Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Monday, August 6, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
As seen in Back Stage, January 6, 2012
Ah, January… the time to get to work on your New Year’s resolutions. A clean slate. Excitement in the air!
Have you ever noticed that some of the same New Year’s resolutions are on the list every year? And, along with the excitement and possibility of the New Year you wonder, what makes this year different? Will I really be able to accomplish these goals?
This year can be different! Read on for pitfalls to avoid, and the five keys to success…
The top three reasons that New Year’s resolutions fail:
- The resolution is in the “impossible” realm.
Often we articulate goals that are literally impossible in the time frame we are giving them. It’s important to note that no goal is impossible, rather, it might not be possible in the time allotted. When we do this, we doom ourselves to failure from the outset. Usually, we know this subconsciously, so we don’t give our goal our all, which also leads to failure.
- We have no structure in place to support us.
Accomplishments happen in structures. Think about it. The gym is a structure for the accomplishment of fitness. Acting class is a structure for the accomplishment of acting skills. Why would our New Year’s resolutions be any different?
- We have no concrete plan for accomplishing it.
All successful businesses have a business plan. Even if a fluke idea becomes successful, the business must have a plan for capitalizing on that success. That said, you don’t want your year to be a fluke! Your resolutions are the goals you are dedicating yourself to. So, you need to have a business plan for your acting career, a.k.a. your business.
The top five keys for accomplishing our New Year’s resolutions:
- Identify a goal that is not impossible, not predictable, but a “breakthrough.”
We’ve already talked about how an inaccurate timeframe could make a goal “impossible.” “Predictable” is a version of a goal you’ve already done before. Goals are most powerful when articulated in between impossible and predictable, the “sweet spot” that is a “breakthrough.”
- Put a structure in place for accomplishing the goal.
Now that we understand why a structure is important, make sure to join or create one! You could join a career coaching class, or put together a group of dedicated “accountability buddies” that you meet with once a week. A word of caution in putting together your own group: Be selective! Choose people that really share your commitment, are accountable and truly supportive. Also, put some “structure” in your structure. A group of friends can quickly become a gossip-fest if your time isn’t well-structured.
- Enroll a team to support you, advise you, and hold you accountable.
Nothing of any scope or magnitude in life happens alone. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto, and they both had horses! In addition to accountability partners, you need to work with your representation as a team, you need a mentor (or two), a coach, and the support of your significant other.
- Develop a plan that includes a timeline with deadlines and milestones.
Now that we understand how important a business plan is, create one! Your plan should include your goal, a timeline, and an action plan. Share it with your team to get their feedback.
- See it and share it everyday.
Print out your goal and post it in places where you see it often-- your workspace, computer desktop, even your car. The more you see it in writing and put it out into the world, the more you will see it in your life.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
This Holiday, Give the Gift of Acknowledgment
Have you ever thought something nice about someone but didn't tell them? Whether they are a close family member or an acquaintance at work, acknowledgment is direct access from one heart to another. Yes, that can be scary, and perhaps even seems easier left unsaid.
But don't be fooled! Acknowledgment is actually a gift you give to another and, in turn, yourself. And the more you do it, the more fun and easy it becomes. The next time you have a thought like this, speak up, and tell the other person what you appreciate about them. Acknowledge them with no attachment to how they respond.
The gift of acknowledgment is magical. You'll feel a new sense of affinity and love, which is really what the holidays are all about!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Often when we coach clients a big concern is, “ I need an agent!” or “I need a better agent" or "I’m not getting out enough.” For those of us who are actors, or work with actors, how many times have we heard this?
However legitimate this concern is, at Strategy Coaching we like to follow the 10% commission rule. What do we mean by this? It means that as talent, we are responsible for 90% of the work that goes into booking. Our representation is responsible for 10%. This includes getting our own auditions and meetings with decision makers. That being said, how does one do this in the most powerful way?
The expression “It’s who you know” is thrown around this business more than Tyra Banks’ hair on America’s Next Top Model. The truth of the matter is that relationships are very important. With this in mind, how does one make requests of the people you know to generate the results you desire? There’s the rub. It’s one thing to know people. It’s another to enroll them powerfully in supporting you in achieving your goals.
To this end, we interviewed Michelle DeLynn, an accomplished actress in Strategy for Actors & Filmmakers, Strategy Coaching’s on-going, monthly workshop. We discussed Michelle’s process in securing an audition and booking her co-star role on the series finale of Showtime’s, The United States of Tara-- all without representation!
Strategy Coaching: So Michelle, tell us how long you have been pursuing acting in Los Angeles?
Michelle DeLynn: My family and I moved here from Ohio sixteen years ago, but I have only been ferociously pursing acting for the last five years. Since I was a kid, I always knew that acting was what I wanted to pursue professionally. But, because of a lot of fear, I didn’t commit to it fully until about five years ago.
SC: What was the first “big win” that you had that told you you were in the right profession?
MD: It was booking my supporting role in Flags of Our Fathers. It was that win and being on set with Clint Eastwood. He’s always been a favorite for his reputation as a director and his interest in Michael Chekhov. Being flown to Washington D.C., Chicago and shooting here in LA with “the boss,” his incredible crew and actors such as Ryan Phillipe was inspiring. For them this is their life, film after film and new experiences like these. I realized this is what I wanted for my life too. Never had I felt so much joy!
SC: How did you book Flags of Our Fathers?
MD: I booked that on my own as well. I heard about the project through a friend of a friend who was a part of the project. I made a call to my friend and asked, “Can you help?” (Michelle shares how she did this below.)
SC: When you heard about Flags of Our Fathers, was it something you were passionate about?
MD: Yes, it took place in the 30’s and 40’s, an era that has always spoken to me. It was with Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg who were always on my dream list of directors I wanted to work with, and required travel over three months. It seemed like it would be a dream come true.
SC: So it sounds like, you heard about a project that you thought you were perfect for because the time period was relatable, the content was important to you and the director was ideal. Do you think these factors contributed to your confidence when making the request for your friend to make a call for you, to get the audition?
MD: Oh, yes. When you hear about something that is everything you have ever dreamed of, it doesn’t matter how scared you feel. A coach of mine once said, “if you don’t ask, it’s already a no. So just ask!” I was so passionate about the project. I had researched the story so well, I wasn’t afraid to ask to be a part of the project. I already felt a part of it and was really excited. I read James Bradley’s book, contacted him, he put me in touch with his mother who I’d be playing. The fear goes away when you are passionate about something. By the time I walked into the audition, I was the character and it must have come across to the producers.
SC: So after this big win, how do you continue to get work? Did you get an agent?
MD: Well, I tried. I think, not as powerfully as I could. I didn’t have any support around moving forward. No accountability around my “plan.” The next 3 years after that were a bit dry. Then a year ago, I became a member of Strategy for Actors & Filmmakers and began to learn and use the tools to support my actions.
SC: So, let’s talk about how things changed and how you got your audition and then booking for United States of Tara?
MD: This is fun, because it is all part of the coaching that I received from Strategy Coaching. Getting clear about my goals, organizing my Map of Relationships and learning how to powerfully ask for what I wanted from the people I knew all served to get me the audition. All the support that I get from my accountability partner and the group gave me the confidence to make requests.
A role came up on the breakdowns for U.S. of Tara which I thought was perfect for me. I emailed a friend who works on the show and requested she make a call to casting to get me in. She couldn’t help on the first one but the next time I asked she got me straight to Producer’s. I didn’t get the role. Soon after, I saw another role for Pushing Daisies that was right for me also cast by Cami Patton. I called another writer friend of mine and asked if they could make a call to casting to see if they would see me. They made the call and I got in the audition. Again, didn’t get the role. Soon after that I got a call directly from Cami Patton’s office that I had another audition for U.S. of Tara; a one line co-star role. This was my third audition with this office. As always, I had a call with my accountability partner before the audition and got the support I needed. Again, didn’t get the role. A month or so later got another call from Cami Patton’s office, for a larger role and in the season finale. I decided I was going to go in and just honor the work, not stay attached to the results. Shortly after, I got a call that I was booked! I was ecstatic-- excited also to learn I had been chosen by the director and not because of my friend on the show. Although, I am so grateful for her help and pivotal role in establishing new relationships.
SC: What insights do you have through this experience that you can share with our audience?
MD: Don’t give up! It was the fourth time I went in to the same casting office before I got a role. I had to make at least four different requests to my contacts to get me in the auditions-- but don’t be afraid to ask. Keep in authentic relationship with the people that you meet that can help you in the future. And most importantly, get an accountability partner and put yourself in a class like Strategy for Actors & Filmmakers, where you are actively working on developing your skills of relationship building and getting the support to keep going!
To close, Michelle utilized four key components in her process.
First, she nurtured her map of relationships so that she had someone to call when she saw a role that was right for her.
Second, she boldly made the phone call with a powerful and appropriate request.
Third, she was prepared and did great work.
Fourth, she didn’t let herself get discouraged. She continued to get up to bat even after three auditions did not yield a booking. She made use of a structure for fulfillment, which supported her through a series of rejections so that she could continue to play the game powerfully and book a great role!
---Michelle DeLynn was born in Columbus, Ohio to veterinarian parents, and raised in Canton. An animal lover, she grew up on a thoroughbred horse farm. Currently she is enjoying life in Los Angeles, her love of acting, riding her horse, and traveling around the world. She is fan of Michael Chekhov and Chekhov training as it combines great acting technique and spirituality. Michelle is incredibly grateful for her good fortune and the amazing support of family and friends. "I'm looking forward to doing more and more meaningful films that shoot around the world, especially those that recreate history to educate and uplift.” MichelleDelynn.com
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Wednesday, I woke up early after having a wonderful meal of Japanese food the night before. Unfortunately, the salt from the soy left me feeling a little bloated and my face a bit puffy. I commented to my boyfriend, “Thank God I don’t have an audition today!” Well, that must have been the trigger. I went to my cell phone and sure enough my agent had called 20 minutes prior with a message that I had an audition later that day. Not only was it an audition, but a really important one, the kind you pray your agent calls you for.
The audition required a lot of preparation. They wanted a cooking demonstration, a fully developed introduction and told me to come prepared for interview questions from the producers.
All sorts of voices filled my head. “There is no way you can prepare in time”, “Surely my agent can reschedule”, “Oh, my face, I’m so puffy!”, “Do I really want to drive to the valley in traffic hours?”; “I probably won’t book it anyway”. Here I was trying to talk myself out of an amazing opportunity! I got my agent on the phone and my stronger self came out. “Yes, can’t wait, I’ll be there at 3:30pm.
I raced home and because I only had 3 hours to prepare, I didn’t have time to second guess myself. I trusted my instincts on what to cook, what to wear and even decided to use my puffy face as good comedic material in the audition.
I got to the audition early and entered the room with a “nothing to lose” attitude. The audition couldn’t have gone better! I was in the flow. After my audition, the Casting Director said she thought I’d be perfect for the job and would be touch. Who knows what will happen, but whatever the outcome, I left feeling fantastic and invigorated.
I knew that the spontaneity of the audition combined with my powerful action of going when I didn’t really want to, were the key ingredients to my success.
Always trust the process and remember; if you are always in a state of “preparation” with your craft, when you meet opportunity, you will find “LUCK!”