Find what you love and let it kill you. A touching statement but not at all practical.
Lately, the business of acting has been getting me down. Not the business that you think, the actual requirements of acting. In a play for instance, you meet a group of people, you are emotionally vulnerable with them for an intense period of time, then the play is over and you essentially go back to normal life. These people have most likely seen you cry. They’ve seen you rage with anger. They’ve seen you disappointed, get criticised, be analysed. In reality if someone has seen you do all these things they’d probably be your best friend. In the acting world this is just part of the job. And I’m not saying you aren’t friends with these people. Chances are you do become friends of some sort, but generally not in the intimate way you would think. And it’s not really you experiencing these things necessarily, it’s the character but that character is always going to be tapped into you somewhere. My point is, it’s taxing.
It got me thinking about the emotional price we pay as actors. We experience emotional levels many people won’t get to because we allow ourselves to and it’s part of our job.
Then there is the emotional aspect of the job. If you aren’t in constant acting work, chances are you have another job. So you spend your days doing something you might enjoy, but not your passion. Then you get an audition. Suddenly you get adrenaline, nerves, excitement. A wave of relief, approval, people like me. You focus intensely on the audition and prepare so you throw yourself into it with focus and determination. Then there is the actual audition. Again adrenaline, nerves. Then the audition is done. Immediate come down. Like an after show low, but less intense generally. Then if you don’t get it, disappointment. No matter how much you try to immediately let go I think there will always be a level of disappointment; you worked hard at something and didn’t get it. Then the process repeats. And repeats.
Of course if you get the part there’s a whole different set of emotions.
The emotional journey is intense and unlike other careers. What does it do to us? What physiological toll does this job take on us? Operating at some level of ‘stress’ most of the time cannot be good for us. So then what? How do we do what we love and not let it kill us?
I’d be interested to hear what other people do. I certainly don’t have much in the way of answers.
Wendy Braun has some great blogs and ideas about mind set. About having a positive attitude, gratefulness, and finding joy in where you are right now. Amy Jo Berman also has vlogs, blogs and courses about mind set, leaning more towards trusting using the ask and receive of the universe and releasing personal blocks. They are great as they work in the industry so have industry filter to all these techniques.
So how do you stay in a healthy place in body and mind?