The most important question an actor will ask themselves

Hey there,

Good morning and happy Sunday to you.

I am so grateful because I got to spend the weekend with my daughter!  What are you grateful for on this beautiful Sunday?

So, I want to talk about what Sanford Meisner said is THE single most important question you’ll ever ask yourself in pursuit of being an actor.

Ready?

Why are you doing this? Why do you really want to be an actor?

Sandy went on to say, “There’s no right answer, but it is very important to be clear because the clearer you are, the clearer you’ll be as to what to do next.”

This question has been on my mind because last week I went down to LA for some meetings – the type of meetings I’ve spent twenty-eight years creating and earning so a very cool trip.

As I flew back I kept thinking about this question and I was so grateful that I’m clear about my answer. That clarity has guided every decision I’ve made about my career all these years later.  I’ve been able to make a beautiful living and on my terms and one of the main reasons is because I’ve been crystal clear on why I’m doing this.

I became an actor because I wanted a voice for the things I was passionate about.  I wanted to say some things that I hoped would help people, shake people, move people, and inspire people. And who knows, maybe even change some people and in so doing, make this world just a little better.

Why are you doing this?

For many people, this dream started when they were very young. They saw a movie or play and it all seemed so magical and something “clicked” inside and they “knew this was it!”

Or maybe they were in a play and all that energy from the audience – from the laughter to the applause – hooked them instantly and they also “knew!”

But “knew” what?

You see, there’s a very common perception that actors are starved for attention and that’s why they desire to be in front of people and that is why they’re really doing this.  Sandy believed this perception was very common as well. He once said, “Most people doing this do not want to be actors. They want to be rich and famous so they can say to everybody back home, ‘See, I told you I was special.’”

Why do you want to be an actor? Is this really your dream?  Or is it your fantasy to fill a big void inside of you?

Again there’s no right answer, but I have found people who are doing this for ego reasons verses healthy reasons usually quit pretty early on. And for those that stick around, they’re never happy unless they “make it big.” And for most, that break never happens so they’re miserable “going after their dream.”

Going after your dream should be fun!  It should be exhilarating, intoxicating, and inspiring – even with all the struggles.

And if you’re an actor, there are going to be lots of struggles. There are just too many people who want work and not enough jobs, so it’s incredibly competitive. In fact, it’s been called the most competitive profession on the planet for good reason.

So to go after this you must be incredibly healthy and resilient to hang in there but I do know this – if you’re doing this to help and to serve then your career can be successful every time you get a chance to do that through your work.

I taught all week long and I know I helped a lot of people. Several of you reached out to me with questions about your careers and I got the chance to be of service. Dozens of you were part of our Q&A Webinar last Saturday and I had the honor of helping and serving there as well.

This is why I became an actor and this is why I wouldn’t trade my career with anyone. And although I am not rich and famous, I feel incredibly successful as an actor.

Why do you want to be an actor?

I’d love your feedback and reactions (in fact, this has become a favorite part of my week) so please share yourself with the rest of your Artistic Family on our private Facebook page and if you haven’t joined yet, get on it –  Here’s the link:

THIS WEEK’S BLOG POST Check out this week’s Blog Post – “How to get your first agent.”

Again, thank you for spending some time with me today. You are greatly appreciated!

My very best, Jim

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