Practicing Your Craft

“If you get a chance to act in a room that somebody else has paid rent for, then you’re given a free chance to practice your craft.” -Philipp Seymour Hoffman

“I had this cognition that I realized I was going into auditions, trying to get a job. And that simply wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing.  An actor is supposed to create a compelling, interesting character, that serves the text. You present it in the environment where your audition happens. And then you walk away. And that’s it. Everything else is out of your control. Don’t even think about it. Don’t focus on that.  You’re not going there to get a job. You are going there to present what you do. You act. And there it is. And walk away.  And there’s power in that. And there’s confidence in that. And it’s also saying, I can only do so much. And then, the decision of who might get a job is so out of your control, that, really when you analyze it, it makes no sense to hold onto that.  That, to me, was a breakthrough. And, once I adopted that philosophy, I never looked back. And I’ve never been busier in my life, than once I grabbed onto that. That’s it!” -Bryan Cranston

How much time today can you spend practicing your craft? Actually doing the work rather than thinking or talking about the work.

For everything that happens during the day, look for ways to turn it into deliberate practice.

For example, if you’re an actor and fortunate enough to get an audition, be grateful as it’s a wonderful chance to practice your craft. Learning lines. Breaking the script into beats. Trying out different actions. Etc…And then when you go into the room, it’s not an audition. It’s five minutes to play the part in front of an audience. Even if you’re just a helping a friend with a self tape and reading lines opposite them, that’s time practicing your craft.

One of the great things I love about our Vs. Studio Solo Workshop is how much time people actually write. Our instructor Paul Stein does a wonderful job curating different writing exercises. At the end of each class, he reminds people how much time “they wrote today.” Which in turn, inspires them to write more pages during the week.

This is also why I recommend having an anchor project at all times. It focuses you. You can feel good that no matter how hectic the day was, how harried you were, at least you spent a few minutes doing meaningful work. Something you are passionate about.

More making. Less consuming. Drip by drip, it all adds up.

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