Amanda Charney, TMU contributor and sophomore at USC
And here we are in week 5! Between midterms, rehearsals, and the first fall rain, it's easy to get lost in the stress and busy-ness of college life. So here are a few tips from theater students and graduates who have been there and done that!
1) Think about the future
College is awesome, but don't forget that when you're out of here, you're going to have to fend for yourself! Give yourself the best possible chance of success by preparing now for the world of acting outside of school.
"Actively try to learn about life and the professional world aside from just developing your skills or getting good grades" recommends Dana Brown, senior theater student. "It takes so much more than 'being a good actor' to be successful in this business. Don't ignore little tips about professionalism and other seemingly less important facets of your career."
You're in a great position right now to start getting involved in the theater community around your campus, and these experiences are the ones that will get you jobs once you graduate!
2) Get out of your comfort zone
While it is always advisable to work hard on your craft and play to your strengths, sometimes what you really need is that kick that comes with trying something completely new!
Junior theater student Steve Miller says, "It is so easy to get stuck into a routine, so much so that anything different seems frightening. But in these different experiences there are new possibilities, and you might find that you like this new way better than the old. Give new experiences a try and make no apologies for trying them. The possibilities are endless!"
3) Don't get caught up in negativity
Leave the pity party, and use hard times as learning experiences!
Charlotte Wen, a theater upperclassman, says, "Don't let past experiences put you down. You have to take what you've learned from them and show yourself that you can beat the odds. Overcome your insecurities and know that you are enough."
"Fear is the worst enemy," advises Braden Davis, recent USC graduate. "Once you free yourself of judgment of others and your own judgment of yourself, you will grow infinitely. Mistakes and falls often make the best story."
You know what they say: "Reach for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars!" Don't let fear of failure get in the way of potential success.
4) Broaden your horizons
Explore every opportunity presented to you, because you never know what you will take from it. Remember: acting is just an exercise in humanity. So if all you know of life is the rehearsal hall, the dressing rooms, and the stage, how could you accurately slip into a role?
"The best artists," says Matt McFarland, currently a theater BFA junior, "Or at least the ones that I respect the most, are the ones who are so much more than their art. Love your art, and do it fully, but also take time away from it. Study abroad, learn a language, go cliff diving, get into trouble. Life's experiences are what make you better at your art, because you better understand the human condition."
Don't get so caught up in theater that you forget to live life! Take some time once in a while to sit, meditate, and write down what is very important to you. Then go out and experience the world. You will be a better actor (and person) for it.
5) Remember what motivates you
Why are you acting anyways? There must be a reason if you've pursued it this far!
"Try to remember why you started doing this in the first place--because you love it," emphasizes Rachel Newman, a senior theater student, "Not because you were trying to impress your peers or trying to prove anything. If you imbue your performances and your training with as much love as you can (and granted, it comes and goes), then you're doing something right."
So write down your favorite theater experiences and proudest moments for those times when you wonder if it's worth it. Between auditions, callbacks, rejections, and disappointments, this may be the most important key to success of all!
Everyone needs a little motivation once in a while, and without remembering that you love what you're doing, it may all seem fruitless. Find that part of you with the determination to keep going! And remember; success is subjective, so do what is fulfilling for you.
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