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Artist vs. Actor

It's been over a month since my last post. It's funny because I think the last line of it was 'Here's to the slow downs'. And the past month has been anything but slow. That's good for me, though. I'm still trying to learn how to ride the waves, but I think I'm getting better at it. I think I did appreciate the slow down more than I ever had before so, here's to progress.

This past week, I had 10 auditions. Mostly commercial of some sort. I was talking with a friend of mine at an audition who was telling me about his frustrations. And one thing I wanted to share that he said he found helpful was this concept that I've been thinking about.

I, like probably every actor in this city, am equipped to do a lot of things. I didn't HAVE to be an actor. It wasn't the only skill I had. So many of us could say "I could have had another career doing XYZ" But we didn't choose that path. We chose this.

So let me share something. I didn't know this when I first started to pursue acting. Somewhere after my first several jobs, I realized that more than being an actor, I wanted to be an artist. What's the difference? It might be just semantics really, but I will attempt to identify the difference. I didn't want to just work. I didn't just want a paycheck. I wanted to develop my own personal style, a way of approaching roles, I wanted to work on the artistry of being an actor. Sounds kind of heady, but it makes sense to me.

Looking back at jobs I auditioned for - when I came into the room with a strong sense of what my artistry was, when I had injected my sense of humor, sense of style, and made bold choices rooted in what I knew - I often booked it.

Too often, I went to auditions just trying to book a job. But that's not what I set out to do as an actor. And I wasn't enjoying auditions if I measured it by whether or not I booked it. Too often you won't. Having been a math major, there were many years I needed to know my booking percentage. Sometimes, rarely though, it would be at 50%. I don't know if that seems high or low to you - but it reads 1/2 suceeding, 1/2 failing. After some time, I moved on from that measure because I thought it no longer measured what I was working towards. I wasn't working on booking the job. I was working on becoming the type of actor I wanted to be.

When I do this - I book jobs that feel right. It's the best way I've found to "find my people". When I show myself - who I truly am in the material - then people can judge more easily 'this is someone I'd like to spend 10 hours with on set' or it's not. And I don't feel bad anymore when it's not me because even though I'm not in the driver seat of that decision, I think I might feel the same way about them.

So I decided to flip it for myself. And I continue to try to do this. Because fear and insecurity are like the pesky younger brother and sister I never had, and love to tag along whenever I go to auditions. I figure out how to show what I do, who I am and what my sense of humor is in every audition I go to. I try to enjoy myself and enjoy the "performance" I'm giving in that 2-5 minutes that I'm in front of a casting person. That's how auditions became enjoyable. I love showing my art.

A producer I've worked with for the last 18 months on various projects sent me my initial audition tape. It was so helpful to see how I come off in auditions. I wasn't self conscious about doing the audition and so I got a candid glimpse of what I do in the room. This is a hosting audition so it's different from acting, but still helpful to see what I do. (see link below) He said he really loved that audition and thankfully, that was an example of me going in and being me, and consequently- I really love working with him and all of his team.

So in conclusion, I'd say - find out what kind of artist you want to be. The ball is in your court.

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Veronica Reyes-How

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