted to do but had put off until they fit in with a job I booked or ‘til I was successful enough that I could afford to spend my time and money elsewhere. So I have committed to re-learning who I am and, more importantly, what my wants and needs as Anna, person who is an actor but is also so much else, might be.
I’m actually really surprised at how easy, once I established a new mindset, it has been to just jump into changing things. So far, I have gotten bangs which doesn’t sound like a big deal but when you have had the exact same hair style since you left acting school and started paying for headshots, it feels major.
It was actually hugely emotionally freeing to do something I had wanted to do just for me rather than because my team thought it was going to help me book more or get me into certain rooms or whatever. I’m now contemplating adding some highlights or maybe even a slight shift in color which again has nothing to do with trying to help my career but instead is because I’m bored and want to shake things up. The bangs were like a floodgate getting loose and there was no going back. I signed up for an aerial pole class and got back into the studio after 2 years of being too busy, too broke and too worried about how the bruises and calluses might affect my chance of being cast. It was glorious and I have the friction burns and bruises to prove it.
These have led to a lot of small, almost innoxious, changes that have led to a much larger realization. My balance between art and business when it comes to acting has become majorly skewed. From watching TV and movies as research rather than because I want to share in the story and go on the journey to coaching on my RP accent because it widens my castability rather than re-learning Italian so I can go back to my childhood goal of being able to speak at least 3 or 4 languages…I have let the un-stated rules of what you need to do on a daily basis to have a shot at being a successful working actor define me as a person. And as someone who has never fit into just one box and has come to see that as a source of pride, I’ll be damned if I start to now. So, I’m committing to doing things, just for me that let me feed my passionate artistic side but aren’t necessarily things that are actively helping grow and improve my career.