Tuesday, June 21, 2016

#CareerReboot Challenge Week 2: Role Models

So, last we took a look at the stuff we're good at. This week, let's think about people we admire, and who have the careers we would like to have. This one was pretty involved and took some time. No, I don't think you should model yourself after someone 100%, but if we see someone who reminds us of ourselves a little bit, or has the types of roles we want, we can get clues as to how we can market ourselves a little better.

Do people ever say you look like someone? Have you been told you're a doppleganger for a particular celebrity? This is a good place to start. Celebrities I tend to get:

  • Julia Roberts (before I had braces, when she had curly hair)
  • Minnie Driver (I don't see it, I think it's just the hair)
  • Andie McDowell (see above)
  • Zoey Deschanel
  • Emily Blunt
I don't know, I don't really see it...

Now think of actors you really admire; who do you look up to? What do you like about them? These can be any gender. Think about what makes them special, and the roles they tend to get. 

Now connect some dots. What do you have in common with these people? To get to this, I made a mind web. I listed my role models, then some of my favorite performances, then came up with adjectives to describe these characters. I tried to avoid the phrase "strong woman" for a lot of them, and instead came up with what the specific qualities of a "strong woman" are. Then I highlighted in red the qualities that I thought I shared naturally. Obviously, I think I can play all of them, but we're trying to be honest with who we are. Plus, vulnerability is something I tend to struggle with in performance.

Anyway, this was time consuming but fun, and I think it will help me analyze performances better in the context of the kinds of roles I would like to play. Oh, and if you'd like to use the same program for your own mind map, I used bubbl.us.

If you're playing along at home...

Who are your role models? What kinds of roles do you want to be playing? Comment, or tag me on twitter or instagram!

See you next time!

Monday, May 30, 2016

#CareerReboot Challenge Week 1: Strengths

It's been a tough couple of years, and I was starting to feel like my career was in a rut, so I decided what I needed was a career bootcamp! But stuff like that is expensive, so I figured I would break it down on my own, and then I realized I should share the experience because A, I'm kind of a masochist that way, and B, ACTORS HELP EACH OTHER! This series is geared toward actors who are already trained, working, and trying to get to the next level, but hopefully it should also be helpful to anyone trying to revitalize any kind of career.

We're starting the challenge these first few weeks, by focusing on branding. This is kind of a loaded word for artists. Do a google search about actor branding and there are two schools of thought. The first is that you need a strong brand for any kind of representation to even look at you; the second is that branding isn't important at all and you need to focus solely on your craft. Guess what: BOTH are true! When it comes to auditions and getting work, branding gets you in the room, craft gets you the job. Don't get me wrong, if you are in a class or training, KEEP GOING. If you haven't had training, or aren't currently in a class, I absolutely recommend that you start. Nothing gets your career moving like focusing on your work. Work hard. Get better. But in the meantime, if you're having trouble getting to where you need to be, read on...

It's a universal truth that the more you focus on your career, the more the universe begins to shift in your favor. We're starting with our strengths, because we want the universe to shift in a positive direction. So, what are you good at? Make a list: career strengths, personal strengths, physical strengths, emotional strengths. All of these things are important to moving forward on your path, and helpful in your career. This is not to say that you shouldn't work on skills that you're weak on, but we're trying to focus on who you are as an actor, which you can leverage into a career. Think about actors you know and like; they all have a brand that plays to their strengths, so they can do projects that are appropriate vehicles for them. Now think about people you like, who were in roles that they just didn't seem right for. See? They weren't playing to their strengths, and the projects, and sometimes their careers, suffered.

So, I've been thinking about it, and here are some of mine:

Shakespeare (and classical theater, but mostly Shakespeare)
Movement (I do yoga and dance)
I'm quippy (in a good way)
Character analysis
Academic inclination
I'm very directable
Nice eyes
Friendly, warm smile
Vivid Imagination
Easy to work with

I know, I know, such a self-centered love-fest! But to paraphrase a great philosopher (RuPaul) if you don't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna convince someone to hire you?

So, if you're playing along at home, make your own list! Post some of it in the comments! Tag me about it on twitter! Instagram and tag me with a photo that represents some of it! Or, let me know of some of the actors you've observed and their brands, and how you think that's worked in their favor (or not!)

I'm also live-streaming about some of this stuff, so follow me on periscope! @noisy_ninja

See you next week!