Thursday, May 7, 2009

Help My Career is in a Crisis! Part 2

"The ones who think they know all the answers become obsolete, as this
Usually means they're not keeping current with what they need to be
successful in their industry."

One of the biggest struggles people have in their career is developing confidence both in them and in their talent. We get pounded over the head by agents, managers, directors, casting directors and people in general who say, “You have to have confidence!” or, “When people walk into my office, I want to see their confidence,” and, “I hate it when I see a person who performs and they lack confidence,” and things of the like. However, we’re rarely taught how to build this “confidence”; we’re so often commanded to have.

This weekend, I was a blessed to be a part of a competition where I served as a guest on a panel of esteemed professionals within the entertainment industry. I was honored to say the least, as I consider myself an actress first, then an acting coach- and am, as quite as kept, still building confidence in my later, and seemingly novice abilities in coaching, in comparison to the big-leaguers that accompanied me on the panel. 

As I listened to each panelist list their credentials and give their speeches to the thirsty competitors. Their speeches, in and through out, all had the same message; “confidence and preparation”. Don’t get me wrong, the panelists gave very wise advice and were extremely knowledgeable within their field of study and practice. The contestants no doubt learned much about the business of acting and modeling, and various other parts of the entertainment industry. The contestants smiled and nodded through the entire seminar as they took in what they needed to know in order to attain success. It was easy to see that what they were learning both ignited a fire and scared the crap out of the participants at the same time. Still there was an awkward expression that show on their faces as they listened; one question that went unanswered. How do I gain confidence?

I realized that these contestants new little about how to prepare for their ultimate success and even less about how to build confidence. I could see it in their eyes they were clueless. It was similar to a preacher telling a needy saint to “just have faith”, but not telling them how faith is attained. The needy saint then walks away inspired, but after a few days, they find they are at the same place in mind-faithless, because they weren’t given the proper seed to plant and grow their faith. I have seen this happen countless times. On well known shows like American Idol, contestants are told by each judge repeatedly, “You can sing! I just want to see your confidence!” Only to be oscillated later by the same judges who say, “Don’t quit your day job, or, “You’re not cut out for this business.” 

I decide that Like Jesus, I want the seed I give to you to fall on good ground. 

Research- In order to gain confidence in your talent, the first thing you have to do is research. Research is very essential to developing confidence and getting success. Things to research: people who are doing the things you are trying to do. If it is modeling, know who the top male and female models are both nationally and internationally. Know top clothing designers as well as new comers. Who knows, you can possibly find a newbie designer who will be eager to have your new face as their signature model and you two can blow up together. You should also be very familiar with casting directors and agents. View their websites to see what they have as their talent. Also, check the types and sizes of their talents and view talent photos. This will give you an idea of what the agent is looking for as far as size and look.

If you are an actor/actress, you should know who your favorite directors are in film and theater. Be familiar with all agents and who they represent, as well, what jobs their talent has booked. You can check this information out on IMDB. This will give you insight on the relationships agents have with casting directors and directors and also how to properly prepare for an audition with that agent. 

To help you better understand, if you see that most of the talent that is with a particular agent is booking a lot of jobs with Law and Order, Ugly Betty and on soap operas, then assume that the agent has great alliances with those casting directors and/or directors and that those are the jobs, provided you have the skills, that you will be sent out on.

Other things that can help you:
Reality TV Shows- looking at reality based learning shows in your field and take whatever tricks that you can and practice them.

Read- Read books, articles and trade papers that deal with your career

Coaching- You would be wise to find a coach to help you with your sides, runway walk, or monologue before you go to every audition. As you have probably heard countless times before, practice makes perfection and preparation helps build your confidence all the time. When you go into that room and your nerves start to flare, and believe me they will, you can rely on the fact that you have rehearsed with someone who has sound judgment and knowledge.

Take Classes- Take classes! This is so important. You have to learn about your trade. Seeing yourself on camera will help you learn from the mistakes you are making. So will getting feedback from your coach/teacher. You will get to see all of things that you are doing that you were unaware of. When I took my first acting on camera class, I learned that I looked up a lot. This was not only disconnecting me from the scene, but it looked like I was searching for lines and it was distracting. I was never going to book a job on film or TV without breaking that habit. Taking that class allowed me to learn from my mistakes, and have confidence with my new skills.

Invest in yourself- You have to spend money on the things you need and unfortunately going the cheaper route will only make you lack confidence in the end.

Pictures say a thousand words- Once you get your comp card or headshot that you are proud of, you will walk into the audition room feeling like your photo can contend with others. I remember when I had headshots that I was not proud of. I would keep them in my bag until the moment they called me into the room, only then to grimace when I handed the picture to the casting director. I was already off to a bad audition, because I was busy thinking of how horrible my headshot was rather than having my mind on where the character was! Not only that, but it builds your confidence when your agent calls and says you have an audition. This means that something in your comp card or headshot made the casting director choose you, which make you already have a leg up. But if your pictures are horrible, your phone won’t ring.

Buy yourself clothes that you only wear on auditions- this way you go to the audition feeling good and prepared for the role. I have invested in glasses, nurse uniforms, and shirts with colors that make my skin look beautiful on camera. I have young mom outfits and lawyer outfits, and teacher outfits,etc., so no matter what the role, I am prepared to go to the audition confidently knowing that I look the part.

If you are a model, be prepared for your auditions with all the basic necessities a model need; black and brown shoes, nude underwear for women, black and brown belts for men and so on. You never know what they want to see and you want to be prepared for all walks of life.

Find a mentor- Everyone should have someone they can go to, who is knowledgeable in the business where they can pull additional information from. Your mentor should be encouraging and truthful.

Words are powerful- Lastly, but certainly not the least, you should start now telling yourself things like, “I am beautiful”, “I fit the part”, “I am confident”, “I know the lines”, “My walk is fierce” and like phrases, not only before you go on your audition, but every night when you are about to drift off to sleep. Your subconscious mind will start to believe the things you are saying to it and will feed it to your heart over time, and with your heart in the right place, you are confident and will achieve greatness. 

Mind-You have to train your mind to believe what you want it to believe, not what you are or how you see yourself. You’ll eventually be what you say you are. Also if you hear people say over and over, various groups of people, that you are gifted in an area, stop fighting it and began to see yourself through the eyes of others.

These are practiced and proven steps that will help to build your confidence in most any situation.  Try them on for size and wear them well.  If you do, your confidence will grow and show when the time comes.
Love always.  Go after your dreams like living depends on it.  Push pass the limits!

Squeaky Moore

My Blog List