I’m going to break from the usual format today, though it has a purpose, so bear with me.
Today I want to know about YOU.
More specifically, I want to know about you so that you can know about you.
And even more specifically, I want to ask a really stupid question that actually isn’t really that stupid once you think about it. I know, because when someone asked me the same question three years ago, I thought it was stupid. The question is, and once again PLEASE bear with me because I know you are going to shutter even reading this, but the question is this:
What is your New Year’s resolution?
I know. Trust me, I know what those words look like, and I know what they sound like, and three years ago I would have gladly thrown in my lot with an angry mob and been on the back end of that pitchfork chasing myself. But the thing is, I owe a lot to that question. This year I competed my first marathon. I finished my acting reel. I put together a website. I went on the most audition of my career. And I might have never gotten around to those things, certainly not this soon, if not for that question.
I owe my conversion to a sociology teacher I had in college (along with a basic understanding of broken window theory and the ability to slip the term latent function into casual conversation). The year after graduation we had a facebook conversation that went something like this:
Sociology Teacher: Alright everyone, what’s your new years resolution?
Tim: Haha, lol, new years resolutions are stupid, nobody ever keeps them, hahahahaja. Also I know everything about EVERYTHING
Sociology Teacher: I try to set goal oriented resolutions. You should give it a shot.
Tim: EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING!
Her argument was that people tend to set resolutions and goals for themselves that are unrealistic, general, or that they have no direct power over. For example, my goal that year was to *que originality* get into better shape! How? Well, um, the gym maybe, and then some running? No morning pastries?
Here’s where her take on resolutions came into play. She suggested I set an actual, tangible, achievable goal that would further whatever the resolution was. I knew I could run a little, so decided I would run a 10k race in January 2012 which satisfied tangible and achievable . The training was only a few miles every couple of days, the time was far enough off that I could prepare without much trouble. And on January 29th I crossed the finish line of the Relay for Her Life charity run in Century City, California. I would go on to complete 9 more races that year because I changed my goal to doing one race a month and because there are no rules to how resolutions work.
Likewise, in 2012 I set a
resolution goal for my acting career. I wanted to go on more auditions, to get my foot in the door more often. But because I have no DIRECT power over how many people call me in for an audition I set my goal based around what I knew got other people auditions. I decided I would complete my acting reel and website before the end of summer. Granted, I already had some usable material for my reel, but knowing I wanted it finished encouraged me to submit for projects that would add more depth to it. I started taking more pictures on set. I started asking for clips and stills I could use. By August I had both a website and a reel.
We actors are by nature grand dreamers. But the gulf from amateur to professional in this industry is a wide one, and very few can cross it in a single bound. For the rest of us there is the grind, building a bridge out of our toolbox and our talent. The other side of the gap is our resolution. The bridge is made of the goals we set.
Want to find an agent this year? Great. Tangible and achievable is maybe committing to three agent workshops in the spring. Feeling rusty and you want to book a job? An acting class once a week will help get the gears turning. I can recommend a great teacher if you are in New York.
It’s time to get off my soapbox, but before I do I’ll ask one more time. What is your resolution this year and what goals can you set to achieve it?