Monday, May 31, 2010

Beat By Beat

I read an interview that Melissa Leo did with Daily Actor recently. Lance Carter runs a terrific site. Check it out - a great resource for actors.

She says, when asked about her advice for actors, "If there’s anything else you can do, do it. If anything can stop you, let it. And if there’s nothing else you can do, and nothing can stop you, do nothing but. Just like when we work, it’s 101 Acting, you can’t go for a result. And in our career paths, we should avoid the notion of a result. Have a golden dream in your heart and head, but just do your life like you’re acting. Let it happen beat by beat. Be informed by what comes at you."

It takes a lot of effort to keep on course and enjoy and experience the journey. When we start looking for a result, the ego creeps in and we end up getting into our heads - a terrible, terrible place for actors to be. The trick is if we go into our heads, we need to come out quickly. But, not too quickly, as you don't want to carry the baggage. Stay until you clear yourself of that bitterness, and come out focused on your goals, and secure with knowing who you are, you are unstoppable and you are fearless.

I experienced my own "head games" this weekend as I became frustrated with my own weight loss - I focused too much on the result, got irritated that I wasn't nearer to my goals and probably kept some of the fat on because I stressed myself out, instead of focusing on the fact that I was losing inches, was exercising daily, eating well, had more energy and was happier.

I remember Bonnie Gillespie, in her articles, has talked about "Bitter Actor Syndrome" and "Poisonous Playmates" on several occasions. (If are not reading Bonnie's articles on a weekly basis, you are doing yourself a disservice - the info that Bonnie provides is amazing and she is always on point.) The two concepts get discussed together a lot. All along I was crediting Bonnie with the term "poison playmates" but it was actually originated by Julia Cameron who says "your artist is happiest when feeling a sense of security...we must learn to place our artist with safe companions. Toxic playmates can capsize our artist's growth".

Bonnie has written that you can tell a poison playmate by the following qualities most exhibit:

-love hearing about what's going wrong
-always have a better "what's going wrong" story
-encourage the sharing of troubles
-have "been there" and really understand you
-are threatened by the success--especially emotional success--of others
-introduce drama into situations that don't already have a healthy dose of it
-enjoy discussing problems but never solutions (there's always a reason this or that won't work, no matter what)

As you get more successful, poison playmates find it very tough to let you have your joy. In fact, they can be very seductive and could lure you into that "bitter actor syndrome" - when your ego takes over, you are in your head, and you are negative - where "self-doubt turns into self-sabotage" according to Julia Cameron.

As you grow, you find poison playmates are harder to be around, so you withdraw. And when you withdraw, these poison playmates take it out on you.

Be careful that you are not your own poison playmate or that of others - we have to work through our own "bitterness" or "head games" -- you'll go through it several times over - don't rush it, go through it beat by beat and you will come out refreshed and a winner. You will be available for yourself and others. You'll let yourself and others experience joy!!

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