by Jill Place, The Acting Intuitive
Starving Artist Mindset = Career Suicide
I’ve had years of therapy. And I must admit that, at this point, I’m a pretty happy person. That was my ultimate goal. So it was really a question of priorities.
Because of priorities, my therapist and I never tackled my starving artist mindset. If I was still in therapy today, I would definitely do so. Because I’ve been stuck for a long time in it. And it’s time to end it.
I’ve replaced my therapy with meditation and other spiritual practices. So I’m very sure I can use them to get rid of this debilitating belief once and for all. We’ll use them to end your starving artist mindset in the next few blogs. But first I’d like to revisit identifying your starving artist story. If you haven’t read my last blog about spotting it, go here.
If you’ve done the process and still can’t figure out your story, perhaps these will help. Even if you have, exploring these most common starving artist stories may add some dimension to what you’ve already learned. I’ve attempted to debunk the myth of each. So that you can also.
Starving makes me a better actor. So many actors refuse to learn about business and think that they’re better for it. BS! Money isn’t evil, and you don’t have to live in a colorful loft with a bunch of colorful types. When I was looking for this house, I found that lofts had become disgustingly urbanized and were more expensive than houses, by the way, And the actors you most admire, like Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, and Oprah, are each worth tens of millions! Actually, with Oprah, it’s about 3 billion.
I’ll be discovered any minute now. The days of Lana Turner being discovered on a stool at Schwab’s Drugstore (a lie trumped up, by studio publicists by the way) are long gone. Now you have to know business, submit online, know social media, yadda yadda. Taking action is the most important thing. And even more important is taking business action. And creating relationships . . . all businesses today are relationship-driven. It doesn’t have to be perfect action . . . just take it!
I’m talented just as I am. As an acting coach, this is my BIGGEST pet peeve. I’ve had tons of students show up for a month and think that they get what I’ve been studying for 40 years. If you were a Mae Whitman and have been acting since the age of 3, perhaps you don’t need training. But, as a participant in The Actor’s Studio in the 1970s, I saw very famous actors come back to training because they knew that getting better and challenging themselves was most important. Also, they totally understood that restructuring your expressive apparatus takes time. So train and keep training!
My agent will make me a star! If you’re still spinning this yarn in your head, get over it right now! Your agent will field offers . . . but that’s later. To get started, you have to learn business. That’s a failing I’m still rectifying, and am on a fast track to learning about. And I’m gonna tell you that business changes practically every day. It’s now mostly online. And you have to learn what sells there. I’m currently reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s bestseller, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, right now as I was privileged to see him talk in person and he’s one of the scant half-dozen people I’ve ever seen speak the absolute truth. Including my spiritual guide, Swami Prabhavandanda. And what is Gary talking about . . . social media. I’m smart enough to know that, even in my late 60s, I have to keep up with the way people communicate. And so should you.
I don’t need a day job. If you think you’re getting discovered when you first hit the Hollywood pavement, dream on! The only person I knew like that was Burt Ward, who was tapped to play Robin in the campy TV series, Batman, while we were still both students at UCLA. With no acting training, Burt’s career lasted only as long as the series. The reality is that very few actors can survive on acting alone. And you need money for classes, headshots, gas for auditions and the other accoutrements of your Actor-Business. Oh, and did I mention rent?
I need a day job. Actually, this is the only one of these that’s true. The reality is that most actors worked at a day job before they worked as actors Most longer than they wanted. But here are two things you must remember about your day job. One, it’s just a stepping stone to your career. So choose something you not only like but something that will leave you free for auditions. That’s why so many actors are waiters and bartenders. I myself was a substitute teacher. I loved teaching (still do!) and was able to work when I wanted. I went to Japan for four months for a singing gig, took a leave, and was back subbing the next day. And two, never lose sight of your goals. Otherwise your day job . . . your Plan B . . . will become your Plan A.
Okay . . . now grab your journal or pen and paper and write out your starving artist story. If you’ve already started, refine it if any of the common beliefs above resonated with you.
You’re also probably getting that the most important thing you can do is to learn about business. That’s why my next blog will be all about completed your Starving Actor story. And the next will be about embracing a business mindset. Play it to the MAX!
Leave your comments about Spot YOUR Starving Artist Mindset, Part Two Below
What have you discovered about your starving artist mindset by reading this blog? Are there things that you currently believe that you’re now reconsidering? Can you share all or part of your story by sharing below?