Here are three don’ts when you’re trying to realize your dream…
1. Don’t: Keep Your Dream a Secret
Many people are slightly embarrassed about admitting their dream. Becoming a singer, writer, actor or maybe the first human being to open a bar on Mars, these aren’t goals with a high succes rate after all. And some people have negative reactions to that. This was the reason for me to be secretive about my dream for a long time. I didn’t want people to think that I wasn’t smart or that I was naive. Living in a country where “Just act normal, then you’re crazy enough” is the national slogan certainly didn’t help (the Netherlands).
But in the acting business, like in any business, it’s all about who you know. And if you’re not open about your goals in life, you miss out on the opportunities that people around you with the know-how could provide. So if you’re really sure about your dream, get behind it and tell it to anyone who wants to hear it. I might just have been lucky, but I got results immediately once I did this.
After my first trip to Los Angeles I knew that acting was the only thing that would ever make me happy and I decided to do my best to be more open about it. I went back to university to finish my degree, and with a red head and nervous stuttering told everyone what I wanted. Not even a month later I was on the set of my first short film. A classmate had a friend who was a director and needed a girl for a role. It was my first job, and I wouldn’t have gotten it if that classmate had not known about my acting aspirations!
2. Don’t: Hope It Will Happen On It’s Own Because You Have Talent
A bit of a warning for the dreamers, like me 😉 Yes, there are always those stories of people who kind of got their break-out role by dumb luck. They were discovered in the MacDonalds, the local mall or on YouTube. Never say never, but to put all your money on that happening would be a waste of opportunity.
The waitress at the Ivy might be a way more talented actress than the average movie star, but in the end the difference will usually be made by who worked harder. And if you really want to go for your dream you have to be prepared to work hard. Take a job that is less than ideal to be able to invest in acting classes, scorch the web for auditions and write e-mails to a talent agents in the few hours you have after work. Make sure your talents are seen. You are your own product and that product may be great, but if no one sells it, no one’s gonna see it.
3. Don’t: Go In Unprepared
Quotes may be cheesy but I really think this one bares some truth: “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” In most artistic or entrepreneur jobs it is all about luck, so this is really quite important. Opportunities are great, and generally I think you should always jump on them, but you have to make sure it can’t affect you adversely later on. You have to make sure you’re well prepared. Because the artists’ world is a small place and you will often see the same people over and over.
I really wish I would have taken this advice myself a while ago. Being the impatient, impulsive person that I am I jumped on every opportunity that rose with the thought that not trying would always be more hurtful than trying. So there I went, all brave to my first audition for musical theatre with no experience whatsoever. And it was an absolute disaster. I can sing a tune, but trying to be louder than the piano…well, it wasn’t a succes. Let’s keep it at that. I’m just glad it wasn’t filmed.
So what? Better next time you would think, right? But the audition was in the presence of Holland’s biggest casting agency and this is what they got to see of me. This was the first impression. Now, luckily for me they gave me another chance and I have done a couple of good auditions for film and TV for them afterwards. But not everyone is so forgiving. And even though I might have improved my musical talent a great deal since, it’s unlikely that they will invite me for another musical audition.
So I guess the motto is: don’t be afraid to take opportunities, but make sure you come prepared!
Well, that was is for my advice. I’m sure I will encounter much more lessons as I make my way to becoming a working actress. But maybe I can learn some from you beforehand! What are your experiences in trying to realize your dreams and what advice do you think is missing here? Would love to hear from you!
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