Immerse yourself in your work

Immerse yourself in your work

Once, I asked a young actor if he thought he could be a professional athlete. He was silent for a moment. Then his eyes narrowed and he spoke in a serious tone. “If I really set my mind to it,” he said, “if I really committed, I think I could still do it.” How would you start, I asked. “I’d get up tomorrow at five in the morning and work out twelve hours a day.”

Was he working this hard as an actor? No. He must have thought that being a professional actor was easier than being a professional athlete. Actors get bummed out when they think about how much time they waste. They kick themselves for neglecting their work. This doesn’t do any good.

Any time you feel any guilt for wasting your time, stop kicking yourself and practice a speech for ten minutes. When the guilt comes back, practice again. (Keep a book of monologues handy.)

The way to get to twelve hours a day is to add a little acting to what you’re doing today. And a little bit more tomorrow.

Isn’t it interesting to imagine what your work would look like if you did add an hour or two a day to your practice? What would it look like in a year? And how would you feel when you walked on a set?

It’s easy to start a new regime. It’s hard to keep it going. Staying in touch with what you want has to be part of the plan.

Yes, it’s great to do the work for your own private pleasure. And it really does feel good to practice a speech. But continue to motivate yourself with reminders of the very real pleasures of success. They really are available and at least some of them will come your way when you practice a little more often.

— Rob McCaskill

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