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From Low to Pro


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I want to share a little slice of my journey and offer some nuggets of advice that have served me well personally and professionally.

I've been self-employed since I graduated from acting school in 2010. I worked constantly in theatre in London for a couple of years after that but didn't earn nearly enough to live, which is unheard of for an actor, right? Fast forward a couple of years and my move to Germany. I could not get my foot in the door with any directors or even other creatives. This definitely had to do with the small city I'd moved to (and since left). No outsiders thank you, especially talented ones, at least that's how it felt to me, boo-hoo.

So there I am. In a foreign country, zero grasp of the language yet and my acting career going nowhere. Oh, and my identity in crisis because WHO AM I WITHOUT MY WORK?! Without the constant flow of acting work, I had no characters to hide behind and I was really forced to take a good look at myself and peep beyond the blinkers I had on. What other paths could I maybe try treading?

I got into photography as a hobby and started working in a blues bar taking pictures of the bands. I started to make little art videos and started writing scripts. Terrible scripts, but I was doing something at least. These creative outlets woke me up again and I decided to move to Berlin where the action was. I will absolutely, definitely, undoubtably get lots of acting work there, said I. Two years and two bad short films later, I was back in crisis and my bank account was cobwebby and full of ghosts.

I vividly remember breaking down in tears one day, I was so sad, but I also felt some weight fall away as I just allowed myself to surrender to the situation instead of resisting it. “Something will turn up.” That something was a someone. Bob from way beyond the pond in America. He became my life/career coach for the next year and became my friend. Bob is also insanely talented, creative, playful and does voiceover amongst other things. “Why on EARTH are you not using that voice of yours?”, said Bob. Bob was one of the major catalysts for positive change in my life. He completely changed my way of thinking, taught me how to work with life instead of against it, and gave me the confidence to start moving again without the need to know every how and detail along the way.

Fast forward again. I've gone from selling $5 voice gigs on Fiverr to a top rated Pro seller. I got my Pro badge just over a week ago. I developed workshops and took them to Heineken and the University of the Arts in London to coach people on how to use acting and voice techniques to improve their communication and build their confidence. And I'm a few days away from writing The End on draft one of a television pilot. I'm more fulfilled than I've ever been and I can afford to live! I still miss acting but I've stopped beating it with a big stick, the right projects will come if they're supposed to.

So what are some of the personal lessons I've finally learned?

Being a victim and feeling sorry for yourself is OK for a day or two, but it gets you nowhere in the long run. I mourn professional or creative losses but move on quickly.

Hindsight in a wonderful thing. I trust the timing of the events in my life. I no longer tell myself “But it wasn't supposed to happen this way.” Whatever opportunities show up, I follow them because it usually turns out to be just what the doctor ordered.

No matter how much I love it, my work is what I DO, it is not who I AM.

I don't obsess about hurdles or competition. I focus on myself. I can have my slice of the cake and I don't need to be like everyone else.

You have to suck at something before you can be good at it. I'm really proud of myself for getting to the end of a pilot draft because I had to chain myself to the desk every day and let go of perfectionism and comparison. I suppose this is a privileged problem to have. So what. Is it a perfect script? No, but it's a million times better than everything else I've written.

Life is full of serendipities that come along to support you. But you have to get off your a*se and do your part. Good things come to those who wait? Na. Good things come to those who take action and have trust and patience.

As the great Steven Pressfield wrote “Resistance is always lying and always full of sh*t.” Fear and resistance don't go away but they can be moved through. Something great usually waits for you on the other side.

Be kind but don't be a doormat.

Your success and happiness may trigger some folks in your life. That's their baggage, not yours. Some will take your confidence for arrogance. So what. Keep your own and your attitude in check and practice letting go of the need for approval.

Never make assumptions about people, their motivations or their backgrounds.

Being on the forum for 5 hours a day doesn't get you orders.

That's it! All the best to every one of you.

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11 hours ago, leannelrivers said:

I don't obsess about hurdles or competition. I focus on myself. I can have my slice of the cake and I don't need to be like everyone else.

I think this phrase is the summary of the road to success. Thanks for sharing your story with us! ☺️

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