Let me pose a scenario: You are excited for a new monthly reading series. You know there will be great people you want to meet and hopefully work with one day. The event is being held by a well-established group within the acting community and it’s the first night that they are holding this kind of event. You are part of this groundbreaking thing that will surely result in some profound work in the future.
Great! So what’s the problem? You get there and all of a sudden you meet negative nancy. Yes, someone who is bitter about where they are in their career at that moment, is sitting beside you and during a conversation with them you find yourself becoming negative yourself. You try to combat it with all the excitement you’re feeling about this event but your defenses are low. You haven’t booked anything in a while and this week, the auditions were little to none. You’ve now come down with the negative nancy syndrome and guess what? There’s no prescription for this. You have allowed yourself to go to that place.
I did, yes… and when I left the event I felt awful. I immediately had to call my mom to complain. To pass the negative feeling on. I caught myself mid-conversation with my mom and said, I’m sorry you know what? I’m so thankful for this opportunity because I went to the event and I can’t wait to go back next time. And you know what, I’m so grateful because tomorrow I’m meeting with a director to discuss some really exciting opportunities.
There’s no cure for this ailment but what I’ve learned is to recognize it in the moment and acknowledge what I am grateful for right then and there. Typically if you voice this to the carrier it will at least put it at bay and, who knows, you might even help cure it as well.
***I want to know: What’s your favorite way to combat the negative nancies? Leave a comment below or Tweet @MarthaFrances ***
After several more auditions this past week and the echoing reminders from the awesome fourteen auditions in four days from two weeks past, I’ve been in a more peaceful place. Normally I’m all about the hustle and flow, the rapid pace that keeps me spinning and builds momentum from one second to the next. However, I realize that this kind of momentum ,when observed in nature, normally results in a tornado or a hurricane and it’s a lot of built up pressure. So for some reason, perhaps it’s the seasonal allergies, I’ve been moving with the pace of the tortoise not the hare. Not to say I’m out of the race, or I’ve lost track of the finish line, (if there is such a thing) I’m just taking more joy in each step and moving with more purpose. I did have a mild panic attack to this adjustment of pace, because if I’m not spinning quickly I’m not moving…. right? Ha, how clever my subconscious is, so this curve ball made me realize that while I’m in a race with myself, perhaps it’s not how quickly something can be reached or how much can be touched upon in a short amount of time, but how deeply I can delve into the task at hand and really enjoy it before moving on to the next task. This week I’m diving in deep.
What did I learn from fourteen auditions in five days? Well, a lot but here are my top take aways.
- Contrary to what you think you are capable of you are always capable of more.To elaborate,this was evident when I was at one audition and realized more auditions were happening down the hall and I asked if I could audition for them as well. So yes, I can always give more or challenge myself.
- Everyone has an opinion. This is exactly what it is worth, take it or leave.
- Opinions can be illuminating, sometimes I forget feedback or I think it’s not applicable to me, but when several people back to back give a similar note, it’s a blessing in disguise. I now know exactly what it is I’m not conveying in my art.
- At some point, you are so busy, you are no longer thinking. Great, now I’m out of my head and into the work, exactly as it should be
- If you ask you shall receive. I put it out into the Universe that I wanted a lot of auditions, so why was I so shocked when the opportunities arrived? I spent about five hours in panic mode unsure of how to tackle it, when I should have spent those additional hours being grateful and preparing.
It was a crazy whirlwind of a week last week but I have to say it was so much fun and I’m so glad that I had those opportunities.
Just a little inspiration to get you started
As I’m attending my first full day at the SoHo film festival (their third day) I’m watching a lot of films, don’t worry I’ll give my list of top faves in a future post, and I’m ending the week with the realization have more fun.
This week I had an audition for a show at a regional theatre and the thing I remembered before going into the room was “have fun.” This was one of the best auditions I’ve had, I felt great and… had fun. I saw two shows this week but The Flick is the one that made me realize these actors are having fun. It’s a three-hour show…. Yes, but in all honesty I enjoyed it through all three hours and was fully engaged because the performance by all three actors was amazing. They had fun living and inhabiting the world of their characters.
The SoHo film festival simply echoed this sentiment; I saw many short films and a lot of passionate people.What we do as artists is a lot of hard work, it takes time, demands things we think we are incapable of, and stretches us to our limits, so if you’re not having fun, why are you here? There’s too much work to be done and as a result negativity can creep in. There’s too many people with too many stories to tell and too many opinions to sweat the small stuff. So instead of getting bogged down in the work, have some fun this week in everything you do and start seeking it more often.
*If you need a little motivation listen here
You may remember an Eggo Waffles™ TV commercial but perhaps they were on to something more than just a good catch phrase; clever waffle makers.
One of my coaches constantly asks if Ego is my master or if I’m willing to give myself permission. That woman is Jordan Bayne and you can read all about her wonderful Permission Playground. The Ego was always this thing that I thought cocky people had, or the “big ego” referred to in songs about the singer’s ex-lover…etc. However, the ego can also encompass the negative and detrimental thoughts I have about myself, insecurities that creep into my brain, and judgments we sometimes pass on ourselves.
This week it became clearer to me just how firm a grip my ego was wielding. As actors, we all work to become more present in our work and uncover as much as possible; but I’ll bet there are things, a Pandora’s box of sorts, that stays hidden gathering dust in the deepest darkest cavern of our being. And I too, was hiding something not only from others but from myself as well. I would openly admit to those tragic and beautiful experiences that make me unique, but my ego would only allow so much to be “seen.” In my work and meetings, I’d give my all by becoming emotionally vulnerable, but only to a certain point. “Egos” are good at keeping us safe, but once I realized it was time to dust off the box and acknowledge the things it keeps hidden, I felt a weight was lifted.
We’re not crazy for having a Pandora’s box of troubles, emotions, secrets, vulnerabilities, etc. But its important to recognize that we all have one, no matter how much we’d like to think that we don’t or already admit that we do; just a simple acknowledgment can be enough so that we become aware of our egos, thereby loosening it’s grip to free up our art as well as our soul.
In honor of Women’s History Month, the SAG Foundation held a panel with five of the most amazing women directors in this industry. Rose Troche, Liz Diamond, Claudia Weill, Neema Barnette, and Leigh Silverman were all there and Melissa Silverstein (check out her blog) was the moderator. Now, I’ll admit I did not recognize these names when I signed up for the event but after reading their bios I realized, how important it was that these women had a platform to be acknowledged. Yes, I was ashamed and I still am to a degree just admitting it on my own blog. I grabbed so many amazing takeaways, but I thought I would share my top three from each of them and note the overarching theme of the evening was to reach higher than you and others think you can, and take really, I mean REALLY , big risks. Because why not, you’re just a woman after all….
- ” We have to stop looking at the old model and forge a new path.” (on filmmaking)
- “There’s something wonderful about feeling the bottom drop out and picking yourself back up again” (on failure)
- ” Do it for free once”
- “Moments of recognition are few and far in between but when it happens it’s like rocket fuel.”
- ” You must have a conviction that your story is the one people want to hear.”
- ” Auditioning is like sprinting.” (as oppose to taking on a role which is more like a marathon)
- “Freedom lies in being able to make your own stuff.”
- “Insecurity, while sometimes a hindrance also “lets you know when it’s working.”
- ” Finances are so crucial” (in keeping you grounded and secure)
- ” Don’t stand around and wait for a job. Set your own standards.”
- ” I fall down every day, I just try not to fall in the same place.”(On making mistakes)
- ” Passion gets you to the finish line.” (On stamina and facing tough times)
- A strong role model in a young woman’s life provides a strong influence and helps shapes how she embraces the world to create change.
- “Have a strong support system.” (The more successful you are as a woman, the more you will need this)
- ” Figure out how to audition well.”
This week, I had something incredible happen to me. I made the vow to get rid of an energy block that I recognized in myself.
I am a second-guesser. I second guess myself, others opinions, my past, my future… you name it I have second guessed it. So the challenge I have set for myself this week, with the assistance of the amazing Dallas Travers, was to practice extreme decisiveness.
Well, all I have to say is I can’t believe it took me this long to get with the program. Now, what’s funny is my body and mind were so resistant and still are struggling to adapt to change. For instance, the first 30 minutes in morning of my challenge I couldn’t decide on one thing to save my life; I then broke the dishwasher, burnt the toast, and almost suffocated from the air freshener I decided to use to cover up the smoke . Yes, off to a great start. The week got so much better; I got some really great news, was very productive in my work, and got over some of those walls that I talked about last week and other barriers I didn’t even know were there. Lets just say my creativity and productivity are flowing and beginning to pick up speed. Pretty soon, I’ll be making some waves…