Monday, May 27, 2013

As an Actor, is it Really Possible to Stay Humble WhilePromotingYourself?

The funny thing about being an actor is that you have to promote yourself. If you are pursuing acting as a career there is so much more to it than reading a script or playing a character. If this is to be your career, so much of your time is actually spent on the business side of things. There is just no way around it. Managing the business side of acting is what is will get you your next role or get you to the next level.

This includes promoting yourself. Not just by submitting to casting notices or attending showcases. This day and age it also means utilizing social media to share your work. It's actually a beautiful thing for an actor or anyone who runs a business. To be on the internet, your talents and brand accessible to the whole world at any time. But at what point is it too much? Does it eventually go to your head?

I'm having a lot of fun with social media, but it took me a loonngg time to embrace this side of being an actor. I like to use it to update my friends and those who are interested on my current projects. I may post a link my reel or me acting in a scene. I will post my blog or pictures from on-set. But before I hit the post/send/publish button, I always wonder "am I acting like I'm "all that?"" Mind you, when I see other actors or artists posting their updates or victories, I don't see them as thinking they are "all that." I see that they are simply sharing something that they are excited about and I support them. But when it comes to myself I always hesitate before I publish something.

Although I am confident in who I am and confident in my talent, I never would want anyone to think that I think I'm better than others. There is a difference between inner peace with who you are and downright cockiness. I never want to seem as though I am praising myself or bragging about my accomplishments. (And once again, when others post what they have achieved I don't see them as bragging.) I never want to people to be annoyed because they think I am posting to much. And I always want to stay humble.

There is such a fine line. It's so easy for actors to be narcissistic. I believe it's inside of all of us. So how do you promote yourself but also stay humble? Because as actors we do have to share our talent and put ourselves out there. It's part of our job. Promoting your work can open up unseen doors, and also help keep you focused and energized when things are slow.

For me, knowing and reflecting on the following things helps keep me grounded:

1) That (I believe) every opportunity I have in this career, my talent, and my purpose come from God.

2) Acting is actually not the most important thing in the world. (Even though I have a tendency to obsess, and I mean literally obsess, over it.)

3) You may be "on top" right now but soon things may slow down for awhile. And during your "down time" although things may be slow for you, other people you know are probably doing very well and reaching milestones you have not even made yet. If you don't stay humble this could destroy you and everything you have worked so hard for.

4) It's important to be a blessing for others by supporting their dreams and being genuinely happy for them. While you are hoping to get likes/comments/views on your posts and pages, don't forget to take time to do the same for others. And do it because you really want to. Not because you expect something in return.

5) Realizing that you are not the most talented person in the world. (Or the funniest, or the smartest, or the best-looking, or the most charming.)

6) Making sure you don't forget to thank everyone for their support. I think being on social media can be very overwhelming at times (um hello, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr...) and when you are busy it can be hard to keep track of comments and requests and posts. I know I am not perfect when it comes to replying, but I honestly try my best. It's important to set aside time just to thank people. I try my best because I truly am grateful and you should always show someone how grateful you are for them and their support.

I still feel funny sometimes about promoting myself. I guess maybe I always will a little. As for worrying if anyone thinks I post too much, I guess I have to do what I have to do. I worry more about whether or not it makes someone feel bad if things are slow for them at the moment. I know how that can sting. Not sure how to handle that one. I do think it is important to be sensitive to others, but also it's important to not be afraid to be who you are. I guess in a situation like that its extra important to look deep inside and make sure your heart is in the right place. If you feel a nudging not to post something at a particular time, then wait.

I'm assuming that there are other aspiring actors out there struggling with the idea of having to promote themselves as well. It's all about finding balance. I feel it's okay as long as you are just sharing and not speaking about "how talented you think you are," or "how great you think you are." Let others speak about awesome you are at what you do. And when they do, be gracious. When it comes to how often you should post, that will depend on you and your brand. Do what comes naturally. Make sure it isn't forced and that it is something you genuinely want to say or share. I personally don't think much of it when others post pretty frequently. For me, I try to keep it somewhere in the middle.

And don't forget: sometimes you don't need to give away all the details or talk too much about specific projects you are working on. Sometimes if you have something extra special in the works, it's best to keep it quiet until the right time.

So, is it possible to really stay humble while promoting yourself? I think so. Even if sometimes we do need little reminders. ;-)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When it Rains it Pours

I have learned to never get too upset or complain when you feel like things are going slow. Even when you feel like you are gonna go crazy if you go another day without getting any response from your casting submissions. If acting is truly want you want to do and you have faith and stay consistently working towards it things will always pick back up.

I recently went two and a half months exactly without getting any auditions. I was submitting everyday and definitely had moments when I was wondering what the heck was wrong with me. But I stayed the course and finally got asked to audition for a role in a NYU student production. It was for a small project- a scene to be filmed in the school's three camera TV studio. I've done a couple of these in the past, and they usually only take an hour or two to shoot. But the script was so much fun and I knew I could bring something to either of the two characters I was reading for. I decided to wholeheartedly audition for the production and just to have fun with it. I got the part!! Yes, a student production, but I have said before that sometimes it the smaller projects that really keep you going and give you an extra boost when things seem slow. The scene was comedic, and since I have done mostly dramatic roles, I really got a lot out of this part. And of course I met some amazing people along the way.

That was the middle of April. Since then, I have been blessed to have worked in several projects and have a couple of great ones in store for the next month. In the past month or so I have also worked in two web-series, a short film, and a NYU audio drama (got a nice clip from that to ad my VoiceOver reel). This upcoming month I will be working with a team for the 48hr Film Festival, and I booked a great supporting role in an indie comedy pilot. I'm also teaming up with a very talented director and another actor, also very talented, to work on a scene together that will be shot and posted on-line. Next weekend I will be attending the premiere party for Joe Ciminera's "The Library." AND I'm finally creating a YouTube channel featuring clips from the projects I've done. So needless to say I am currently busy, busy, busy. I thank the Lord for all of these opportunities and intend to enjoy this busy period while it while it lasts. :-)

The moral of this story? Of course: never give up, be patient, be persistent, be consistent, and have faith that the slow times are as much a part of the process as the busy times. If you choose to spend the slow times wisely, you will be overwhelmingly busy before you know it!

Please feel free to share with me your latest projects in the comments section!!