This year, metaphorically and spiritually speaking, I plan on throwing out my rear view mirror. In 2018, the ‘goal’ is to look back less often and instead, address that which is in front of me. One task at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.
Looking forward in place of looking back is an opportunity to wake up each day in a state of enthusiasm and curiosity; to see each day as an adventure instead of dreading what lies ahead. The rearview mirror is always there, but if we continually focus on what’s behind us, we miss the moment and aren’t grateful for the job we are already doing, LIVING.
As an acting coach, actors confess the need to be a better actor in order to become a successful actor. In of itself, this advice has its merits, but man, can I feel the pressure cooker inside of them heating up. And then, a bigger problem arises when becoming a better actor becomes the meal instead of being another item on the menu.
A more severe problem with heading this type of advice is that ‘the better person’ is the one who wins in the long run; not only on-set, on stage and in casting offices, but in love and life.
What does it mean to become a better actor anyway? What does a better actor look and sound like?
This year if you aspire to be a be a better actor, I would suggest shifting your focus to become a better person — authentic, generous, heart-wide-open, someone who lives in the moment, revels in joy, has a purpose with passion, and lives from a place of strength, not fear.
Actors living and reacting out of fear typically will allow others to determine what kind of actor they should be. Over time if this doesn’t resonate with the said actor, a stockpile of resentments may start to build which will eventually calcify into cynicism, and more than likely will result in a spiritual and sometimes literal death down the road. After all, the body can only take so much.
Actors living from a place of strength seek out interdependent relationships with coaches, directors, agents, casting directors, mentors, friends, lovers, and family. They take responsibility for their actions, know how to set limits and understand the profound benefits when appreciations and resentments are expressed directly to a person.
This month, take a look in your rearview mirror and use what informs the present and shapes the future. And then, savor the moment (and smile) this year when someone tells you that you’re a better actor than you used to be.
And if that doesn’t happen, at least you’ll be a better person than you were last year!
Happy New Year.
Guy Camilleri is a Venice-based actor, acting coach, and poet. He teaches regular classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings at the Electric Lodge, in Venice. His private coaching specializes in audition preparation, self-taped auditions, original reels and career consultation. To audit a class, enroll in a class, or book a coaching session, go to www.guycamilleri.com. Follow Guy on Instagram @guycamilleri and Facebook.