Have you ever been at a point where you’ve run out of ideas or you feel like progress is slower than watching paint dry? Or not at all if you try and paint your finger nails with shellac and you don’t have the special lamp to dry it! I’ve been there literally with the nail thing. But in all seriousness I’ve been at a standstill point a number of times in pursuit of my dream of being an actress. I get to this point where I can’t get to the next step and I don’t know what to do next and find myself stuck there. Then you get a little down, a little depressed even. Sitting in this state you build negative energy and you start to believe you’re not going to succeed. Such negative thoughts are counterproductive to your ultimate goal and I have allowed such thoughts to consume me many times. I’ve spoken about self-doubt and self-pity in previous blogs but when you are actually feeling this way your mind does an amazing thing - it triggers a coping mechanism that makes you think your goals or dreams are too far out of reach and that you can’t possibly succeed. Like for instance here are few of my favourites.
Hell! Talk about wallowing in it! With all this psychological rubbish of course you’re not going anywhere Bernice! The more you generate negative thoughts the more you welcome that negativity to impede upon your life and goals. It’s like a plague and you lose sight of your goal and your passion for acting begins to diminish. The mind is so powerful and that old saying ‘you are what you think’ is so true.
So how do I bring myself out of this? Well everyone has different personalities and motivational triggers. My trigger is challenges. I love it when people tell me I can’t do something because my focus shifts. I was once told I would never make it in Hollywood because he said I was too old and not pretty enough. My reply to him was ‘I’ll see you L.A.’ As crazy as this sounds and regardless of if he’s right or not I’m going to move mountains, reshuffle priorities, map out a path to a successful Hollywood career AND when I get to L.A I’m going to knock on his door and say ‘………..ain’t ya gonna invite me in!’ Ah! I know what you thought I was going to say. Now don’t get me wrong here I’m not saying the only reason I’m an actress is because someone challenged me because my passion for being an actress is always there it’s always going to be inside of me. A challenge is the push I need to kick me out of my negative state.
The point is if you are serious about your acting career you must have a goal and plan of where you’re going and how you plan to get there. When you hit brick walls you have to knock them down. Find that push to kick you out of those negative states. I promise you this if you don’t believe in yourself no else will. I encourage you to keep pushing forward.
It’s fulfilling for me to share my life experiences and my acting journey as they are strongly linked. So if you have any questions about this blogs content or you just want help to push yourself toward your acting goals please contact me here.
I just wanted to share my journey of how I started out as an actress and where I am today. One of the real exciting things about being an actor is meeting amazing people like directors, producers, casting directors, crew members and fellow actors. You make these connections with industry minded people and you just feel the energy that resonates from everyone around you whether it’s onset, in a workshop or at an audition. It’s a great opportunity to learn what other actors are doing to further their careers. You would be interested to know I have found that a majority of actors don’t know how to further their careers and in some cases even know where to start.
When I decided I wanted to be an actress I thought to myself, ‘How the hell am I going to do this?’ It was obvious that I needed training but as a mother of five – yes that’s right FIVE – and working fulltime there was no way I could leave my job and attend a drama school fulltime for 2 years. My two youngest babies were under the age of 4 and day care costs were a killer. Over a number of years I would search for workshops after hours or on weekends (which was scarce). I applied for roles on Star Now – now that was god send – this was where I got my first extra role and it was my first time on a film set. I loved it and all I wanted to do was get in front of the camera more except I didn’t know how.
It wouldn’t be for another few years that I would attend a 6 week course with an amazing actress, director and coach, Miranda Harcourt. There I met an actress and for the life of me I can’t remember her name but as we got to chatting she told me she was auditioning for roles on Shortland Street (NZ Soap) and the movie Avatar. So I asked her how did she get these auditions, she told me through her agent. The thought never entered my mind. I needed a blinking agent ‘dur!’ She gave the name and number of her agent and they invited me into their little boutique agency. I got auditions for TV Commercial’s and landed one of them and I got to be on my very first international mega buster movie set, Avatar. My experience on Avatar really cemented my passion and desire for acting.
My journey has been a long and testing one for me but it wasn't until I moved to Australia where I found an opportunity to work my day job as an IT Professional and study acting at Screenwise after-hours. Until doing this course I hadn't realised how much I didn't know about acting and the business of acting. Like Acting is a Business? You bet your cotton little socks it is and guess what or should I say who the business is. YOU. Yes as an Actor you are your business and it’s up to you to build your business, market yourself and keep yourself well trained. To get to this point in my life circumstances dedicated I had to take the long way around but I guess everyone’s journey’s are different.
If I could impart one thing to new actors it would be; if you are seriously passionate about acting than your journey must start with not just training to be an actor but by understanding the industry and how it works. Knowing what’s required to get an agent, what casting directors are looking for and finding other avenues to get work. Do short films, create actor cell groups and meet every week, work on scenes and do self-tests. Why not write your own feature film or short. With technology these days and the quality of cameras being produced makes it easy. If you are at a point where you feel you need help find a mentor - I have and I'm really excited that I have. I really encourage you all to do the same. It's all part of the journey.
If you have a story you would like to share please feel free to share it with us. If you have any questions regarding where you are in your Actors Journey I’m more than happy to answer any if I can.
In this industry rejection can make you, break you or hold you back especially when starting out in the industry. I remember that pivotal moment I decided ‘I’m going to be an actor!’ and without realising it I was off on an emotional roller-coaster ride. It was the most exhilarating feeling but at the same time I was extremely anxious as fear grappled beneath the surface. I had so many inner personal reservations about myself it transpired into my training and auditions. Each rejection or critical observation towards my abilities or lack thereof, my reservations and self-doubt grew stronger. You see rejection and I have known each other since early childhood. When I was of the tender age of 7 my nature was that of compassion and sympathy towards others and I guess in hindsight was probably why I was such an easy target. You could crush me with one word - assuming I knew what it meant. So I’m at school and its morning break. I’m in the cloak room getting my morning tea from my little school bag. Two Griffins Krispie biscuits and an apple. Yum my favourite. And then he walked in, one of the cutest boys in my class. We were all alone. I plucked up the courage and asked him what he had for morning tea. ‘What you got?’ he asked in a really rough voice. I got a little scared but managed to say in my small voice ‘Two Krispie bickies and a apple’. He looked at me with a little grin and said ‘I got a vegemite sandwich; you wanna swap?’ I got butterflies in my stomach I just couldn’t believe it we were having a conversation. Wow! ‘Okay’ I said ‘Vegemite sandwiches are my favourite!’ Not even, but at that moment I didn’t care. We swapped snacks and as he walked away he said ‘Hey! You know you’re hideous right?’ I said in my sweetest girly voice ‘Do you really think so?’ ‘Yeap’ he said. That day was the happiest day of my 7 years on this planet. I just couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t stop smiling – the whole day. When I got home I was still beaming as I caught my mother’s attention and she couldn’t help but ask why I was so happy. To my mother word for word I shared my story. When I finished she tilted her head to the side and frowned. ‘Bub do you know what hideous means?’ ‘Oh yes mummy it means I’m preeeetty’ was my reply. She paused and tilted her head the other way. ‘No baby, I’m sorry but it means you’re ugly.’ Crushed. Rejected. Rejected. I died a painful death and cried my little heart out. What an idiot and I gave him my Krispie bickies. This experience has haunted me most of my life and believe you me it wasn’t the last experience of rejection I would endure. Since embarking on this journey of being an actor I discovered that rejection was keeping me down. Rejection got a hold of me and without realising it I drew that energy towards me and I wrapped myself in it. With all the self-pity and self-doubt I willed myself to deserve rejection. Well guess what… there is no room for feeling rejection if you want to be an actor. It’s out of your hands, we can only do the best that we can possibly do or be. We are not responsible for how someone else thinks so we must accept the results, learn from them and then build from there. I have learnt so much on my journey to being an actor. I never for a moment thought that when I decided to be one that it would literally change my life. Don’t let rejection control you or hinder your acting progress. Today I can stand in the mirror and say to myself ‘You are beautiful and you know it, hell you’re stunning! ……………..Okay that’s a lie, but I’m most definitely working on it.