The Set-Up: Necessities

For many of you this will not be a “new thought” or topic but it is one of those subjects that simply never sleeps. Your “set up” in life matters for anyone anywhere in any profession. But for the actor, especially if you’ve moved specifically to be a working actor, then this is…always applicable to you. In most professions you can easily find a way to compartmentalize your “job” everyday versus what is occurring in your personal life. You go to work, you do your job, and then you leave. Yes, if you’re a small business owner which I have been, you do wind up taking your work home more often than you’d like. Also some higher end professions like Wall St., lawyers of certain kinds, and others are more “all day” type professions…but NONE of them are like being an actor.

Actors, unlike any other profession or even artistic profession, can be and are affected mentally and psychologically by everything. We don’t have a guitar, or a song, or a dance step routine to CHANNEL what is going on in our lives. We are people, walking and talking, being people. It is all generated inside our heads, imagination, heart, soul and gut. This means that our environment, every element of our environment, affects us and what we do more than anyone else.

So what are the Set-up items, well here we go: Dwelling, Auto (State of), Job (Income), Budget, Classes, Friends, Social. Any one of these elements can drastically affect your general state of being on a given day in your city regardless of where you live. Of course in today’s technology world producers, studios, networks and production companies wait, typically, until the last milli-second to bother to consider informing an actor they have an audition. It’s like they all become Alfred Hitchcock in the last ten years.

So under this type of professional circumstance and environment dealing with gas, car issues or concerns, getting a “shift covered”, having too many people who are in a constant state of drama as friends…etc. etc. really can affect your career. Listen, we’re all different and yet all the same in some regards. While some folks can quickly make transitions and block things out…most of us…are not so good at it. When opportunities are so much more rare today than a few decades ago…you cannot afford to waste them.

As Chris Rock says: “Get’cher money right.” This is a metaphor in this Blog, for having all of your “Life Set-Up” elements in the BEST possible place for your success. Success comes from confidence and confidence comes from a number of places but mostly “knowing what you know” and knowing “how to do” what you need to do. You can’t accomplish that without having a great deal of focus and focus comes from having your life in control and being prepared for anything this biz throws at you, on a moments notice.

If your intimate partner isn’t a positive, get rid of them, and yes…I mean it that simply. If your living situation with others is dragging you down…GET OUT. Live in a freakin shoe box, but live alone, if the situation isn’t positive. Continue to seek out an “income job” that fits you both mentally and that will allow for this profession. This is probably my #1 “set-up” issue is our job. Without one that supports us financially, but also doesn’t DRAIN us, but isn’t too far from where we live…and also is flexible. This can take an actor years to find again regardless of where you’re living and acting…but LA and New York are the hardest.

If the geographical place you live isn’t “feeding you” when you wake up in the AM, then by God move your ass…to where it does. If your auto situation has you constantly panicked that you’re going to break down…then do whatever prioritization necessary to FIX it or get a different vehicle…because this is a mental killer for actors pursuing a career. At the end of the day life will always “toss you some lemons” whether it is death, illness or other issues with friends n’ family. Those we have to deal with in the way we do, but when you add to that all of these other elements…it gets pretty overwhelming and what will ultimately suffer is YOUR performance in an audition…and you may never get a second chance. 🙂

Always on your side, @TheKevinE