Sep. 21, 2017

ACTORS:" RELINQUISHING THE NEED TO PEOPLE PLEASE"

The nature of our business is to make people feel good inside as well as inspired. Our acting is an opportunity to show the world that we have something inside of us that is so great and so creative that it can make a difference in anyone's life who is exposed to it. Just thinking about that gets me excited and ready to go jump on someone's set. But, the most important thing to remember is that: WE ARE DOING IT FOR OURSELVES FIRST. You have to be your biggest fan. You have to be the individual who is self loved, self motivated, self accepting and self appreciating. Without that being the case we get into a dangerous spot. A spot that's geared on people pleasing.

I've always felt like as an actor it's a journey to self realization. The reason that I've put it that way is because we are one of the most exposed career paths out there. Not to mention, if you're famous or well-known, the stakes rise even higher. The reason this is the way that it is is because, subconsciously, people put actors on pedestals. If you're put on a pedestal, you have no room to mess up or in this case, let's be honest, be human. Or do we??

Enter: Relinquishing the need to people please! I would like to share something with you that most people might find arrogant or cocky, but it's the truth and it's going to help you focus on your ability to not need approval. To accept it, but not allow it to dictate your life. IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU AS THE ACTOR. WITHOUT YOU THERE IS NO WORLD TO BE CREATED, WITHOUT YOU THERE IS NO ONE TO LOOK UP TO AND WANT TO BE LIKE, WITHOUT YOU THE PROJECT WOULD MAKE NO MONEY, WITHOUT YOU THE PROJECT WOULD NOT HAVE A FACE! I could go on an on about this, but my objective is to inject so much confidence into you as a performer, that it slightly straddles the line of an arrogant swagger. Now, don't walk on set being an ass by any means. Im sure you know that, but it's important to know that because it is all about you as an actor, it's of the utmost importance that YOU BE AS PROFESSIONAL AS POSSIBLE. Take it upon yourself to have people constantly say that they enjoy working with you, but still be your own person.

One of the biggest factors I'm against people pleasing is because it just causes burnout. Half the time, in this industry, people will change their minds about so much that you just have to be ready. If you get so focused on getting a stamp of approval, you will burn out at a rapid pace. I had a friend who was an actor on a half hour sitcom back in the 90's. He was awesome during the time he was fortunate enough to appear. But there's an interesting story about him that went on behind the scenes. I'll let him tell you in his own words.

 

"I got on this show and wanted to do such a phenomenal job, I stressed myself out and almost missed my opportunity to work on this show. It was obvious that I was a people pleaser. I was surrounded by so many stars and big name producers that I wanted to be accepted by all of them. That extreme attachment to that need for approval nearly fried my ability to be creative. In addition to the format of the half hour show with all the re-writes, I started to doubt myself. It was all too much. I was about ready to walk into the showrunner's office and say that I couldn't do this, when the lead of the show had noticed that I had been off through out the entire process. This guy was a superstar and here he is approaching me and offering help. He said, "I know this format can be a brain spaz, but you just have to relax into it. You don't need approval from anyone. We all know you're good enough, because if you weren't, they wouldn't have cast you. So wipe that sweat off your forehead and get ready to do some blocking." This turned it around for me completely. I went from almost quitting to realizing that once I got over my nerves of winning the opinion of my peers and superiors, I had the most fun on a set that I've ever had. They called me back for a bunch of episodes that season, and it was all due to me giving up my need to be a people pleaser." 

Every time we meet up and I hear that story it just inspires me. It also helps me to know that when I focus my energy on the right things, I build the excitement of realizing why I became an actor. The focus should always be on BEING THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF AND THE MOST AUTHENTIC ACTOR POSSIBLE. The rest will take care of itself.

 

Cheers,

Shaun Grant