Action Steps! Sometimes you are sitting is a big pile of fear. In the swampland of Shame!! Paralyzed and unable to write that email. To make that call to that director about your schedule. What to do? When your fear has shackled you to the bed and you are unable to get out from under the covers.
The Stills: The first one is from a film noir project I'm working on. The second are from a short film that just wrapped last weekend called Self-Deportation.
1. Cut the Action Step in Half.
How many times have you thought, "If I only had a 2 hour block, I could totally knock this thing out!" We don't live in a world of 2 hour blocks anymore. They are 30 second blurbs. So what if you just cut the action in half. That is what I do with this blog post. I first go in and create the skeleton of it. Place the pictures and the paragraphs blocks. Then the second half of the action step is to go and write it out. Like I am doing right now.
2. Set aside 5 minutes a day to work on it.
Back to the 2 hour block idea. So we live in a world where everything wants our attention for 30 seconds. What about setting aside 5 minutes every day until it is accomplish. This could be working on your resume or marketing. This will also make your more efficient with your time, and then you realize that you didn't need a two hour block to accomplish the action step - you just needed FOCUS!!!
3. Commit to Not doing it.
I know this seems a little bit of reverse psychology - but committing to not doing it have some strange results. You don't have the pressure to accomplish what is at hand. You are allowing room for the task to get accomplish in other ways. Or lastly - you begin to feel so much discomfort that you just go and do it anyway. And for me - the last one is the real motivator. Because, pain is big motivator in my life. If I am uncomfortable or in pain around something, I will change - do something different - so that I get a different result. Give it a try!
4. Get a partner
Being accountable to someone your trust is such a great gift. Find someone who won't judge you if you do it or if you dont do it. Just someone that allows you to be in your own process around the action step. Let that person know of the action step at hand and a time frame of when you would like to get it done. Personally bookending (calling or texting before and after action step) has worked wonders in my life. I get to isolate the fear. I know someone is waiting for me on the other side - which can be a motivator for me.
5. Flipping Rocks
Like animals looking for grubs under rocks. What is under all your inability to complete of action step? I call this flipping rocks. I begin to look at all aspects of my life. Is there fear of being seen? Is there fear of being big in my acting career? Do I have resentments around this organization? When I really boil it down - it's all fear and shame. So what can I do today - realize myself from fear and shame? What can you do to love yourself today - by stepping over the fear and into your LIFE.
1. Action steps. 2013 was my most successful year to date as an actor. I think a couple of things aided in this. A) I started calling myself a professional actor and referring to myself as one. B) I made a timeline of milestones and goals for myself so I knew where I was along the way. What does this look like? i wrote out what I wanted the end of the year to look like for 2013. Then I wrote out where I was currently. Divided the year in half - what would it look like to be halfway to my year end vision? And then divided that again. What would it look like to be half way to my half way point. And what action steps would I need to get there? It helped to have action to continue moving forward. It may not have happened the way I planned it, but a ton of things I wrote out happened!!!!
The Thriving Artist Circle helped me out a ton in my thinking and my planning and Dallas Travers!!!
2. The Night of the Iguana. This was a huge production. I learned so much about putting up a big show. Having an extension. Working with a large cast. How to show up every night and bring it. The friendships. The rehearsal process. I was cast in the beginning of January and our last show was at the end of May. Wow! That is a long time. I am just so grateful to have been part of this show!
3. Short Films. I was making jokes that I needed to open an office on Wabash near Columbia College because it felt that i was down there every other week for auditions for short films. But it was worth it. That corridor netted me being cast in three short films. Scotty Works Out, Self-Deportation, and Some Are All White (working title). And the experience I have gained from shooting these films is incredible.
4. Tracy Letts and Michael Shannon. Every time I see them, i am reminded that I have to keep raising the bar here in Chicago to do them proud. I really look up to both of these men as Actors and Writers. As artists!! And want to make them proud of the art that is coming out of Chicago! Chicago Actors - time to step it up!!
5. You! I am grateful for you. The reader of this blog. The audience member. The supporter of love and joy. Thank you for being here. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for letting me be human in front of you. Thank you for letting me rant, brag and boost about my achievements. If you were not here there would be no here. You are amazing!! And You are here! And i am grateful!
I am ready for you! I am excited for you! Surprise me! Surprise me! I am ready to be big! I am ready for what you got!!
5 WAYS OF AVOIDING WRITING A BLOG ENTRY FOR YOUR ACTING WEBSITE
Getting started writing an entry in your blog, can be one of the most grueling and paralyzing things to do for an actor and his website. Here are some of the ways we actors try to avoid creating content for ourselves on the internet.
1. To-Do Lists
I am an expert at To-Do lists. I love making them. I love crossing off items. I love love love them. And even when I am half way through a to-do list, I will pull out a new index card (my preferred to-do list medium) and create a nice fresh list. And this is exactly what I do with the blog entry. I put it on the list, then just carry it over to a fresh list. And the cycle begins. After which seeing this item on the list being carried over and over creates shame. I wonder if I love shame just as much as I love to-do lists. Because I seem to create a lot of it.
2. Post it on a list of action steps towards your career
I am a big believer of action steps. In fact, I keep them in plain sight of my everyday live. Right there on a bulletin board above my desk. But what happens is a sort of burying effect. The action step of writing a entry on my blog, gets swept aside. Lost between mailing PR casting an updated resume and emailing Matthew Miller for the third time in two months about the short films I have been cast in. Now granted, any action step is a good action step, but some action steps are just bullies. They beat up other action steps that can't stand up for themselves. I need to teach the blog entry action step how to land a right hook.
Who doesn't love coming home from a hard day of running around and chasing your dreams to sit in front of the TV and watch Netflix? Tell me. Who? Do you think I could have spared some time between watching the entire season of Orange is the New Black and fixing pot stickers from Trader Joe's to write a blog entry? My first thought is NO. I really needed to see how Red was going to be able to get the next shipment of produce from Neptune's Garden. And pot stickers are delicious. Maybe the bigger question, isn't if Netflix is the vaccum of all creative dreams your drama teacher warned you about, but what should I watch next? (If you say Breaking Bad, I will cut you!)
4. Create a Blog Folder
You know what. I'm going to create a blog folder. A cheap man's version of the app Evernote. And whenever I see a image. Read a quote from David Mamet. Have a flash-fart of an idea to write about. I will keep it all in one place. Yes, the problem is that I don't have my creative equator centralized. I'm all over the place. Yes. Having a folder that says Blog Ideas will be the sure fire way for me to write an entry on my blog. I mean, I know it's buried deep in my Acting Vision folder. Which is part of several folders in my Documents folder. But at least I know where to find it. Can't have it live on the desktop. Because that is just asking for trouble. Soon I'll have a junkyard of folder "ideas" swimming in OCD hell on the desktop. Can't have that. What is interesting is the time and energy I just put into creating a Blog folder would have taken me the same amount as actually writing a blog entry.
5. Accountability Partner
You know that person you trust. That person who will call you out on your character defects. Hey Person I Trust, I give you permission to call me out on my bullshit. If you want to get things done. These people are amazing and crucial to have on your side. But if you want to avoid getting anything done. Put calling them to be accountable for your blog entry on your to-do list, heat up some pot stickers and fire up Netflix. Call them and ask how they are doing. Text them about the weather and just never get to the real dirt. Because if you actually tell them you are asking to be accountable and you don't follow through, here will be some of the phrases you use to cover you avoiding writing the entry: "At least I showed up," "I'm much more like the tortoise than the hare," I'm making headway towards writing that blog entry for my acting website just by having you in place."
Set a calendar reminder on your smart phone
Read other people's blog: Jay Olson!!
Post It Notes
What am I really saying? Sometimes I just simply need to do the work. Action sometimes just requires action. Simple as that.
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