“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” ― Jordan Belfort

So true guys. We, and our methods of motivation and determination, is what either keeps us from touching the stars or aids us in our journey. It’s so important to have something- e.g. a belief or a goal- a reason that keeps us going. If you are doing something, or pursuing a career, or are defending a person or situation that doesn’t motivate you, then there is no passion in what you are doing. I believe that half of our motivation must come from the want to do what we are doing. If we don’t want it, then we cannot be motivated to succeed in it.

a  Don’t ever let your motivation be determined by what other people think, you can be anything…everything! (if you haven’t guessed it yet, I really like using pictures in my blog to express my overall topic of discussion).

b I have always been a person whose had to make things happen for myself, whether that be by practicing really hard so that someone will notice, or literally making that person notice by going out and grabbing what I want. My motivation comes from the fact that I don’t have much, I never really did. I’ve always worked hard, I’ve always felt tired, or exhausted, like I was pulling through only to realize that the finish line has been pulled back. I’m not wallowing in self pity, I know there are other people just like me, and people with plenty who have to try just as hard: acting is not a cookie cutter career and if you’re looking for handouts this isn’t the career for you. However, that desire to not only pursue my dream, but be successful enough to have what I was never given as a child, that’s what keeps me going. I want to be in film. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been brought up on theater: on backstage changes and bobby pins pulling too tight. I just think film is what I really want to pursue.

Another thing that motivates me is how many times I’ve been brought down about my career choice. I’m sure all my fellow actors can say that they’ve heard their fair share of “that’s not practical” or “you want to be a starving artist?” to the point where we all want to pull our hair out. YES! I want to act, I want to entertain. It that means small studio apartment with the toilet in the kitchen and the bed in the closet, so be it. If that means a mac and cheese diet for months, so be it. If that means riding the subway takes up more of my day than actually doing anything else, then so be it, because I love what I do. The people that keep telling me how hard it is, or how I’m never going to make it are the people that I want to prove wrong. Of course, I don’t just base my career off of the revenge of getting back at someone else, that would be false passion. But the look on their faces when they see me succeeding is motivation enough.

c This picture pretty much says it all. I try to put my whole being into everything I do. Each picture in this excerpt is motivation for me. The wise words of someone before who knows how it goes. All I need is passion in my heart and proof that it’s possible to fuel my fire. Peace and Love. -Amanda 🙂

“He who undervalues himself is justly undervalued by others.” -William Hazlitt

That’s just it folks. I value myself, and I make sure that I know my worth and that I hold myself to my own standards. I’ve never been one for belief, I mean I’m very spiritual so all that I do and value I do more for my soul than my physical being. I believe that keeping my inner self healthy and happy keeps my outer self up to par. If I do come off as having a belief by things that I do or say, then I leave you with this quote:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

In myself and others I value the common sense sort of things: honestly, kindness, ingenuity, acceptance, accountability- basically I value an extraordinary person, at heart. At least good people. I have a strong belief that I took on through playing Mother in Agnes of God by  John Pielmeier. It quotes, “Good people, yes. But extraordinary good people? I’m afraid those are hard to find these days”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no pessimist, It’s just hard to value some people today.

values In a partner, however, I value a many things. I am speaking about a work partner, in the field of acting, of course. I value adaptability. They have to be able change, they have to be willing to change, and they have to be able to recognize that, if the change isn’t what they want but is happening anyway, they have to leave their feelings at the door and let the moment captivate them. I understand the values of others- i.e. if someone is a very firm believer in Christianity and therefore does not want to do any sinful or tasteless plays because of it. I actually value their firm beliefs and their values. However, I do not value this characteristic if, and only if, it is within the character playing opposite me. I value courage in an acting partner, and trust as well as an open mind. I very rarely have values so strong that they stop me from doing/ accomplishing a character. By that I mean under topics of religion or sex. With theater, the character I play does not determine the person I am, that’s why it’s called acting. You play who you play, love them for everything they are or are not and, at the end of the day, let them go because they aren’t you. It takes a strong mind and soul to be an actor/ actress, to not get sucked into the characters we play.

Let me reiterate myself, I value my mind, I value my soul, I value myself. I will always value someone who accepts and respects my values as an individual as I will accept and respect others values. 🙂

“And where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work ethic. You know, while the other guy’s sleeping? I’m working” -Will Smith

hard-work-quotes-300x240      All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, I know. I firmly believe in getting things done, so it’s more like, all work until the work is all done, and then we can play. Like the title of today’s blog, I excel on my work ethic. I’ve always put aside my social life and my entertainment for my passion in acting. With my lines, I like to make sure that I have them all memorized, with no sort of character inflection yet, before rehearsal even starts- or about a week before a class performance date. Then I work on the characterization. I always research first, and then I dig deep into my life and fine a commonality that I can add to the character making it more personal. From there, I let whatever happens naturally take it’s course. I never let my personal life and/or emotions get in the way of the truth in the character. I do relaxation exercised to rid my body of any stress throughout the day before rehearsal so that I don’t let any unaffiliated drama into my character’s life. Like the first reading said, I exercise daily. While exercising I control my breathing and it is one of the few instances where I can think and come up with new ideas- the adrenaline gets my brain pumping. I make sure to practice in quiet places every time so that I am not distracted. Sometimes, if people are around, i’ll subconsciously get embarrassed to do things that I would normally do alone, and it really limits my exploration on my character and blocks my creativity flow. When I feel my piece is stable, I perform for several, and different, groups of friends. This allows me to get a variety of feedback from not only theater majors, but non theater majors. I feel the best advice comes from those who know nothing about theater. If you can move and make a person understand your character that isn’t head over heals involved in any type of theater, its a huge accomplishment in my eyes.

genetics2   They key to constructive criticism is to know that the person criticizing you is only trying to help, not harm. Don’t get me wrong, some people suck at this aspect of performance, and so we have to bear with them and maybe teach them a thing or two. However, never let someones criticism discourage you, or cause you to have actor’s block- the inability to grow with your character because you’re constantly worried that its wrong. If, at a point, my practice is becoming pointless, or I’m practicing but getting nowhere, I nap! Napping is part of my work ethic too. I don’t play but napping is okay! Sleep rejuvenates my mind, and sometimes while I sleep I dream of things that I can’t even think of when I am awake. That’s the power of the subconscious mind, our most inner thoughts, thoughts that we are capable of thinking but incapable of attaining, are set free once we close our eyes. Like the 2nd reading said, reduce stress. If you are stressed out, maybe do some relaxing exercises, or sleep.

persistence-300x261   “never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game” -Babe Ruth. If you, and only you, feel as if you’ve failed at accomplishing the character you wanted, then don’t give up, try harder. Set new goals, bigger goals, more challenging goals, as said in reading 2. That is something I personally do for myself and it works. If you believe you can accomplish something harder and be successful, do it. Even if you’re shaky on your success level, do it anyway. Work ethic has a lot to do with belief. If you don’t believe in yourself, of course doing things and accomplishing them will be hard. With me and my character building, I think like the quote in the picture above-sometimes I just have to dig a little deeper. If I stay at the surface of my character, the lack of depth and personality, the realism will be lost. If the realism is lost the character is flat, i.e. boring, fake, forced. Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to feel real things, to unleash real things into a character. Think of it this way, if you do, no one will ever know where your emotion is coming from or why unless you choose to tell them. It’s a safe and satisfactory way to let some emotion out. 🙂