Follow Your Bliss

Bliss was a short film made long ago by the filmmakers brining you Stages. It really has nothing to do with the article...except that following Bliss led us to doing lots more amazing work...

Bliss (noun): Complete happiness.  I like the sound of that – COMPLETE HAPPINESS!

What gives me complete happiness is teaching.  I can’t go a day without teaching.  If I am not teaching I fill the void by writing.  Teaching is truly my passion.  It’s my bliss.

What is your bliss?  What gives you complete happiness?  What is that something that when you are doing it your world seems complete?  Whatever it is, do it.  Don’t deny yourself your happiness.

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Letting Go of Fear

Sometimes, even David Stott gets scared...he is producing his first feature film, with support from many of us at StageSuccess. You can support him by liking it! (Click pic above!)

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

That is probably the most famous quote of the twentieth century.  It was proclaimed by president Franklin Roosevelt at the beginning of World War II.  Never were truer words spoken.

Fear has been described as an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real.  Translated, fear is the result of the unknown or perceived.  Giving into fear creates a roadblock to any and all goals.

Fear surfaces our insecurities: What if I?m not good enough?  What if I fail?  What if there are others better than I am?  What if I don?t have talent?  What if…?

Let?s eliminate from this exploration of fear the words “What if.”

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Why do I teach?

Or a better question: why do I continue to teach?

[Editor's spoiler: It's about the student.]

The answer is simple: I have to.  It’s in my genes.  Here is a short “teaching” autobiography.

When I was thirteen and taking dance class my teacher saw me helping a younger child with the opening routine in her beginning class.  Continue reading

7 Simple Ways for Actors to Jumpstart Momentum

  1. Set a new goal. Choose an action you can take that you are in control of, and can work towards…big or small.  And then begin.
  2. Read.  Read plays, novels, short stories, the newspaper…acting is storytelling.  Let yourself be affected and inspired by stories and how they are told.
  3. Watch a movie…but watch it with intention.  Don’t just veg out in front of the TV.  Is there an actor you like?  A character you’d like to play?  Study the performances; develop a critical eye…what did you like, and why? Continue reading

What are you Waiting For?

By Axel Avin Jr.

How many time have you heard these phrases and ones like them mumbled by your friends or even yourself?

  • “I can’t wait until I’m rich and famous, THEN I’ll be able to do what I really want to do.”
  • “I can’t wait until I book a pilot.” “I can’t wait until I get signed by an agent, THEN I’ll start working.”
  • “I’m sick of waiting for  casting directors to cast me.”

As actors, there is a lot of support for the idea that our careers are in the hands of other people. This idea is one that I personally struggle with. Like many actors, I have spent Continue reading

It’s Off to Work We Go

By Adam Hill

Recently I had the guilty pleasure of viewing, for the first time in many years, Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  What a delightful experience.

I especially got a kick out of the seven little men and their joy of life.  In particular was their daily march off to work.  They sang as they strutted through the forest “Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it’s off to work we go!”  Arriving at the mine wasn’t the end of their enjoyment only the beginning.  While there they “whistled while they worked.”

Acting is work.  It is a job.  It is true that acting is an art, but who ever said that art wasn’t work?

For those of you interested in a career in acting, it is important to remember this.  Acting Continue reading

Know Thyself: How to Maximize Your Training

By Joy Farmer-Clary

One of the simplest and most profound ideas from the great Greek philosophers is from Socrates, who recommended that we “Know thyself.”  What phenomenal advice for us actors!

Knowing thyself is useful on many levels: we need to study our physical and vocal instruments, analyze our thoughts and feelings, and attempt to understand our motivations in our own lives.  Only in this way can we fully craft the complex lives of the characters whose stories we tell.

Unfortunately, many actors fail to apply knowing themselves to getting the most out of their training.

Let’s face it, training is expensive. When you are spending precious time and money on your training, how do you ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit from it?  Know thyself.

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Stay in the Ring: Keeping Inspired and Overcoming Procrastination

By Josh Adler

We are a nation of procrastinators, my friends.  Or maybe I’m the only one who avoids completing the most pressing task in any particular day by bouncing from one project to another.  My guess though is that most of us circle around a task that looms deep within our very beings as seemingly impossible.

This process has it’s own productiveness for me, however.   I seem to get everything else but that one little black spot finished: my house gets cleaned, I work out, follow up on correspondence, brainstorm for five other projects, even re-organize my dishes.  Yet, how can we pierce through the peripheral obligations and tackle the responsibilities that are often most essential to moving ahead in our careers? Continue reading

Objectives, Objectives, Objectives

It’s all about objectives. The first thing we learn in Acting 101 is that the most vital acting tool is the objective. Without an objective there is no theatre. There is no play, movie, or television show. The objective makes theatre possible.

So what exactly is an objective? An objective is what the character wants. Each character has a series of wants that connects to more important wants, that connects to the most important want. That most-important over-arching want is called a super-objective. Continue reading

Hitting the Brick Wall

I remember all too well the moment in my career when I seemed to have slammed into a professional brick wall.  It was more than uncomfortable, it was debilitating.

What I also remember was my survival instinct took over.  I loved my craft and refused to sacrifice myself on the altar of failure.  What did I do?

First I gave myself a week to indulge in all my negative feelings.  I wallowed in self pity.  I enjoyed this self indulgence primarily because I knew that at the end of the allotted week I would be denying all this feelings.

The beginning of the second week I asked myself the following questions:

What about my career was working?

What about my career wasn’t working?

What is it I need to do to make it work?

I then asked myself the most difficult question:

Am I content with my level of craft?

And, if not, why aren’t I doing something to increase my expertise?

I got a part time job as a bartender to pay for some new classes and enrolled with a teacher who I believed would support me in the areas I needed to grow.  In other words, I decided to strengthen my weaknesses.  It was during the second month of this incredible experience that I auditioned for and got a Broadway show.

During this same period, I changed representation and became more active in my career.  I got off my butt and became more active, more than any agent or manager could be, in my career.  I became current on everything happening in my business.  I told my new agent what was casting.  I sent out pictures and resumes.  I included a note that said I was sure my agent had submitted my picture, but in case it was lost in the mail, here was another. I wrote that I believed in their project and that a role in their production was worth fighting for.

My short message here is – do something.  I didn’t ignore my feelings.  I gave them their due.  Then I dug deeper, to what my true feelings were, and honored them.

From a strictly selfish point of view – I do not want to be deprived of your talent.  So for my sake, do something.