Time, Appreciation, and Routine

I'm a wee bit scatterbrained today. I've just finished a four hour round trip to be at a 10-minute audition in Montreal, and I still got wrestling practice on my plate today. It's a big day. To keep myself from rambling, I'm organizing my thoughts into three big sections. I can't promise it'll make much more sense.

On Time

Four hours isn't the biggest round trip I've ever done, and 10 minutes isn't the shortest audition I've ever had. I've gone to Toronto for less, and that's one hell of a round trip. To be completely transparent, same day round trips to Toronto are pretty rare. I've only done it once, and it was by train. It was the only time I took the train. Usually, I drive everywhere (because the train is hella expensive). In my mind, a four hour round trip for a meeting without guarantees doesn't seem too crazy. For plenty, it's probably a huge waste of time or maybe just not good value for your mileage. I need to admit that there's a part of me that thinks this way too. It's not necessarily that I think of how much money that lost time is worth; I'm nowhere near at a stage in my career where I can think that way. Rather, I'm thinking that if the audition doesn't pan out (because they haven't so far), there are better things I could have done with my time. I could have been writing my 2000 words a day, writing a script or practicing some obscure acting technique. It's frustrating to think about the time lost, and it makes me wish I had the money to use public transportation to get to where I need to be. The train isn't that bad, and it means I get to work.

Now let me tell you why that's bullshit.

If I was spending every waking hour doing some kind of work, or even eight hours a day, I'd be allowed to complain about having to drive four hours for a short audition. Because then, I'd actually be losing time I'd spend on productive ventures. Problem is, I waste way too much time on Facebook and YouTube, simply because I can. I don't have any acting stuff to work on, wrestling practice is only four hours a week, and sitting down to write is hard as hell. So really, using those four hours of my day to get to an audition is much more productive, no matter how short that audition is, and no matter how it pans out. Gotta go in without expectations, and gotta stop wasting my time at home.

On Appreciation

It's important for me at this stage to talk about appreciation. I just brought up expectations, and I strongly feel that it's very difficult to have one when you're mired in the other. Specifically, it's very difficult to appreciate opportunities when you come in loaded with expectations*. As an actor, you work your butt off to get auditions in the hopes you'll get cast in something that'll get you noticed, your big break. You get your headshots out there, throw your resume at people in the streets, and scour shady casting call boards for opportunities. I used to do the latter for hours every day, though now that I have representation I stopped doing it for a while. My logic was that I had "people" to do that for me now. Well ironically, I've gotten maybe two auditions from my representation. In contrast, my only paid acting gig so far has been off of one of those shadier sites, and my audition today was as well. I'm not blaming the people who represent me in the slightest. It's tough to represent a guy who's seven hours away and can't realistically do same day auditions. I've also got a tough look to sell. I'm inconsistently bearded and growing my hair out into a mane of flowing locks (though it's currently at one of the many awkward stages that are on the way there). Rather, this is more about me calling myself out for laziness and having expectations. I hired representation, so I expected them to get me auditions and get me noticed without having to do anything on my end. That ended up being wrong. So lately I've stopped expecting things from them, just letting do their own thing while I try and figure out how to build my brand and market myself better. More than that though, I'm trying to stop having expectations when I go to an audition.

It's hard. You go to an audition hoping to get the part, and you're working your butt off for days to memorize the lines and try to nail the character. It's a lot of work that ends up being free if you don't get the part. But that's what the business is. You walk in that audition with expectations and I strongly believe you kill your chances. Your presence becomes about taking something; you want to take money and exposure from the people casting you. You're not bringing something anymore, you're not bringing your uniqueness, your take on their character. You don't appreciate the chance you've been given, instead, you're expecting someone to tell you how great you were.

And yeah, maybe it sucks to drive four hours for something that doesn't pan out, something that takes only ten minutes. Here's the thing though. There were four people in that room. Their ten minutes, combined, are worth a lot more than my ten minutes. Wannabe actors auditioning for commercials are a dime a dozen. While I'm convinced that I've got a unique combination of skills and experiences that make me unlike any other actor on my level, it's my job to carry that across in ten minutes. I can't expect anyone to want to hear my life story, or to look me up before the audition to find out what I'm about. I have to go in without expectations and appreciate the time I'm given by using it to its full benefit.

Then, I've got to shake every hand in that room and sincerely tell them I appreciate the time they've given me. It puts people at ease, and it shows that you don't have your head up your ass. I may not get the role, but I went in without expectations. I think that's more important at this stage. 

*Credit to Gary Vaynerchuk for the basic premise of "no expectations", since it's what I'm working off of here. 

On Routine

This is probably going to be the shortest part of this post. This isn't as much about something I've learned, something I now know, as it is about something I need to do. Last week, I talked about "Turning Pro." In my view, this meant writing every day, getting 2000 words in. I call myself a writer, so I better goddamn write.

Well, I fucked up.

I haven't written 2000 words every day since then. I got most days (probably five out of seven). On the days I missed, I told myself I was too busy, or that I deserved the break. Stupid logic. Writing 2000 words doesn't take five hours, not at the rate I write anyway. I can get it done quickly (but well) then move on. So why am I not getting my 2000 words in? I don't have a routine. I sort of go to bed whenever I'm tired, and wake up whenever I wake up. I don't set an alarm most days. I thought that lack of structure was a strength; it kept me more flexible, and I thought I needed that to work my art. Turns out it doesn't work that way. I'm still a bit bogged down in waiting for inspiration to come to me, rather than making it show up. I've got to start writing when I'm not inspired, because that happens as I do. I was watching a couple motivational videos last night, since I hadn't written the amount I'd wanted to. The motivation fades, and it's nigh impossible to always stay motivated just from watching YouTube. The knowledge doesn't. The bit that stuck out to me was needing a routine, because that gets you on the path to self-discipline. And gods do I need that.

So starting tomorrow, I'm waking up at 9am everyday (not super early, but a far cry from 1pm). I'm having breakfast, I'm working out (except on rest days), then I'm writing. Not sure what I'll do for the rest of the day, but I'm going to work on that as I settle into it.

Hope my ramblings are useful to you, whoever you might be. If you've been reading me for a while and have been frustrated with my inconsistent schedule of late, I know. I'm sorry. I need to do more things to feel like my life is worth talking about. I'm working on it.

If you want to collaborate, or you just want me to write for you, shoot me an email.