You may find these letters a bit annoying to read. But I am at present reading “Letters to a Young Poet” by R. M. Rilke and for the fun of writing have decided to the write the next few posts in a meandering wordy style. I implore your forgiveness in this age of efficient targeted messages. I must confess that as I working actor I can not tell you if you are any good. Nor can I tell you how to be a success. All I can do is share with you my experience in the hopes that perhaps something I have learned will be in some way of some benefit to your future goals. As every actor is a unique individual with a very personal practice and path to success what is factually true for myself will be categorically false for others. So if you find that something I have writing strikes you as complete and utter bull shit trust your instincts just as you should trust your instincts if you feel something rings true for you. In the end you must be the final judge. Enclosed are the statements I would give to my younger self knowing the roads I have traveled and the path that has brought me to the position of ambition and contentment I now occupy.
As Rilke advised the young poet. Ask yourself if you must act. Find some quiet time where you can be alone. Quiet your mind and stop all the thoughts of the day-to-day hustle and buzzing. Look deep in to yourself and ask if you must act. Ask if it is need deep within you that must be fulfilled. Ask if it is a part of your very being as necessary for survival as your, heart, lungs and breath. If you’re answer is a resounding “Yes” then go forward in your endeavors with enthusiasm. You need not know this answer for life in the moment. The first 7 years of my acting on the same date every June, I asked myself if I wanted to do this for one more year. Every June my answer was “yes”. In time I stopped asking as I now know this is not just my career but my way of life. So dear actor answer for yourself, and no one else do you need this way of life? Look within, Look deep and find your true answer.
The year before last I decided to change how I showed up in my career. I want to be seen as an actor worth leading roles in meaningful projects. I’ve been pretty successful but I want more challenging parts. I’ve been working toward that goal since then. Getting more training, and putting it to the test. And believing I am ready for the roles that I really want instead of my old mindset of “I’ll take anything I’m offered.” The other day I was on set with a friend and we were catching up about what we’d been working on. I described my recent project The Van Meder Trust, a play about identity, family loyalty and racial bias, and A Member of the Wedding, a play about adolescence, love, homosexuality and isolation. After I described them she told me she really liked that I was working on projects about issues we’re still working through today. It was one of the nicest things anyone said to me. It also makes me feel like I am moving in the right direction as far as how I want to be seen