21 Jul The Challenge to Being Specific Yet Flexible

The entertainment industry is crazy and vast. There are SO many ways to make a living as an actor, with Stage, TV, Film, Commercial, Voice Over, Hosting, Promotional Work, Print Ads… and within all of those categories are different types of work and different focuses.

With all of these options, it is important for me to have clear goals and a vision for the type of work I’d like to do. Do I want to work in big action block-busters? Or artsy indie films? What types of roles am I targeting for TV? How do I go about getting in the room to audition for them?

Determining a few specific goals — things I would like to make happen right now — helps me take action. After I look at all of my goals for the foreseeable future, I choose one or two that I want to focus on RIGHT NOW. I figure out the steps I need to take to get there, and then begin taking those steps. But as I move forward, it is important for me to be open and flexible. Work begets work, and objects in motion stay in motion. Just the act of moving towards a goal opens up opportunities I never imagined. While it is important that my specific goals drive me to take actionable steps, I can’t narrow my focus so much that I become incapable of allowing other possibilities in.

For example, when I was studying Theatre in college, it never entered my mind that I might want to work in TV/Film. I wanted to be a stage actress, and I wanted some good training, so that is what I worked towards. When I moved to Seattle and began pursuing my professional career by auditioning for stage productions, I also began auditioning for other types of work and found a love for other media. That path also led me to consider (and eventually move to) Los Angeles, which had never before been on my radar. By working towards my goal of creating a career as a stage actress, I ended up doing TV/Film in Los Angeles. And this feels like the perfect place for me right now.

Here’s another example: I have NEVER wanted to do reality TV. The drama, the backstabbing, the alliances and betrayals — it just isn’t my cup of tea. But along came The Reel Deal, where the “reality” part of it is simply (and excitingly!) showing the behind the scenes of making a movie while being mentored by people who have made it in the business. And with my trust in Bonnie Gillespie (the Casting Director) and her work, what’s not to love? I have made it through all of the steps of the audition process and now will be shooting Season One in August. I never thought I would be so excited about a Reality TV opportunity, but I stayed open to it, and it feels like it aligns with my current goals of working in Television.

Would I be where I am now if I hadn’t worked towards specific goals along the way? I highly doubt it. Those goals gave me drive and specific actions to take, and they prevented me from becoming stagnant. But I have also discovered the importance of remaining open to what that work may uncover, because it is frequently beyond anything I could have imagined for myself!

What tricks have you found to keep you open yet focused? Leave a comment below!

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