Why there’s nothing wrong with you (even though you think there is)

I recently had a class with Robyn Coffin.

Robyn is a Chicago actress best known for playing Cindy Herrmann on Chicago Fire. She’s a teacher at Vagabond School of the Arts and just an all around delightful human being.

And perhaps most important of all, she’s also had the honor of being the first ever guest on the Tony Rossi Show Podcast. (It’s like, a really big deal…)

32072646_10100866005784819_13346842800553984_n.jpg 

Last week in class, Robyn shared a powerful lesson on how we all learn lines differently – some are auditory learners. Some are visual. And some need to be sitting in their favorite chair with a glass of wine, while visualizing the day that, they too, are an honored guest on the Tony Rossi show. (She’d didn’t flat out share this last point, but it was pretty obvious through the tone of her voice…..)

We also discussed how different things may be challenging to us due to our nature. For example, she shared how hard math was for her because she was a lefty!

What this really highlighted for me was how we’re all different and we each have different learning styles….

And yet – how often do we try to “fit in” by assuming that there’s a one size fit all approach??

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach” – Robyn Coffin. (Who said this in class and I wrote it down but she might have said it differently so don’t please don’t anyone sue me….)

I tried fitting in a lot in high school….and quickly realized it wasn’t working. I was a skinny male, loved musical theatre, never had a serious girlfriend, and didn’t look like any of the popular kids….so naturally I just put two and two together and realized I might be gay…..

…even though I was never attracted to men.

One of my favorite things about being involved as a member of the Chicago acting community is that I get to hear the perspective of my peers. They too have their struggles. They too feel like they’re “not enough” at times. They too wonder, “Is this acting thing ever gonna work out?”

Guys. We are enough. And we’re enough regardless of whether or not we’re “like” anyone else.

As Darren Hardy recently said on one of his darrendaily’s – if something is popular, there’s a good chance it’s not worth pursuing.

So relax and ENJOY that you’re different. It’s okay to have your own style. And realize that there’s others just like you who are going to love you for being your unique, awkward, and #notperfect self.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

***   ***   ***

Hey! Did you check out the Tony Rossi Show podcast yet? 

Thanks for reading!

By the way, I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. (Duh.) I’m an actor and blogger living right up the street from Wrigley Field. 

My blog is here to help others take control and live a more authentically positive life on their terms. Since working with a coach and learning more about personal development, I’ve started sharing my learnings with others. (I have a lot…)

If we’ve never meet – shoot me a tweet!  Would love to hear how you found this 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Oh – and I’m now on iTunes! #TonyRossiShow

Advertisements

Consider This When You Don’t Get the Part

What’s up my friends?! This post was originally written for and published on Backstage.com

There are two factors that always help remind me that I am enough, regardless of what my resume says:

  1. When I practice self-care, a non-negotiable in my book.
  2. When I get hugs and encouragement from friends booking the jobs I wanted to book.

This happened recently while on a three-day shoot. I was an extra. My talented friends, on the other hand, were principles.

One of these friends was named Andrew, who I had met a year prior during my stint as an intern at a casting office. I specifically remember Andrew because he walked into the casting office and crushed his audition. And he nailed the callback. All signs pointed to him booking the role. Spoiler alert: He didn’t book it.

Between takes, Andrew and I got a chance to catch up. We discussed the audition where we met and he even inquired as to who had booked the part. I didn’t know, but I was able to tell him that they ended up casting someone who wasn’t even at callbacks that day.

After Andrew’s callback, the decision makers on the project chose to make Andrew’s character a little bit older. As a result, Andrew was out of the running. They held a third round of callbacks and made a new choice. Of course, poor Andrew was left in the dark about all of this.

I don’t know about you guys, but when I book the room but not the part, my negative chatter (I call mine Fred) can get a little aggressive.

“You totally didn’t say the lines right.” 

“You should have worn something different.”

“You didn’t actually do as well as you think you did. In fact, you should probably call your old boss because you’re clearly meant to be a waiter the rest of your life.”

The thing is, you probably did book the part. You probably did a great read with the lines. But in this business, there are often factors that are out of our control. There certainly are things you can control that do warrant some focus and self-talk, but let’s also recognize and accept the plethora of other factors we need to let go of.

To all the Andrews out there who are talented, funny, and charming as hell on set, keep it up. You’re doing great. There are people who realize it, even if they can’t give you the part right now. It’s only a matter of time until it’s your turn. When it is your turn, let me know on Twitter so I can give you a shoutout!

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

me and andrew.jpg

And when all else fails – take a break and unplug from the biz and see a Cubs game! (That’s Andrew on the left) 

 

***   ***   ***

Hey! Did you check out the Tony Rossi Show podcast yet? 

Thanks for reading!

By the way, I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. (Duh.) I’m an actor and blogger living right up the street from Wrigley Field. 

My blog is here to help others take control and live a more authentically positive life on their terms. Since working with a coach and learning more about personal development, I’ve started sharing my learnings with others. (I have a lot…)

If we’ve never meet – shoot me a tweet!  Would love to hear how you found this 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Oh – and I’m now on iTunes! #TonyRossiShow

GUEST POST: Heather Hiatt

Today’s read is a Guest post by Heather Hiatt.

I connected with Heather recently and have been LOVING her blogs. She’s unapologetically herself, shares personal stories, and leaves the reader with a feeling of, “Oh wow. I feel so much better now!”

So why WOULDN’T I ask Heather to write a post for TonyinChicago? 

If you’re an artist and have fear around your craft – the auditions, the scary action steps you could be taking, etc – this post is for you.

 

Chasing Fear

By Heather Hiatt 

When I was younger I was a bit of a  daredevil. I don’t know if it was actually me, or if it was just that the Oahu terrain practically required it.

There were countless deep mountain pools and waterfall cliffs to be jumped from. Lots of skinny-ridged hikes with plateaus in the clouds, and dark caves and deep jungles begging to be explored.  

And if I’m being really honest, my most harrowing cliff jump happened only because my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend jumped first.  

I was not going to be outdone. 😬 #competitive

One time, a group of us climbed through a small hole in the Ko’olau mountain range into a working tunnel that transports water from one part of the island to another.  Once inside, we blew up rafts, donned headlamps, grabbed the feet of the person ahead of us and let the water carry us…somewhere.

We were in complete darkness…. floating THROUGH A MOUNTAIN.

At some point, our “leader” found our exit point (how??), and, one by one, we deflated our rafts and shimmied out of the mountain and back onto the trail that would eventually take us to our cars.   

Still gives me nightmares when I think about what could have happened.  

Here’s the really incredible thing.

You’re doing something scary too.  Every day. You’re chasing an acting career that most people only dream about.

So, sure it’s scary, in the sense that you don’t know the outcome,  but doesn’t that make it kind of exciting, too?

You’re inside of a mountain and don’t really know how you’re going to get out.

You’re leaping off the biggest cliff of all and you don’t know where the bottom is.  

You’re doing it because your dream is worth it, and anything can happen.

Anything can happen!

Isn’t that thrilling?

And what about that insidious fear in the audition room?

Yes, it’s nerves, but it’s really just your body telling you you’re excited.  And reminding you how much this career means to you.

Let me ask you this.

Do you go to scary movies?  If so, why do you go?

I think it’s because scary movies are intense and exciting, right? After the movie you’re downloading with friends a mile a minute, your heart is racing, and you feel giddy, relieved and still, a tiny bit freaked out that *that* just happened.

Kinda like how you feel after a great audition, right?  

We actually thrive on the adrenaline rush of fear!

It’s why we played with the Ouija board then,  and why we’re obsessed with Stranger Things now.

So, I have an idea.

What if you treated your whole career–  and more specifically the audition process– like you were going to a scary movie?  

Why are you not chasing your fear even more?

Don’t face your fears. CHASE your fears.  

Force yourself to be scared. Do what feels uncomfortable.  

The actions you take to chase them will result in a more spine-tingling journey with bigger and more thrilling results.

You don’t need to jump off a cliff or go see a scary movie to feel afraid.  Being an actor is like living on the edge 24/7!

Here’s an action item for you: Get even closer to the edge.

Is there a scary phone call to a casting director, producer or director you’ve been wanting to make?

Is there a marketing postcard you want to send out but you don’t want to seem pushy?

Is there a short film you want to produce but you don’t have the guts to ask for help?

Is there an actor you want to collaborate with, even if it’s just for a self-tape?

Here’s your invitation to do it.

Pick something that feels scary.  Then pretend you’re about to watch that horror flick and chase the hell out of that fear the same way you’re chasing the hell out of your dreams.

Your quick-breath, flushed cheeks, and fast-beating heart will let you know you’re alive.

And that you survived.  

Chase.  Not Face.

1…2…3.. GO!

Heather Hiatt is a working actor and founder of The Magnetic Actor Method which teaches actors to believe in themselves again, stop overthinking and nail it on the first take. Get started with her FREE Magnetic Actor’s X-Factor: Audition Guide.

***   ***   ***

Check out the new Tony Rossi Show podcast!

 

Thanks for reading!

By the way, I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. (Duh.) I’m an actor and blogger living right up the street from Wrigley Field. 

My blog is here to help others take control and live a more authentically positive life on their terms. Since working with a coach and learning more about personal development, I’ve started sharing my learnings with others. (I have a lot…)

If we’ve never meet – shoot me a tweet!  Would love to hear how you found this 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Oh – and I’m now on iTunes! #TonyRossiShow

The Journey To Happiness (A Chicago Edition)

A year ago, I wrote down some words that had summed up a lot of my journey so far. I learned an important lesson that’s still relevant today….

The search

When I first got to Chicago, I wanted a job. Any job. I had moved to pursue acting, but I couldn’t be an actor without money. So I applied anywhere and everywhere.

My first gig was at a toy store. I made $8.50 an hour. The staff and customers were kind, but the job didn’t excite me. Between the pay and my desire to do a bit more exciting work, I needed a change.

I got an office job. I was a receptionist. (I know. Not very exciting.) I made $9.00 an hour and worked 40 hours a week. With a few exceptions, both the staff and the clients here were not too kind and caring….I very much needed a change.

I worked as a tour guide…and needed more consistent hours.

I got a full-time office job with benefits….and needed more flexible hours.

I worked as a waiter….and needed to find my sanity after every shift.

I was making progress. But there always was something more.

The lesson

While this journey looks a bit frustrating, there was actually an interesting theme going on: With each new job came a new need. The new need helped me get me closer towards discovering a job that would make it easier to act. But I didn’t know the new need existed until after starting the new job. While painful at times, I was stretching and growing. I was discovering more about myself.

After stretching a bit more (while experiencing a plethora of discomfort), I found there were three needs that were non negotiable for me:

         1. I needed a job that paid me enough. If I couldn’t pay my bills, I couldn’t act.
2. I needed a job that gave me a flexible schedule. If I didn’t have the time – I really couldn’t act.
3. I needed a job that kept me sane. If I wasn’t happy – I really, really couldn’t act.

When I first arrived to Chicago, I didn’t realize I needed all three things. In fact, I’ve encountered other actors who can get by with just one or two of these. And some of them have other needs they want filled based on their situation. (For example: Some of them just need money and security because they have a family to provide for.) These needs were unique to me. While I still don’t like to admit it, I needed to go through the discomfort in order to better discover them.

The journey

Discovering your own unique needs is a rewarding experience. It also allows you to see each opportunity as a necessary step. This is a much better outlook than considering yourself a failure because it didn’t give you what you ultimately wanted in the moment. Start becoming aware of your own needs and find ways to enjoy the journey….I promise, it’s a lot more fun this way.

6906_10100427679798609_3605973547668276506_n.jpg

I had some smiles that day at work….

Let’s go get ’em, friends.

This post was originally written for parlepost.com

***   ***   ***

Check out the Tony Rossi Show podcast!

This week we had a special interview with Chicago artist Robyn Coffin! 

***   ***   ***

Thanks for reading!

By the way, I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. (Duh.) I’m an actor and blogger living right up the street from Wrigley Field. 

My blog is here to help others take control and live a more authentically positive life on their terms. Since working with a coach and learning more about personal development, I’ve started sharing my learnings with others. (I have a lot…)

If we’ve never meet – shoot me a tweet!  Would love to hear how you found this 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Oh – and I’m now on iTunes! #TonyRossiShow

When you’re STILL sick….and you have Cubs tickets

There’s just something about baseball and warm weather that makes us….happy.

IMG_1333.jpg

Got a nice view of Guaranteed Rate Ballpark on my flight home last month

0605171822.jpg

Add “dressing nice for the occasion” on top of that and it makes you EXTRA happy! 

 

So when I saw there were cheap Cubs tickets available for April – I jumped at the chance.

Problem was – I couldn’t find a free day until the end of the month. The literal end of the month.

The good thing was – this gave me pleeeenty of time to look forward to the occasions 🙂

Having fun things to look forward to is one of my favorite pleasures. I do the same thing with trips back home to Boston. Even though I haaaate the waiting game when there’s three months to go, there’s something special that happens when it gets closer and closer. And when the actual date comes? I’m over the moon 🙂 It’s a special feeling that we get because we endured so much waiting.

…so you’ll understand why I was in terrible mood the week leading up to the game when I got a sinus infection – that was still lingering by Monday the 30th 😦

I. Was. Livid. Cue the negative chatter….

 

“ARE YOU JOKING ME?!” 

“This TOTALLY happened the last time I bought Cubs tickets!” 

“I’m about to start rehearsals! I’m not going to have any time to see another game!” 

“I specifically wanted these because they were cheap! The next time I’m free, they’re going to be soooo expensive….”

“WHY DO I ALWAYS GET SICK WHEN FUN THINGS HAPPEN?! UGHHHH….”

 

 

The funniest part to me is, I have peers who still think I’m a “happy all the time” person. (Note: They don’t exist. If they do – they’re in denial and they’re worse off for it.)

As a die hard baseball fan, I’ve always been in a sour mood when it comes to missing out on a game. While this did happen to me last fall – this also happens a lot due to weather. And it reminded me of a family I met a few weeks ago…

I was sitting in Starbucks, getting some work done. (I got a spot I love right across the street from the ballpark.) Per usual, there were a plethora of Cubs fans getting ready to enjoy some day baseball (another reason I love this spot.) The only thing was – the weather wasn’t looking too good. In fact, it was snowing – which, if you’re a baseball fan – you know has happened throughout the country during the month of April. Yet, fans had still showed up, with blankets and layers. I loved it.

Another reason I love this Starbucks: The staff is fantastic. That day was no exception. Store mananger Benji was going around informing the customers of some disappointing news he just learned – the game had just been cancelled.

While no baseball fan likes to hear this news, there was one family in particular who were really disappointed. They had traveled a good distance to come to the game from Indiana – specifically for their daughter’s birthday.

Now that is disappointing.

After thinking about this family and how disappointed they must have been, I realized something – I didn’t have a real problem. 

Sometimes we get so caught up in the things we want and what we think we deserve, we forget how good we have it. We forget if our schedule is busy and we have to miss baseball games, it might be because we’re living an artistic life and get to work on things we love. We forget that if our vacation plans get changed – we’ll eventually probably be able to take another one. And neither mentions the fact that we get to afford baseball games and vacations in the first place.

What I had forgot about during my week long tantrum is that I live right up the street from the ballpark. Getting back to Wrigley isn’t that hard. Sure, scheduling a game is more challenging. But getting to go to a game doesn’t cost me a Metra ticket, a parking pass, or coming up with gas money. It takes a day that works for me, and a short walk to the ballpark.

That morning, I looked up Cubs tickets for May – and SURE ENOUGH there were $10 seats (face value) for the following week. And I just happened to be free on Tuesday, only eight days after my original game.

IMG_1420.jpg

4 Tickets. $40. That, my friends, is what you get for midweek baseball early in the season.
PS – BUY THEM AT THE BALLPARK IN ADVANCE, YOU’LL GET ALL THOSE STUPID ONLINE FEES WAVED! 

Note: This only started to click for me when I started to let go and accept how things were going. This is NOT AN EASY THING TO DO when you’re going through a go through – even if it’s something small as being sick. But when you do accept it – it’s incredible how much you realize is in your control that will allow you to be happy.

So go do it. (After you’ve had your temper tantrum….and doing so off social media, please.)

Let’s go get ’em, friends.

***   ***   ***

UPDATE: I’m now on iTunes!

Check out the Tony Rossi Show podcast – you might even hear an extended version of this blog on the show in the near future…hint hint 😉 

***   ***   ***

Thanks for reading!

By the way, I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. (Duh.) I’m an actor and blogger living right up the street from Wrigley Field. 

My blog is here to help others take control and live a more authentically positive life on their terms. Since working with a coach and learning more about personal development, I’ve started sharing my learnings with others. (I have a lot…)

If we’ve never meet – shoot me a tweet!  Would love to hear how you found this 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Oh – and I’m now on iTunes! #TonyRossiShow