I came from Japan to San Francisco as a plus one to my husband who got transferred here because of his job. I was reluctant to move here with him because I had been an actor back home for over 11 years and was finally seeing a glimpse of hope of fully sustaining myself with this career. But at the same time, I had this dark cloud that was growing in me constantly saying “is THIS what you wanted?” because the “Acting” I was doing just didn’t seem right and I always felt I was just fooling the audience. So I made up my mind to make a change in my life and dived in. As I sat in front of my computer in my SF apartment with no furniture last August typing “acting in SF” because I had no clue what so ever about the industry in this area, this school’s website caught my eyes. Going to school was not my first priority because back then I thought my only solution to solving all my problems was to get more jobs and keep working until I make my breakthrough somehow. Yet I was also stuck in a situation where my spouse VISA didn’t allow me to start working unless I had a work permit. And so I decided to just look through the website to see what they were teaching. And there, EVERY SINGLE THING written there, struck me like thunders. I was literally shaking. It was like someone else was watching me the entire time and worded out every problem I had and told me what to do. I immediately sent an email asking to be interviewed by Jim and soon after I was called back to see him and that was only three days before the first day of fall session. I am truly grateful that he let me in and that I made this decision for myself because oh boy, I need five hours to explain all that.
First, my biggest fear was to think that “my dream will never come true”. When you’re early into the dream of acting, this often means “I’ll never get to Hollywood” or “I’ll never be famous” or “I’ll never book enough jobs” because success is often measured by fame and money. Once you start seeing the great work and see great acting in front of your eyes on sets it becomes “Will I ever be able to do that?”. But soaking myself in the fast-food-acting industry and seeing so many actors get away with bad acting and still make their names, washes away that thought and I start thinking the first questions again and fall into the loop of constant doubt, suffocating myself in my own dream. That was how I lived the past decade before coming here. Studying at The Meisner Technique Studio gave me the fear; a whole new level of “Will I ever be able to do this?” because you’re introduced to the purest, most authentic way of acting, which is HARD. But the positive effect of this new level of fear is that you’re not so much worried about the earlier fears because you’re so focused on becoming a better actor, and it is such a relief. So here I am still battling with my greatest fear of “will I ever be able to do this” but managing to control it in a much healthier attitude.
I thought I was going to die. I was so nervous mainly because I hadn’t been speaking English for more than 12 years let alone be in a class full of English speaking people and I’m sure a lot of ESL students can relate to this. IT IS SCARY! So the first thing I thought when I came out of the classroom was that I was, in fact, very alive. AND not only was I alive but I was so hopeful for my future because the first class was so therapeutic to someone like myself who’s been on the verge of giving up their dreams so many times.
The greatest gift would definitely be the healthier attitude towards my dream. By this, is to think less about what others think of you and stop trying to be good and be FREE! This is a game changer in such a neurotic industry where everything you do is judged by others. I am still learning to be free but I’ve felt so much positive changes in my personal relationships, in class, and in my relationship with my dream.
someone who saved my dream by giving me hope that if I put the time and effort, I WILL be able to call myself an actor. And borrowing Jim and Melissa’s words, he was a genius because his teachings, his techniques are what makes me believe in that statement.
It took me a month to write this because I felt like I didn’t have anything valuable to share. Going after this dream and being in this training is like riding an emotional jet coaster. You feel wonderful today wanting to share everything positive, and so ripped apart and worn out the next day that everything that comes out of your mouth is negative. The ride has definitely become more smooth as I grew into this training and learned how to think that I’M ENOUGH. And so I am sharing this hoping that someone could relate to this and feel encouraged.
I need to improve on my choice making. You cannot buy into the imaginary circumstances unless you make the right, activating choice. This to me is like reevaluating my life and me as a person – what happened and what made me do certain things and why I felt that way. It’s a constant experimenting and learning process and I cannot agree more that “your talent lies in your choices!”
To ask yourself WHY you’re doing this. Although I am very clear on why I started it initially, I have yet to find my ultimate answer. I have a vague outline of it now but I feel like when I finally have that, I become the strongest and healthiest version of myself not only in terms of going after my dream but as a human being because it is so close to asking yourself the purpose of life. I am not rushing to conclusions because I know I will be a different person when I complete this training, but the occasional thoughts of WHY wakes me up from my unhealthy habit of fearing my dream will never come true.
I need to work on my ability to concentrate. As Jim always tells us that the current society requires you to become so busy thinking about multiple things at a time. I never realized that until I had problems in preparations because I was easily distracted by other thoughts as silly as “what should I cook for my husband tonight” to something common like “what if this doesn’t take me THERE”. I have become better at this after almost a year in this training but I still feel like the “freakish ability to concentrate” is my weak link to my work which I think is the foundation to live in your own imaginary world and to focus on your partner. Also, because of my previous training and how I worked before, it is hard for me to shut my inner critique – the mini director version of myself.
I have struggled for 12 years and yet here I am with so many insecurities and doubts and negativity but hey! I’m still here! I’m not trying to discourage anyone who’s just started following their dream of acting but the reality is harsh. You need to be patient if you really want this. The good news is tho, the worst thing that can happen to your dream is YOU QUITTING. So just keep doing the work and be patient! Jim and Melissa will give you enough love and support so you’ll never want to quit 😉