Oh man, how much do I not want to address this topic. But I NEED to. Over the past few years in my work with actors in the #GlobalActor Power Groups and with Private Clients I have encountered time and time again the desire for immediate results, and I get it. This career can be so difficult at times, but dare I remind you that “this career is a marathon, not a sprint”. Let’s be honest, it can feel like a FREAKING Iron Man at times, am I right?! But I bet you can look back on a moment (from earlier in your journey) to stay inspired, and I ask you to do that, right now, take stock in how far you’ve come from when you first decided to pursue this work.
You are obviously called to this work, and I’m guessing you are reading this because you want to feel more joy in the process of growing in your acting career. So as you submit, audition and hopefully book work you may (or may not) deem “dream work” this week, remember your why. Why are you still acting? So many have given up on the dream. But you are still here. You have a dream, so why not you?!
I want to encourage you to stay on your path this week. Think of me as cheering you on in mile 7 of your race (a marathon is 26.2), so stay steady and consistent from here on out. You have milestones behind you and likely the best is yet to come, but can you enjoy where you are today, here in this moment?
As you scroll through social media today, how about celebrating a past achievement? Leave yours here!
Please don’t beat yourself, or anyone else, up for the lack of bigger results. There are so many reasons why the stars may not have aligned for you yet, but that does not mean it’s time to sit around and wait. No, no, my friend, when’s the last time you saw a runner waiting in the middle of a marathon?
There may be many reasons for your lack of results. And the first one may be that you are wanting an Oscar when you haven’t even booked a film yet, wanting an Audie before you’ve even narrated your first audiobook. So, sign up for that 5K before you train for the marathon -- do you get what I’m saying?
Know that we all have our own level of drive. We all have our own definition of success. And you may or may not know the actions you need to take to hit your actual next goal-- you may not even be clear on that. You don’t know what you don’t know, am I right? Don’t let that delay you though. Figure out how you need to switch gears to continue your move forward.
Does your drive match where you want to be, and have you taken steps to course correct as needed?
Finally, at the end of the day if you don’t feel good about what you’re pursuing, what is the point? Which brings me to JOY. How can you bring joy back into your process and find it while you’re pursuing some of the bigger goals that can take more time?
Three things I’d like to offer:
1. Be open to finding joy in surprising acting opportunities
Some of the most fulfilling acting work I’ve had has been in audiobook narration, non-traditional voice work, standardized patient work and live-action performances at museums or other public spaces. If you haven’t booked a big job in awhile and could use a boost of confidence, why not get your actor brain active and flexible again AND make money too?
2. Make time for Self-Care
I’m still working on this myself, but are you getting at least 7 hrs of sleep a night, drinking half your weight in water each day and moving as often as possible. These basics will set you up for success as you continue along this “marathon” -- don’t worry I’m still talking about your acting career -- you are NOT required to run, though, I mean a marathon can be it’s own crazy experience if you’re looking for that kind of a rush!
3. Stay Focused and Accountable
Don’t lose track of why you are at this in the first place. Tap into your community of fellow actors, hire a coach, and just keep going, taking breaks as needed.
So what is your why? Leave it in the comments, and put it front & center this week.
We have limited time in our days, weeks, and months, right? As actors so often that time is filled with work we are doing just to pay the bills to support our acting career. We have 24 hours in a day-- which can sometimes feel like a lot, sometimes a little. You have more control over your time than you may think. How are you spending yours and how might you be able to make a shift to get more done and find time to rest and recharge so you are ready and confident to book more of the work you want?
Below are three ways to Make More out of the Time You have.
Daily & Weekly Actions
Be sure that the actions you take in your career are actually worth your time and are not you throwing spaghetti against the wall. How can you tell the difference? What is the current goal you are working towards? What are all the actions you need to take (building relationships, attending auditions, practicing mindset, creating marketing materials) to achieve that goal? Eliminate the actions you are taking that are not working. If you’re not sure, get another pair of eyes on your action plan. Consider working with a career coach or mentor - enrollment for the #GlobalActor Power Groups opens up soon - who can help you get crystal clear on your goals and the actions you need to take to achieve them.
Find Your Ideal Actor Day Job
You don’t HAVE to wait tables, temp or work another non-acting related job to support your acting career. If you’ve found a day job you love, well, then keep going, skip this section :) But if you’re NOT in love with your day job, may I offer the day job that shifted everything for me? Narrating audiobooks! The audiobook industry is EXPLODING right now and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. What better way to put your craft to work on a daily basis? Through narrating audiobooks I’ve become the breadwinner in my family AND have a solid income source that I can turn up or down depending on the other acting work coming my way.
Focus, Flex & Free Time
This is my jam for infusing my week with both rest and productivity. It’s scientifically proven that the human brain can only focus for a certain # of hours per day. That said, organize your schedule with 2 hour chunks of FOCUS time for the big rocks, the actions that require the most effort from you and will ultimately provide the biggest results. You may only be able to fit one or two of these blocks in per day. Flex time is time where you are working but maybe your focus is not so intense-- checking emails, updating social media, errands for work, etc. Free time is just that. Put boundaries around daily free time so that your body and mind have time to rest and recharge so that you are ready to focus again when it’s time.
Which of the 3 above will you explore this week? Let me know in the comments below!
I hope you take a moment today to acknowledge and celebrate all the hard work you put in this week. It’s been a crazy busy week in my neck of the woods, so rather than brand new content, I wanted to share a #FlashbackFriday interview that I don’t believe I ever shared on the blog.
This interview hosted by my good friend and fellow working actress Ava Gaudet (RENT, The Society, NCIS) first aired on GoLocalProv. We’re fellow Rhode Islanders ⚓️
Click on the video below to discover:
So what was your biggest takeaway? Leave it in the comments below and then be sure to head on over the join the conversation in one of the most vibrant, free communities on the web, the #GlobalActors FB group.
Q. Elise, I am currently pursuing theatre, film, commercials and voiceover. How do I know where I should be putting my energy on any given day considering I’m pursuing several different things. Help! - Multi-passionate Actor
A. Multi-passionate Actor, you are NOT alone! Most actors work or desire to work in multiple mediums - or as I like to call them “tracks”. It IS tricky to move multiple tracks forward at the same time and almost impossible to do so without a gameplan. SO, let’s start by checking in on your long-term vision. More on that here!
Get Clear on Your Long Term Plan
What are the different tracks that you see in your long-term vision? What if you were to narrow them down to one or two, or at most three? In your long-term vision define the kinds of jobs that bring you joy and income (if that’s important to you, let’s get real!) -- if you’re not sure, do some research and dip your toe into these areas before deciding. Don’t know where to start, let’s chat during our next FB LIVE - Tuesday, September 3rd at 7pm ET.
Reverse-Engineer or Work Backwards from the Bigger Picture
Say you know you want to work in voiceover and TV mainly, start with that long-term vision and work your way backwards. Which tracks have you already seen success in? Which have you not even tapped into yet? If you are almost to a big goal in one area, keep going until you reach it, so you can feel success there and then switch gears to the other track and apply some of that success to a new area.
Get in Action on One “Track”
For instance, when I created my long-term vision several years ago I knew that voiceover could provide me with a solid foundation for income and I saw my long-term vision including voiceover, TV and theatre. At the time, I had reached a big goal in theatre (joining AEA) and was looking for a next big goal to conquer. I had virtually no experience (outside of a gig or two) in voiceover, so it was clear to me that now would be a good time to start, so I set a short term goal in that area.
When you are focused and get clear on an action plan for that track, it will be your main focus. It does not mean you must turn down opportunities in the other mediums... that wouldn’t make sense if you enjoy the work in multiple mediums, but that you are taking consistent, daily actions in one area until you hit that goal. Sometimes opportunities in other areas will surprise you, for instance, I have had clients working on a VO goal and an exciting next-level film opportunity came up. Always say YES to the “Hell, Yes!” opportunities. Not sure whether it’s a “Hell, Yes!” or not? Click here to find out. Success in any area of acting is awesome! Don’t overthink it. Isn’t working on exciting acting projects that pay well really what we’re all after?
So, Multi-Passionate Artist, what do you think? I’m sure you may still have some questions, as this can be a complicated issue, so if you do, no sweat. I’ll be hosting a FB LIVE in the #GlobalActors group on this topic Tuesday, September 3rd at 7pm ET. Bring your questions and I’ll have some answers!
Are you lit up by the company you keep?
Do your friends inspire you?
How often do you push each other to go after what you really want?
“Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you” - Andre DeShields
Have you heard that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with?
The idea is that if you are not reaching the goals and living the life that you want, it may be time to look at who you’re surrounding yourself with. How are you spending your free time with others? Are those you choose to hang with encouraging of your acting goals and dreams or do they bring you down? How do they go about pursuing their dreams?
I began writing this post to you a few weeks back. I was on a plane headed back to the East Coast after an incredible weekend in Portland, with my mentor, the amazingly gifted Dallas Travers, and several other coaches who’ve made it their mission to help others via an abundance mindset. She has been my business coach for both my acting and coaching businesses since 2014.
I must echo my friend and colleague, Ajarae Coleman who put it so perfectly in her recent Instagram post “@dallastravers changed the whole landscape of business coaching for actors, encouraging thousands of us to question fear-based norms in the entertainment industry. 👏🏾😎 I’m honored to stand among this fantastic cohort of coaches she now mentors. We carry the torch and help actors with... everything.”
I, too, am so honored to be a part of this cohort! The weekend spent with others who care so deeply about helping people transform themselves through coaching was incredible. I got to hang with friends I usually only connect with virtually, and the power we had to all light each other up left me feeling motivated, empowered, confident and ready to take on the world (i.e. create a kickass course to help actors leave their dayjobs!). Truly!
It got me thinking about you, and wondering if you have similar inspirational friends in your life. If you could use a few new ones, and aren't sure where to start, tap into the conversation happening over in the free #GlobalActors FB community.
Please know I’m not suggesting you ditch all your friends, or any really. Just check in on how you’re spending your limited social time, after your day job AND after checking off all of your acting to-dos for the day. Do you feel inspired, loved and motivated? Are there acquaintances on your periphery who inspire you? Might you deepen those relationships? As you shift your free time spending more of it with positive people who are similarly pursuing their passions, I’m curious to know what you notice.
Take a quick inventory on how you feel about this, and let me know in the comments how this resonates.
Then join me for a FB LIVE to take things a step further on Saturday, August 24 at 3pm ET inside the #GlobalActors FB group.
I booked a BIG job last week which made me realize that my long-term vision is coming to fruition.
Why am I telling you? Because it was all made possible when I got super clear on what I really wanted and set a crystal-clear, vivid vision in place. AND guess what? I know that whatever your long-term vision is... it's possible for you! Whether you know your vision or not, dive into this FB LIVE recently shared inside the #GlobalActors FB group for inspiration and actionable steps on creating and moving towards the just-right vision for you.
I break down the actions I took so that YOU can put your plan in place for what YOU truly want.
Bonus: Also included in this video are some additional Q & A on the topics of agent/actor relationships, self-submitting and more.
Want to catch the next FB LIVE? Be sure to join us inside the FREE #GlobalActors FB Group!
This question popped up in my inbox earlier this week and since it’s so pertinent to so many actors out there at one time or another, I thought I’d share...
Q: I am recovering from a viral infection and bronchitis. I have been out of teaching for a week and was thinking I could go back tomorrow but then I started getting this tickle in my throat that sends me in to these coughing spasms.... the kind that don’t stop... that are embarrassing in public. Is there anything when you are recording your audio books that you find helpful... to immediately stop that kind of cough from starting? I put myself on vocal rest because I had a terrible painful episode at home this morning and talking seems to set it off.
A: First off, I’m so sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. Such a bummer to be sick. I feel your pain, literally! A couple weeks ago, I was in a very similar situation. I went to my doctor, and besides a prescription for Flo-naze, the information I received is “it’s just a viral infection-- it will go away on it’s own in a 10-14 days”. WHAT?! 10-14 days of coughing and being able to carry on ?! Not so helpful as, you know, professional voice user hear. Fortunately, I had an arsenal of tips & tricks from my early years of vocal frustrations, so my specific bout did not last as long as 10 days. Below is what helped me specifically this time around.
*Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional, just sharing my personal experience. Please do not take the following as medical advice.
Hope this is helpful, and that you feel better soon. Please let me know what you find helpful or if you have any other tips to add in the comments below!
This was originally a guest blog post for Actor-Webs
by Elise Arsenault, The Global Actor
Are you feeling stuck in your acting career?
Maybe you are auditioning, even booking, but it’s not quite the work you want?
2019 is now just a couple weeks away, and this time of year is fabulous for cleaning house and getting clear on what you actually want for the year ahead. I can pinpoint almost all of my clients' career success to the ongoing habit of goal-setting and action planning.
Working in this industry often lacks certainty. Sometimes waiting on being called in, casting, and approval from producers leaves us feeling like everything is up in the air. Fortunately today—due to social media, having our own websites and being able to create content for ourselves—there is so much we are in control of. So what are you going to do right now to feel in control of your career?
Let’s dive into the importance of goal-setting and explore why it works.
Without a goal, how can you know where you’re going and how to plan for it? How do you know what daily actions to take, who you’ll need to meet, what further training you need, etc.?
Think about when you went to school. There was a road-map already set for you when you entered Kindergarten. You would go to school every school day take part in all assignments asked of you for a year, and if you passed, then you’d move up to first grade, rinse and repeat for second grade, etc. until you essentially graduated from high school in 12th grade.
This thirteen year plan with a mix of short and long-term goals does not really exist in the professional acting world, which is why it is SO important that you take the time and energy as the CEO of your acting business to create a structure/plan for yourself complete with short and long-term goals.
A plan gives us an end game result, but it also includes mile-markers to check off along the way as well as daily, weekly, monthly actions that move us forward and keep us practicing our craft. With a plan we are always ready for the opportunity that could be right in front of us today! You really never know when that perfect breakdown will come in, and if you’re not keeping up with what’s happening, you could miss out on your “next big break”, or “leveling up”, however you define a big career jump.
How does one specify a goal?
It takes some time to look at the big picture of where you’d like to be a few years from now, but once you explore and get clear on what that looks like, you can reverse-engineer a goal based on where you are now.
For instance, if I want to be a lead on Broadway, but I’ve still not gotten an Off-Broadway role, that might be what I work on next. However, if I do not have any professional credits yet, my next goal would be my first paid theatre role. At The Global Actor, I encourage all of my clients to create time-bound, specific goals that feel both exciting and achievable. Creating both short-term and long-term goals are necessary for forward and upward momentum in this career.
Are you ready to put a plan into place for 2019?
I'd love to help! This winter I have just a couple spots open in the #Global Actor Power Group, and I’d love to invite you to join me on this 5-month long career-changing adventure!
Whether you are looking to dive into voiceover/audiobooks, seriously book this pilot season or learn how to make all your money from acting, I think you'll want to seriously consider this opportunity.
Find all the details here!
Let career coaching via the Power Groups be your big, nurturing gift to yourself this Holiday Season, a major act of self-care!
This article was originally published by Backstage on November 15, 2018.
Ever wonder if you should say “no” to an acting job? Maybe you’ve been working with the same non-equity theater for years and want to move up to equity contracts.
Perhaps you’re no longer interested in taking unpaid work. Maybe you’d like to move from co-stars to recurring roles on TV.
Whatever the situation, it can be difficult to say no if you aren’t sure when and where your next acting opportunity is coming from. But passing on an acting job if and when it doesn’t serve you personally, professionally, or financially can often be a smart business move to make space for bigger opportunities that do move you forward.
At the beginning of your acting career, you may have instinctively said yes to every opportunity that came your way and if you’re still new to acting, it can be helpful advice. I know it served me well to say yes to almost every opportunity in my early years. I took extra work, unpaid student films, and non-union theater tours because the goal at that time was to build my résumé, meet and work with reputable industry professionals and get as much experience as possible. These were the foundational years of building experience, training, and my network of relationships.
But if you have big dreams and goals for your career (beyond unpaid work), there will likely come a time when you must begin to say no. In fact, I believe you can trace a successful actor’s career around the jobs they turn down. Would Meryl Streep or Sterling K. Brown have said yes to background work several years into their career if the goal was to star in feature films?
To help you figure out whether to take or pass on a job offer, here are three things to ask yourself before making a decision:
1. Does this job align with your current goal(s)?
What is the long-term plan for your career? If the job feels like a mile-marker, say yes. If it feels like a step back, it might be the right time to say no.
2. Does it provide a decent amount of money and/or access to reputable industry relationships? Will you be making a decent (as defined by you) income from this gig? Will you be working with a reputable director or writer for the first time? Are you strengthening an industry relationship that already exists? Is the job just gas money and are you cool with that?
All of these could be reasons to say yes.
3. Does it feel right?
Acknowledge your gut instinct. Does the prospect of working this gig make you excited? Check in with how you are treated during the audition and offer process. If you’re getting weird vibes from the creative team or producer, be sure to acknowledge your feelings, do your research, and listen to your gut.
Still not sure whether you should take this gig? Well, since you are the kind of proactive actor who read this to the end, I've created a guide for you to determine what's best for you and your specific job offer. Get it here!
If you do decide to say "no" to an opportunity, please know that as long as you continue to train, market, and network, there will be another opportunity. I promise.
Do you ever feel like you are super busy yet not moving your career forward as fast as you'd like?
If so this week's video is for you.
A few week's back I invited Charlotte to join us for a Hot Seat Coaching inside the #GlobalActors FB Group. Talk about an actor who GETS THINGS DONE-- you may have seen Charlotte playing Kate Mara's mom in last summer's Chappaquiddick, she also runs her own puppetry company, creates original theatre programming and more. I saw that she was feeling a bit frustrated working on her multiple goals & passions and not seeing as much forward momentum as she'd like. I knew that other #GlobalActors out there could benefit from this conversation so we decided to make the coaching public.
Take a few moments out of your busy schedule just for you and your career, grab a tea or coffee, settle in and take in this conversation!
She's done so much this past year, am I right?! If you can relate to any of what Charlotte was experiencing and would like to gain more clarity and vision in your acting goals and finally experience lasting success in your acting career, you are warmly invited to join me for:
"Dream Big, Plan Smart", A 5-Day Global Actor Challenge!
November 5-9, 2018
When you complete the challenge you'll have:
1) A living vision for life & career 5 years from today
2) A time-bound, specific one year goal
3) 3-5 personalized mantras to keep you active & in forward momentum
4) The beginnings of a 2019 Action Plan
5) Support from a community of actors to help you feel connected & accountable!
Hope you'll join us and invite a few other actors you admire to take part, too!
the global actor