What I learned on my latest book tour

Sure, book tour sounds lofty and why not make it sound lofty. Truth is I arrange it visit by visit. I have no staff or marketing team. Most of the schools I visit take a fair bit of nudging before they agree to let me come and talk. Then after that hurdle, when I enter the class the students have a subtle "win me over" attitude. I begin,  and I explain my take on the actor/casting/director/producer equation and I feel the room lean forward a bit. Then I go into the revolutionary thought that actors actually have great value to the equation and that if any of them in the room want to have a career, it's possible.

Now…I have everyone's attention.

It seems that this isn't information that's given out much or (and here's the sad part) believed in much. There are many more people expounding on how brutal the biz is, than are willing to say;"Yes it's tough but it's do-able." So, they challenge me to prove my theory and sure enough by the end, and after many questions answered, I can feel that I have opened the minds of these students that have been told for so long, and by so many sources, that the impossible is in fact possible. And they key?

Be yourself.

Too easy Markus! Too simple and far too subtle! If it was that easy everyone would be a star!

And yet it's true. We all go at this for our own reasons but the one thing that doesn't change is the reason we as consumers like to watch people act. To connect. If we don't connect we change the channel. 

So what then do we connect to? We connect to what feels genuine. When someone is depicting a truth we also feel is true. How do you do that? By being genuine.

I lay this out clearly and it all makes sense, but it still takes me a few examples to drive it home for the students to really believe. It's wild to see them go from feeling helpless, to thoughtful and positive. They get that the work they put in during class to get more comfortable with themselves and the more the investigate all the parts of their psyche, they are doing exactly what they should be doing. Now when they leave class and face the enormity of "how do I get started?" they then know that getting started is just a mechanical function. It's not to be tied to the emotional distress of feeling less talented or less suited to act because you haven't had an audition. Who you are and what you are able to bring to the audition is what makes your chances of a having a career as an actor greater.

I usually close with "If you always bring your best work you will eventually find a place to work." And that's something that it seems they never hear. But it's very true.

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