How-To Set Tangible Acting Career Goals
So it’s a few weeks into the New Year. Everywhere you look people are offering advice, spewing motivational quotes, and talking about some serious #goals.
This can be both exciting and intimidating as heck, but they may be onto something. A new calendar year is a great time to reevaluate your life. We know that setting goals and keeping up the motivation is practically a full-time job, just one of the many full-time jobs you have as a working actor. Why? Because you are the product, the distributor, the marketing department, the finance department, the service repair man and so much more.
But don’t worry! All is not lost. We’re here with some great tips to help you kick off 2017, and we’ve sprinkled in a few motivational quotes to keep you smiling.
A great place to start is to look at where you are. What did you achieve last year in your career and in your life? Grab a journal or start a new ‘note’ on your phone and write down the things you’re proud of. These accomplishments will help remind you what you are capable of, especially when you start to doubt yourself. Also, ask yourself how you spent your time last year. Time is a great tool to use so look at how you’ve prioritized in the past, and how you may want to change or expand that in the future.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Dream Big Dreams
Write down the big visions, the big dreams you have for your life. Want a TV show? Want to travel frequently? Write it down. No need to worry about the hows at this moment just be aware of what you want and why. A huge part of goal setting is allowing yourself the freedom to savour all your heart’s desires, and believe in possibility. Make a vision board or make lists, have fun with it! Now, as much as you may want these things, in order for you to focus on the next steps, you must relinquish control. Don’t spend all day dreaming, make those fantasies a reality.
“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.” – Leonardo da Vinci
The Smaller, Achievable Goals
Achievable goals are key. Make them: Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timely.
We’ve read the tweets and Facebook posts dramatically stating that “this year will be different!” The new year is about making resolutions and vowing to do things differently. It’s a chance to start fresh. So, dream those big dreams previously mentioned, but remember that what really counts are goals that can actually be put into practice; goals that are actionable.
The best way to start this is to set 3-5 clear goals to work on every three months and then, knock them out of the park! For example, if you want to work on a big network television show, you need to work hard to get seen by the big casting directors that cast those programs. You need to look at your credits and see what steps you take next. Or, if you want to do a play, get specific about the type, role, company, and start your research, get on an email list for those auditions.
Of course, an updated Casting Workbook account can help too 🙂
Create a plan for yourself that you can actually do something about. Set goals that aren’t fluffy and so overwhelming that suddenly you move into the no-action zone and nothing gets done at all for the first six months of the year.
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius
Habits and Rituals
The secret of your success can be found in your daily routine. Set up systems to implement your best year ever. You will never always be motivated so you have to learn to be disciplined. The best way to get there is by making small changes in your day-to-day life. Create habits that propel you to accomplish your goals. You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. Starting morning and evening rituals can be a helpful way to enhance your skill sets, or create more peace despite the demands of everyday life. Look at what do you need to develop more of in yourself to achieve those goals you set for yourself. How’s your voice, your memorization, your demo? Have you envisioned yourself creating in a different way? Now is the time to do so. You don’t have to embark on a huge project to feel creatively fulfilled. Maybe writing one short scene a week or working on a challenging monologue for 15 minutes a day is a great baby step to start with.
“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.” -Jonathan Winters
Don’t call it a dream, call it a plan. Don’t just wish for it, work for it. Here’s the challenging part: Once you do all the fun work of planning and dreaming and deciding the kind of actor you want to become this year, you need to make the commitment to yourself to actually do it. So often we pretend we’ve made a commitment to a goal when what we’ve really done is attempt to try until it gets uncomfortable. Be accountable for your goal or plans this year and let someone close to you know what they are. This might be a business mentor, friend, family member, a professional coach or another actor whose opinion you trust and value. Make sure it is someone who is a positive influence. Find joy and inspiration in reviewing your goals, maybe multiple times a day in order to be focused on achieving them. Post a sticky note where you’ll see it each morning or write it on a mini blackboard.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso
There are so many tools out there to help you. Start with the ones you need to help make your business flourish. Are your Casting Workbook headshots up to date? Do you have all your credits up on IMDB? Does your agent have your current details? Do you have a demo? Are you in the midst of making one? And if so, what else do you need to get that done? There are tons of apps to help with organization and motivation. Try OmniFocus or iDid for tracking your to-do lists and time. We’ve got a blog post coming soon about the extra tools you can use when you download The Ultimate Self-Tape App. Need more tips? Check out these books “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield and “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp for some serious words of wisdom about being creative!
“No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm.” – Charles Kettering
Remember, however, many goals you may set, do not forget to live in the moment, in the present, each and every day. Too much looking forward and too much looking back is like too much ice cream, bad for your neck and your digestion. Acting without presence, without uncertainty is never magic. And why do we go to the movies or binge watch Netflix? To witness the magic of storytelling and believe.