Being an Artist is a daredevil business.
You take risks every single day. You are constantly putting yourself out on the line, letting yourself and your work be judged by strangers. The very nature of being an artist is in itself a great risk of the very vulnerable soul.
So the question I invite you to consider today is not simply if you are being risky as an artist.
I know you are. Just walking into the audition room is risky. Just stepping on to a stage, writing a scene, or making a movie is incredibly risky.
Here is a possibly more provocative question to ponder…
Are you being risky ENOUGH?
A friend of mine, a revered and successful playwright and screenwriter, once said to me, “You might have to hit bottom before you can go up. And, you will know when you hit bottom.” Since hearing that years ago I’ve worried many times, gosh am I hitting bottom? Then, I realized that the other side of hitting bottom is GOING UP! As time passes, and I continue taking my risks, I keep telling myself…it’s okay if you hit bottom with your art, Heidi, because then you can go up! Strangely, that thought has given me so much ease.
Even if your risk crashes greatly, you will go up again!
I heard a story once about Michael Moore, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, that has stayed with me for years and years. He shared that he remortgaged his house against bank loans in order to buy a camera to finish making his first film, Roger & Me. He put his HOME on the line. His film was a hit and launched his career. He has since made extremely provocative films that have not only won awards and praise but have also spurred change and debate. Yeah, he is now a millionaire himself, but it doesn’t negate the risk he took at the start of his career. And the impact his risky films have had on public policies and awareness has inspired numerous other artists as well.
I don’t think we all need to go and sell everything that we own to make our movies or mount are dream productions. But there are lessons of passion to be learned from artists who have celebrated the success of the risk-taking.
Are you taking a risk that you care about?
Are you making art that you care about?
Are you working with others who believe in the art as much as you do?
If you have a YES to any of the above, keep going! Keep working with those equally passionate partners. Keep developing the art that you believe will make a difference to someone somewhere in this world.
If you are not doing any of the above yet, that is okay.
Just don’t freeze.
Maybe NOW is the moment you have been waiting for to shift some perspectives that will open you up to taking some exciting risks that could potentially yield the greatest rewards?
Here are my top EASY risky tips for the auditioning actor.
- In the audition room, dare to take your time with the scene. Work moment by moment, not trying to just “get in and get out”.
- In the audition room, dare to do the scene differently than how you worked it in your prep. Spontaneously, change up at least one thing in your scene.
- In the audition room, dare to not care if you book the gig or not. Enjoy the opportunity to work on your craft in this moment instead.
- In your career, invest in that thing that will take you to the next professional level. New headshots with a top pro, a new wardrobe item that makes you feel awesome in the audition room, an inspiring class(acting or not), a private coaching with that inspiring voice/acting/dance/writing coach….what feels scarey?
- In your career, create something yourself! Write, produce, direct, or gather your favorite artists together to figure out what the heck to create.
- In your career, SHARE your work instead of hiding it because you think it is not perfect. Submit your writing to a contest, film a scene and start a vimeo/youtube channel, share your scene that you filmed with friends/family/colleagues, perform your monologue/scene for a friend.
- In your career, do it now. Make that film now. Today. With an iPhone, goddang it. Make it now.
Oh the list of risks that we can take as artists is long! I am getting excited just writing these ideas out! I feel the surge of RISK-TAKING!
What else can you add? Please share below. I would love to hear your ideas too!