If you’re working on your acting career, it’s likely you’re in the growth phase of your career. Maybe you get booked all the time, and maybe you haven’t been booked yet. Does your family take you seriously? Do they ask you questions or disapprove?
If you are like most growing actors, it’s likely that you have both your crowd of cheering supporters, as well as your family critics. If that’s the case, the holidays can be daunting. But it’s not fair to you or those that love you, to pass on these holiday gatherings just because others don’t ‘get’ you.
Rather, we at the New York Acting School for Film and Television want to leave you with a few tips and tricks to holding ‘honorable’ character at a time when it’s especially challenging.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. I know you’ve heard it before, but in the grand scheme of things, does the issue at hand really matter? Conversations are going to come up that irk you, but there’s a good chance that in the big picture, the situation isn’t life altering or going to make or break your life. Set it aside. Enjoy the ride.
See past the exterior. Many times, things bug us simply because we’re focused on what we see. Many times this has to do with clothing, hair cut or color and even lifestyle choices. But under the seen, there is a real person worthy of love; regardless of your opinions. If they were suddenly struck with a life threatening illness, would your feelings about their choices matter so much, or would you savor the time you have?
Underlying causes. All isn’t as it seems. When people act angry or argumentative, there’s often something deeper going on inside them. Perhaps their job or family life is wearing on them … or they’re just unhappy. Be loving to them. Inspire them.
It’s not your duty. Inspire, but don’t feel like you have to fix or heal. As much as you’d like to see your family push through a challenge or grow, you can’t do it for them. Nor can you lecture them enough to see it your way. Be honest, give advice when asked, but more importantly, be an example. (Can’t be an example? Well, then you are the first person to work on, right?)
Be ready. You’re going to be asked questions, no doubt. So why not take on an answer that everyone can swallow? Whether you are being booked or not, you can always be sure to exude the perspective of “just glad to gain the experience”. Talk about the people you’ve met, what you’ve learned and how good you feel. Tell them you know it’s a patient growth process and you’re thankful for all the people that have been supportive of you following your dream. It’s ok if there are only 2 people truly supportive, you are still thankful and you’re setting the norm standard for your listener.
Small portions. If, in spite of the above, there are still people that are difficult to be around, love in small portions. No one said you need to spend the whole time with one person. Spend a little time, ask a few questions, show love and move on. You aren’t asked to be a martyr.
Know your home. Yes, some people will bother and annoy you. You’ll wonder how you ended up so sane in a family of crazy people. Oh well. We’ve all been there. Know who you do relate to and enjoy those even more.
Boundaries. Be honest with yourself. If there are people in your family or friends circle that are unhealthy and out of control in their addiction, anger or such, it’s ok to pass on the festivities if that’s what’s necessary. Be sure you’re doing it out of respect for yourself and others and not just judgement.
Be sober. Yes, maybe this one’s hard, but so helpful. When we lose sobriety, it’s easier to take things personally, be emotional or let things be what they don’t need to be. Be aware of your intake and if it’s hard to control, choose to go without. It’s not worth it.
At the New York Acting School for Film and Television, we love to teach you the skills you need to be a successful actor or actress through our classes and coaching provisions. We hope you have a happy holiday season and continue to grow in leaps and bounds!