How personal growth and transformation can improve the acting industry.
I think the acting world is fascinating. We portray life by playing someone else’s life. Sometimes imaginary and sometimes real. Nevertheless, actors struggle to make their performance natural. We take classes to learn techniques, learn everything outside of us to learn to portray life. This is funny to me because we live life every day and that is exactly what acting is, and still most artists struggle. What I like about acting classes is that I get to do what I love to do. What I don’t like about most acting classes is that we learn all these tools that are outside of us to be better performers. I am a big believer that it is already everything inside of us. I recently spoke to the lovely lady Dee Wallace (E.T., Dolls, 9–1–1 and many more) she said she prepared for her characters through channeling the character. Look at her; she is successful, inspiring, and beautiful inside and out. I always thought that I must be good enough to be a great actor. But I ask myself how can I improve and be brilliant? I think I found the solution a lot of actors may not have thought of:
Develop yourself as a person and become great at life.
I reached out to a friend of mine a couple of months ago and he is a personal development coach. His name is Malcolm Nair CEO of Guided Intelligence. Some personal things in my life were draining me and I was not happy to live like that. If you live unhappily and feel drained your focus is just not where you want it to be and it shows in your results, I knew I needed a change and the best changes I made in my life were always by changing my perspective and my attitude. I was doing it on my own, progressing but slowly, which is fine but I like to quantum-leap. I set up a meeting with him to talk about some personal stuff. When I shared the situation with him he also saw that I struggled with anxiety. With tips and tricks that he shared with me and guided me with I was surprised that I got rid of my anxiety within 2 months and that was no problem wasn’t even the reason I contacted him. It blew my mind that I cured something within 2 months with him that I spent 4 years in therapy for (still going and still loving it). I got hooked and thought to myself if I can change something I struggled with for so long within a couple of weeks, I am curious as to what else I can improve and heal. What I realized was that my acting became better and better in the process. Without all the chatter and noise in my head, I am way more focused and ready to take action with clarity.
What I love about Malcolm Nair (CEO of Guided Intelligence) is that he is very transparent and direct. If he doesn’t know something he will research it until he knows. I always challenge him with questions and theories and we have an open and expanding discussion about it. Which I personally really like and enjoy because it makes me grow and see things from different perspectives. I really recommend Guided Intelligence because as actors we deal with a lot of rejection on an almost daily basis. I apply to every job that matches my description and my age and there is a lot of “No” coming back, a lot of “maybe next time” or not even an answer sometimes. If I have not been on a set for a long time I can start feeling myself crave to be on a set and that craving can trigger desperation inside an artist. At this stage, I really recommend being in classes that satisfy a lot of my needs and wants for the time being and also be accompanied by a mentor and coach. It makes the dry times very easy to master. Covid shut down all sets in Switzerland, from one day to the next there were no Commercials, no TV Series, no Movies and job security was becoming something I had to struggle with. It was very wonky for a lot of people and unfortunately, work from home was not an option that was given to actors. I saw that negative thoughts started to take over more than positive thoughts and it affected my instrument which is my body. Learning with Guided Intelligence I was working on my mind, body, and spirit and improving my whole experience. I was exploring my feelings and my own world. I realized that every time I did a character breakdown and was getting into a character I had to play next, it was so easy to connect to the emotions of the character because I have a very strong bond to my emotional world. Playing characters with difficult pasts, who have experienced violence and who are very broken are usually characters that challenge actors and can also be damaging to them if they don’t have the skills to guide themselves out of the dark place we as artists can sometimes get into for the sake of relating to the character. Getting in and out of character without damage was way easier with the mentorship and the personal growth sessions where I was working on myself and my mental health. I am so familiar with my brain and the way my mind works with stress and what makes me calm down that I actually feel very excited the more the character is challenging. I want to see where I can go and what I can reach as an actress. The freedom of knowing I can push myself as hard and as far as I want is a liberating feeling for an actress. Not having the mental stress if the movie is safe for me to play is a huge win as an artist because now I can take on any project I want to. With a mentor on my side as my coach I know I have a safety net and my support going into challenging projects. It is beautiful to know that you can represent any human that wants to be represented on TV and in stories. I think that is a game-changer for actors and I also think just like a choreograph and stunt doubles are necessary on action sets, personal development coaches should be necessary and mandatory on sets with challenging content. Challenging in the sense of Criminal Movies, Horror movies and movies and series where they tell stories of abuse, hurt, and murder. We should protect especially young children if they are intelligently guided through those fake scenarios, it won’t leave a negative imprint on them. Not only while filming a movie is important, but also the time after the movie is released is very significant. If the child doesn’t understand the severity of the Horror in the movie and the press asks them questions expecting perfect answers about the story it can put a lot of pressure on the kids and teens. That is what Linda Blair experienced right after the movie “The Exorcist’’ made her famous. She said in an interview: “When the movie came out, the amount of pressure that came down on me wasn’t anything I was prepared for. Especially all the pressure the press put on me” (Source: https://www.looper.com/178665/how-these-child-stars-feel-about-the-horror-movies-that-made-them-famous/?utm_campaign=clip)
I think working should be all about enjoying yourself, that is when you can perform the best. If it is in the office, as a doctor, lawyer, or an actress like me. If you are not fit for your job mentally it will show in the results and our work. I am a very strong believer in personal growth and I think it should be normalized and be provided on set, just to avoid any damage. If there are still bad experiences and emotional and mental damage coming from acting at least there is someone available and people can get help and the guidance that they need. If there is some personal damage and there I hope that this can help someone else and show them that baggage that you carry with you does not have to stay with you forever. It is easier if someone helps you to break it down and helps you with their strength, energy, and kindness to get through difficult times. I really think if actors focus on making themselves a better person in every area of their life it is inevitable to become a better actor, an efficient actor, and a happy actor.