Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Audition Preparation Tip: Your Moral Compass

I recently taught a workshop at the High School Musical Theater Awards here in Utah and thought it might be nice to do a blog series of what I discussed with the students on that day. It is also a good reminder for myself and hopefully some of you too. (Photo: Me and my friend, Stephanie at the awards show.)

Right out of the gate, if we are going to embark on an acting career, whether it be in film or on stage, we have to know who we are as a person and where we stand. I like to call it my "moral compass". I got that term from a film acting teacher and loved the notion that we have to make choices before we start our career and get into the thick of things. With our standards in mind, what are we willing to do? What won't we do? How will we treat those around us? You get the idea...

I am of the strong opinion that wherever your moral compass takes you, you will find your people. There are groups out there that fit any actors comfort zone. It may be harder in a smaller town, but once you venture out you can find work. Your moral compass may shift a bit with experience and your attitudes may change with maturity and what not. But, please remember, if you are uncomfortable you do not need to settle. It may mean opportunities are missed, but other doors will open if you stick with it. Even if you want to take on the Great White Way or Hollywood there are an array of shows that will fit the bill.

Within that moral compass is understanding who you are. When I asked the question, "How will you treat those around you?", this is an important question when working in a collaborative art form. It comes down to recognizing the difference between confidence and conceit. Confidence is essential from making career decisions to getting up in front of people to perform. Yes, we may still have our insecurities, but we can maintain a competent level of confidence amidst those because we know that as we improve, and as we gain more experience those insecurities will lessen. It is having clarity in what you do well and what needs work. Always striving for higher quality in your abilities. Having confidence also means that we remain collaborators, remain teachable/malleable, remain respectful and kind. Conceit is thinking you are better than everyone. I feel that someone who is conceited has their insecurities but instead of addressing them they tend to overcompensate their abilities because of their self-doubt. They close down. There is no more to be taught. There is no one who can tell you what the scene needs. You know. Others need to rise to your greatness. While one with confidence rises but will bend when needed to help those around them rise too. Confidence inspires creativity, conceit crushes it.

So often actors just starting out will get tossed, chewed and spit out if they do not have confidence in their abilities and where they stand. It is essential to have some sort of foundation going into this. If you haven't configured your moral compass yet, start today! Decide what you will allow, where you will draw the line and where you are okay with making compromises. The journey will be different for everyone, so respect that. Let others find their way and you find yours. Be supportive, Be Kind and *Get to Work!

*hint for my next post. :-)

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