By Chelsea Moss (Actor Therapy Student since 2015)
As actors (and more importantly, humans), we often find ourselves in situations that take us far outside our comfort zones, and prey on our most intimate of vulnerabilities.
In one day, we can go through a myriad of anxiety riddling thoughts… “Was I good enough in that audition?” “Did they like me?” “Am I what they’re looking for?” “Where is my next job?” “Where is my next paycheck?” Are all real, actual thoughts that have crossed my mind literally in just a few short hours while sitting here at good ole Ripley 520.
Needless to say, being an actor is not always the best fit for a Type A control freak.
If you know me, you know that I’m a certain type of person. I am organized, I am neat, and I am ALWAYS RIGHT GODDAMNIT! I’m also the first person to tell you how hard pursuing a career in the arts can be. After spending four years in college thinking I would go to law school and earn a comfortable living for myself, I listened to my heart, made a complete 180 and headed to NYC.
And while I’m still grateful to be here, and know in my heart of hearts it’s where I belong, MAN was it an adjustment! I have cried on the subway so many times, I’m shocked that the 1 train hasn’t flooded from my tears.
I have cursed being an actor, I have cursed this industry, and I have cursed myself for wanting to be a part of it. In a weird way, however, I gotta say that being an actor has actually HELPED me, helped my mental health, and I’m sure helped the people who have to deal with me on a daily basis. Here are a few lessons this crazy journey has given me.
1. RELINQUISH YOUR CONTROL.
I am a control freak. I want everything to be just so, exactly how I want it, no questions asked. And I’m not even sorry about it. But guess what- I literally have ZERO control over SO MANY THINGS in this career! Did I nail that audition? Maybe! Could I play the part? Sure! Will they cast me? Nope! And there’s nothing I can do about it. So just make like Elsa and let that shit GO! Once you do, it’s liberating.
2. STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT.
So many of us have these idealized notions that if we can just belt to the high E while doing triple pirouettes, crying real tears and ending with our best cooter slam, we will be enough. At the end of the day, perfection is just impossible. No matter how many times you work a song, there will ALWAYS be something new to improve on. No matter how many times you walk into that ballet class, you will find a part of your technique that needs some work. As actors, we get interested and excited about a character’s imperfections when we work a scene or dig into a role… Why can’t we embrace our own as well!?
3. ALWAYS BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE.
Yep. Had a vacation planned for months? Can’t wait to get away from the city for a few days? Got a wedding next Friday you absolutely CANNOT miss? Cool, cool, cool. Guess what— you’ll have an important audition, a last minute booking, or a life changing performance come up during all those commitments. It NEVER. FAILS.
It will crush your soul every time… “I planned this! How could this happen!?” GET OVER IT. Just buy the insurance and enjoy how spontaneous life can be.
4. THINK ABOUT GIVING UP.
Ever thought, “Wow, I don’t know if I can do this anymore…” which then led into “…Wow, did I just think that? I just thought about giving up, do I really want this as badly as I should want this? I bet that girl has never wanted to give up. Does this mean I’m not meant to be an actor? Am I never going to be successful? WHAT IS HAPPENING?”
Yeah, same. But we all think these thoughts from time to time, I’m learning. It’s normal to wonder if we’re on the right path, especially when the big wins seem few and far between. Sitting in it, letting the feeling wash over you, and picking yourself up (WHEN YOU’RE READY) all seem to be a part of this adventure, so don’t be afraid of your uncertainty.
5. WE AREN’T SPECIAL.
This one is my favorite. Stolen from our beloved Sierra Boggess, it’s important to remember that whatever we may be feeling- post audition blues, anxiety over self worth, stress about what’s next- we ALL feel these stressors.
We aren’t special or unique in feeling this way, it’s something we all experience at one time or another. Which means that we have a built in support system, right here, within ourselves. Get in class, sit down, and look to either side of you.
Your fears? They get ‘em. You aren’t alone.
So, for all you fellow type A-ers out there, keep buying your planners, keep cleaning your apartment and keep filing your emails, but just know: If you’re in this acting thing for the long haul, you may have to buckle up and enjoy the ride… because the acting gods are most DEFINITELY type B.
Chelsea Moss is an NYC based Actor, Singer and Dancer. She currently teaches at Broadway Dance Center in the Children and Teen Program. She also works closely with Lindsay Mendez and Ryan Scott Oliver as the managing director of their successful acting studio Actor Therapy. She has performed in such celebrated venues as Symphony Space, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, 54 Below, Ellis Island, and more. In addition, she studied as a lyricist with the BMI Workshop, and trains at the Esper Studio (both located in NYC). Chelsea is represented by Across The Board Talent Agency.