Posts in ‘The Conscious Actor’

The Conscious Actor

Aug 04

Bonnie

 Rejection Hurts :(

by Bonnie Katz, MA

Actors are very familiar with the feeling of hurt that comes from being rejected.  They deal with it on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, the pain of being rejected doesn’t fade with fame or success.  When someone says, “No, you’re not right for the part,” it never feels good, even if you’re Meryl Streep.  Knowing that rejection is the nature of the acting profession, actors must learn how to deal with it in order to stay resilient and survive.  In addition to career survival, it is important for your physical and mental survival as well.  There is evidence that rejection not only has a negative effect on your mental state, but on your physical state as well.  fMRIs’ (brain scans) show that the same areas of the brain becomes activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain.  In fact, a current research study showed that when people were given Tylenol before asking them to recall a painful rejection experience, those taking the Tylenol felt less emotional pain than those people given sugar pills.  Knowing the strong impact that rejection has on the body and mind, it is imperative that actors deal with it in a positive, productive way in order not to put their physical and mental health at risk. read all »

The Conscious Actor

Jul 01

Bonnie

by Bonnie Katz, MA

Are you capable of deep listening?

As actors, listening is key to being in the moment and reacting authentically while performing.  Actors who are skilled listeners deliver exciting, alive performances.  But, this essential quality may be difficult to access when you are caught up in the chatter of your own thoughts.  When your mind is filled with worry about the future, fretting about the past or overanalyzing the present, you are not available to take in what’s happening in the present moment. Getting caught up in the stories you are telling yourself does not allow you to deal with reality accurately.  If acting is reacting, exactly whom are you reacting to; yourself or your fellow actor?  You’re getting cheated out of a great acting experience if you can’t listen deeply.  And, you’re also cheating the audience.  We are not built to connect to fakers.  To connect to each other, we need the real deal to get our emotions stirred up. read all »

The Conscious Actor

Jun 05

Bonnie

 Throw Away Your Scripts!

by Bonnie Katz, MA

Are you living your life based on someone else’s script, or are you living your life with NO script?  It’s hard to follow your passion when you pay more attention to what you should be doing rather than what you want to be doing.  If the opinions of others are more important than your own, you will end up living someone else’s life. Choosing a career as an actor elicits lots of opinions from family and friends. They might think they’re doing you a huge favor by discouraging you from going into a profession that has a 1% success rate. Actors must find a way to courageously walk their own path. When people challenge your decisions, remember you are not obligated to do what everyone else is doing.

You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree. read all »

The Conscious Actor

May 01

Bonnie

YOU HAVE WHAT YOU NEED

by Bonnie Katz, MA

When New York Times Theatre Critic, Charles Isherwood critiques an actor’s performance and says, ”Less would have been more,” that has to hurt.  But if you can get past the pain of hearing those words and explore the cause of “overdoing” a performance, it’s rich with wisdom.  At the root of overdoing anything is the universal feeling of  “not being good enough just as you are.”  In fact, it’s your belief that you are not handsome, pretty, skinny, smart, rich, talented enough that will cause you more suffering than any words a critic may write about you.  Your negative self-beliefs not only get in the way of becoming a successful actor, they impede your ability to achieve happiness in every area of your life. read all »

The Conscious Actor

Mar 31

Bonnieby Bonnie Katz, MA

Feeding The Right Wolf

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you went on an audition, a welcoming committee was waiting to greet you with a nice beverage, a warm smile, and a kind word or two?  Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a big difference in how you feel about what you’re going through.  Life feels easier when you have a team behind you, cheering you on, and catching you when you fall down.
people

That team is called a “family.”  But, some people don’t have the kind of support they need as they go through life.  That makes life feel harder

As hard as you try, you can’t have a better past.  But you can create a better “present.”  The present moment is filled with choices.  Stay stuck in the past or start getting busy making your present better.  Here are 6 things that you can start to do right now to ease your way in the world:

read all »

The Conscious Actor

Mar 02

Bonnieby Bonnie Katz, MA

What’s Your Story?

Great stories help us make sense of the complex world we live in, and invite us to expand our understanding of it. Actors have been an integral part of storytelling for hundreds of years. A good story performed well, has the power to heal our pain by revealing the universality of our difficulties.  Knowing that everyone has problems helps us feel less isolated and ashamed.  A good film or play can give us the courage to open up and explore unknown territories within ourselves. Storytelling is a a miraculous phenomena that shows us a range of possibilities while making us feel more connected to each other.

Actors are an essential part of  storytelling.   If they are not 100% convincing in their roles, the audience won’t believe the story, and the magic cannot unfold.  In order to fulfill this important task, actors must have access to a full palette of emotions within themselves.  It requires courage and faith in oneself to reach down deep into murky, messy, vulnerable feelings and reveal them to the public.  Edgy, moving performances do not come from playing it safe.  Greatness is born out of risk-taking and valuing truth over vanity. read all »

The Conscious Actor

Feb 02

Bonnie

by Bonnie Katz, MA

What’s really stopping you?

Blame is dangerous.  While it may feel good to rant, rave and, complain about how unfair life is, ultimately it turns you into a victim.  Yes, I agree, life is unfair.  But the question is, what do you want to do about it? After you express your unhappy feelings to a compassionate ear, then what?

There are many things in life that are out of your control.  As actors, you deal with this dilemma on a daily basis.  Your future is based on people saying yes to you.  “Yes, you’re right for the part.”  “Yes, I would love to be your agent.” “Yes, you’re exactly what I’m looking for.”  Given these facts, it’s important that you build strength to handle the no’s.  You can build skills to handle difficulties so they don’t have a negative effect on your self-esteem.  Begin by making a firm decision that no one will ever determine how you think and feel about yourself.  That power is in your hands alone.

Here are some ways to take control of the reins and steer yourself in a healthy, happy, productive direction. read all »

The Conscious Actor

Jan 07

Bonnieby Bonnie Katz, MA

The new year is a great opportunity to wipe the slate clean and begin again.  Forge ahead in 2015, fearlessly trying new things.  Let go of old patterns that no longer serve you and view your life as an adventure to be savored every step of the way.  Begin with cutting-edge research to help transform your dream of becoming a successful actor into a reality.  To help set you in the right direction, I’ve compiled three important tips that are proven to help you become more efficient in attaining your goals.

overwork

Tip #1: Overworking makes you less productive.  In fact, research shows that relaxing, socializing and kindness is key to productivity.  Most people think the key to success is to work more, but that leads to feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and lonely.  According to former Harvard Psychology professor, Dan Wegner, “Too much concentration on set goals can lead to the exact opposite of the desired goal. In other words, you cannot have a positive mental state when working under conditions of stress.” read all »

The Conscious Actor

Dec 01

Bonnieby Bonnie Katz, MA

Make Sure Ed Doesn’t Spoil Your Holidays This Year!

The holidays signal a time to press the pause button as you reconnect with family and friends.  You’ve worked hard all year and are looking forward to kicking back and removing yourself from the rat race for a while.  Seasonal tunes stir up memories of holidays gone by. People are wishing each other good cheer and everything seems all right in the world.  How can something that wonderful end up feeling so miserable?  Well, you can blame Ed for that – Expectations and Disappointments.  When you have built up expectations,  you are setting yourself snowy cabinup for disappointment. Instead of biting the hook this year, try something new.  Embrace what’s right in front of you and stop chasing the dream of perfection.  It doesn’t exist. read all »

The Conscious Actor

Nov 05

Bonnieby Bonnie Katz, MA

How to Stay Real in an Unreal World. . .

Take your own garbage out.  You’re probably thinking uh oh, the Conscious Actor is slipping into unconsciousness with that one.  But hold on, before you pass judgment, hear me out.  The special challenges actors must deal with on a daily basis make them susceptible to losing sight of important values.  It’s important to remember what’s important in this business because temptations like power, wealth and fame, could easily transform you into a solipsistic nightmare.  In the whirlwind of ambition, qualities like integrity, honesty, generosity and kindness can get swept away.  You’ve got to constantly keep your values and narcissism in check so you don’t end up like Michael Keaton’s character in, “Birdman.”  He birdmanbeautifully portrays an actor who failed to balance the energy he put into building a successful career with building a successful personal life.  His heartlessness and blind ambition tore apart his family and ultimately alienated him from himself.  Strong values grounded in truth and whole-heartedness will always help you find your way home when life gets confusing. read all »