The difference between good acting and great acting all comes down to… personality. It’s that part of the performance that only you can bring to the script. It’s what every A-list actor understands and why it sometimes feels like they’re always playing the same character no matter the role.
Your personality is the combination of your distinct qualities and characteristics that make you, you.
It’s how you personalize your work and give it something no one else in the room can offer. Because you own it, it’s yours. No one else does you better than you.
If this was a branding class or business school, your personality would be referred to as your unique selling proposition, which simply put is what makes your offer different from everyone else.
In fact, I’ll show you a quick and easy exercise to connect to your authentic personality and how to step into it before every audition.
Why am I keying in on personality so much? Well, how many of you have gone to a casting, walked into a room, and been met by 10 other actors who all look almost exactly like you? Yikes. What thoughts and emotions does this bring up? For some, it’s probably really uncomfortable and may even cause some of us to turn to some unwanted negative emotions and behaviors. The old claws of competition may come out or even worse, compare and despair. While you did all this great prep work to memorize your sides and you felt great walking into the room, upon eyeing the other hopefuls, your emotions spiral into negativity and your thoughts become disparaging and self-sabotaging. And you may not even want to admit the discomfort the casting room brings up, but it’s there and you feel it. Maybe you were the best actor, prom queen, a stand-out athlete or the funniest person in your hometown. But we’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re in the biggest markets of NY, LA, Atlanta, and let’s face it, someone else with your look is standing right next to you. And I’m not saying this to discourage you. I’m saying this to highlight just how important being connected to your authentic personality truly is.
And it’s yours to use at all times. It really is the difference-maker. So feel free to exploit it. It’s your gift to the world and what the industry wants to see from you. They long to see your authenticity and the opportunity to get to know you. They want to work with other people who are 100% themselves. It makes them feel comfortable being in the same room with you, as though you don’t want or need anything from them, like old friends. There’s nothing shallow or transactional or even pushy. It’s human. It’s connection. It just is.
I’ll give you a great example of how your personality is your secret weapon. One of my actor friends, we’ll call him John, booked a co-star on a popular television show, and eventually, he was written in as a recurring character for the next 7 seasons. He went from a co-star, to a supporting role in maybe one or two scenes. And if I remember correctly, I don’t think he had one speaking line.
But, he went from having zero lines in one episode to a recurring role for 7 seasons. That’s a lot of episodes and a major upgrade. And the main reason his role went from co-star to recurring, according to one of the producers on the show, is because they liked him and wanted his positive energy on set.
Initially, they had no plans on bringing that character back, but they did. Why? Because they wanted John’s personality on set. They wanted him and what he brought to the table to be a part of their show, part of the on-set experience, and part of their on-set family. It was that important to them.
I’d like to talk about perhaps the #1 emotion from which you can tap into to stay grounded in the best version of your personality. It’s the emotion people absolutely love and respond the most favorably. That is of course gratitude. Now you’ve all heard the saying that attitude determines your latitude but if you take it a step further, when you’re in gratitude you’re in a grateful attitude.
So I want you to do this quick exercise with me: Pick one thing you’re truly grateful for. Then, close your eyes and picture it in your mind. Ask yourself, “Why am I grateful to have this in my life?” As you answer, notice how it makes you feel. Now, experience the feeling of gratitude. The feeling is the most important part of this exercise. Once you get into this feeling state, I want you to allow it to wash over your entire body. Relish in the feeling. Slow breath in. Breath out. Take a few more slow breaths, really enjoy it. Take a few minutes now to do this.
How did that feel? You should still be feeling great! Reinvigorated and re-energized. Your vibration should be higher. You may even notice you have a smile on your face. Now, being in gratitude it’s virtually impossible to have bad thoughts and feelings right? In a perfect world, we’d all be able to live in this state all the time, well, that is when we’re not playing a role that requires more negative emotions of course.
If you walk into an audition incredibly grateful for the opportunity, the same feeling we just practiced, then how could you possibly feel overly competitive, jealous, envious, or low self-worth? You couldn’t, right?!
Now let’s talk about the concept of auditioning. I’m willing to bet that some of you might feel like you’re constantly auditioning and getting nowhere. You may even be feeling some resentment or anger towards the casting directors. Hey, I get it. But what if we infuse your audition experience with gratitude? How does this change your view? Well first off, you’d be grateful for the fact that you have this amazing opportunity, right? This is also an opportunity to create a brand new relationship or build upon an existing relationship, which may potentially book you roles in the future. Now that’s something to be grateful for!
Let’s apply gratitude to what can often be looked at as the competitive landscape of our acting world. On the surface, when we walk into a class, we all seek opportunity. This could be looked at as a competition. But in reality, we are putting ourselves in front of people who are looking to cast actors. As actors, we control what we can but at the end of the day, it’s not us making the decision. So coming from gratitude, we’re happy that we have an opportunity to put our best foot forward and if we happen to be the right fit then awesome! If it’s one of our fellow actors, then congrats to them. They happen to be the right fit for the role. And, how much easier will it be to let go after an audition and move on if we’re practicing gratitude? Easy right!
I get to perform and do what I do best. Yay! That’s a total win. You showed up and did your thing. Congrats to you.
Now it’s important to remember that gratitude is a practice! After all, it’s an emotion and we are actors. As Al Pacino says,
“The actor becomes the emotional athlete.”
This means as athletes we must practice our emotions. So if we’re going to practice, we may as well practice an emotion that gets us a lot of bang for our buck right?! So practice practice practice gratitude! You can use the exercise we went through today or something else that gets you into a good feeling state. The more you practice it, the more your mind and body will memorize it, and the easier it will be to recall.
When you’ve done the exercise or one of your own. I’d love to know. Tag me on IG @iamempoweredtoact and I’ll give you some IG love right back!
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