Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Next Level

Have you ever been riding a bike and realized that you were pedaling with a little too much ease and comfort? You recognize that it’s time to move up to the next gear. So you shift. Right away, the pedaling becomes much harder and the wheels start to grind. The muscles in your legs ignite as you push through the resistance, trying to get the gear to settle, but it seems to keep fighting you. Your mind starts to wonder if you should have stayed at the lower gear. It was easy, you were moving along just fine. Perhaps this level is too much for you to handle. But you keep pedaling in spite of the struggle. The gears keep resisting as your brain madly searches for a solution. Then it happens…


What an incredible feeling. The pieces fall into place. The gear starts working like it’s supposed to. Your breath calms as your muscles adjust to the new momentum. You start to feel more relaxed and the joy of the ride returns. Then you look around, and notice you’re traveling twice as fast as you were before… and it feels magnificent.

I couple months ago, I decided to shift to the next gear in my acting craft. You see, I had gotten comfortable. I was good and fundamentally well-trained. I was a strong auditioner with significant callback and booking ratios. But I knew there was another level to be reached. I knew I had more potential, and frankly, despite a decent amount of success, I knew I could do better. I just needed to figure out how to get there. I was committed to elevating myself from a successful amateur to a competitive professional.

I worked endless hours, on my own and with other actors I respect, trying to figure out exactly what was blocking me from unlocking the wealth of talent I knew was beneath the surface. I searched for a new coach who could help guide me to the next level. I audited countless classes, and even enrolled in a few only to realize that they weren’t what I was looking for. I was frustrated with the battle between my desire to work incredibly hard and my overwhelming confusion with “At what?”

Damn those gears were grinding, my muscles burning and my eyes stinging with the tears of frustration. But in the last few weeks, I did find the class I was looking for, and I’ve settled into training with a new coach. Then it happened.


I pick up a script differently. I listen differently. I feel scenes differently. I act differently. That gear has finally clicked into place and my momentum is gaining.

This week, my new coach said, “You’re a totally different actress than when you walked in here a few weeks ago. You’ve come alive. Your fear is gone. It’s amazing.”

Damn, it feels good. It has taken a lot, and I still have much to learn at this gear… but it’s finally clicking. Can’t wait to see where this ride takes me…

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