How are you using your time?

I would have to think most of us are in the same place of waiting for the waiting to end. Can SAG's vote results come any faster? Will that open the floodgates to the many shows and movies that have been rumored to be waiting for the new contract? The box office numbers bear out the theory that people want entertainment when things are bad. Record numbers again this year so far for the studios. That should mean they have the money to get all those pipeline projects moving, right? It's an anxious period for us, isn't it?

So what are you doing with your time?

I put the call in to my agent to see if I was falling for the hype and things were actually casting without me being invited. It seems no, there is little to do right now. The word was that he too is waiting for confidence to return to all the markets necessary for the world of TV and film to get whole and get back to creating the many jobs that make entertainment America's #2 export.

So what do I do with my time while we just um, wait? Well I've been asking myself what else can I do. I'm not saying in a gap filling effort, I mean what else…can…I do? 

This is a very good time to reevaluate goals and ideals. I think we as actors see the road as pretty straightforward: Work to get famous. Fame will make getting work easier. Have so much money from being a famous actor that I can retire or just do the projects I want, when I want.

Do you reevaluate why you want to get famous? I recommend you use this industry wide lull to see what else you can do. To see if maybe you have discovered something else you love about your life, about your career, about your community. Anything you discover will deepen your artist but I think at times we consider our dream so fragile and our progress so precious that we don't dare look at it for what it is; a part of our whole. I think we see it as the whole and everything else has to wait until we are on track with the acting dream.

In my last series of talks at colleges I was asked this question at most of the places I spoke; "How do you manage a regular life and your acting life?" Hmmm…I never knew they were different, but it seems for many they are. As if as actors we must have a different set of goals and rules for being for our acting life than we have for being around regular people. That seems a bit out of balance doesn't it?

Do you think accountants live their days in spread sheets and numbers and then drive home telling themselves to stop thinking like an accountant so they can now relate to regular people again?

We surely live in fantasy more than other people because what we do is create the lives of fictitious people more than anyone, but now that there is a break in that…are you learning what else you can do? Does it scare you to think that you might have gifts in other arenas? Non acting arenas? Would you allow those skills to change the direction of your life? Do you even investigate what else you can do? 

Don't fear learning everything you can about yourself. We will always wait as actors, always, there is always a lull. Are you growing good habits to use the time wisely by looking at what else might give purpose to your life? Ultimately, knowing who you are is what makes you the best artist you can be. Don't fear exploring your life outside the dream of acting and by gosh use this time when you don't have the pressure of feeling like you're out of work because you're doing something wrong to grow a new habit of taking inventory of who you are…now.

I've had a great few lessons in the last 6 months and I'm very sure I'm a better person now. The next place I go to work gets the benefit of having a better person on their set. Who wouldn't want that?

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