1 Reason You Don’t Need a Standout Resume

The following shares how I felt after booking a job with one of my favorite Chicago theatres. It was originally written for Backstage.com. Read on, my friends 🙂  

Have you ever had an audition where you thought, “There’s no way I’m going to book this.”

I recently had an audition for one of my favorite theaters in Chicago. I didn’t care that it was an understudy gig—it was my type and a chance to work with people I love. I wanted it.

After reading the script, a few thoughts came to mind, compliments of my inner critic. I call him Fred. Fred proceeded to tell me the following…

“There’s no way you’ll book this.”

“You’re so not right for the part.”

“That character they want you/me to read for is how old? Oh god. Ha! Good luck with that.”

I told friends I wouldn’t book it. I told my parents I wouldn’t book it. I figured this would just be a chance to meet some decision makers who would consider me down the road.

And then I booked the gig.

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I was a little excited to work on this new Calamity West play! 

 

I’m fairly certain after reading the offer email that I scared away half the customers at the coffee shop I was working in. I was thrilled! I hadn’t even had my second cup of coffee yet but immediately knew it was going to be a good day.

Of course, it wasn’t long before Fred chimed in again…

“They probably just had a low turnout.”

“This is just their B cast. They don’t actually expect you to go on.”

“It’s not a big deal. I’m sure the other friends you saw at the audition booked it, too. You’re nothing special.

As a result of working with coaches who I believe to be experts at personal development, I stopped listening to Fred. Mentors including Courtney Rioux, Dallas Travers, and DaJuan Johnson have all helped me remember that I do deserve it and I am perfect for the part. Even if it was a low turnout and the rest of my friends booked it as well, I’m still awesome. I’m still enough.

Careful of your own Fred. He means well, but he’s not as smart as you. You are awesome. You are enough. And you don’t need a standout resume for that to be true.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

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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 🙂 

Wanna see more? Check out my actor website or YouTube channel!

Wanna make sure you never miss a post? Click the “Follow” button in the right corner to enter your email and subscribe! 

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You Can’t Afford NOT to Invest in Personal Development

Post originally published on Backstage.com 

It was one of those auditions where I didn’t feel like I deserved to be there.

When I arrived, casting was on break and I felt intrusive. Suddenly, I was self-conscious of everything I did. Am I sitting too casually? Should I put my phone down so I’m ready when they are? My head was spinning, despite not having one negative word said to me—the negative chatter was all my doing.

It was an uncomfortable reminder of how easy it is to feel small, insignificant, and a general sense of “not enough” as an actor. We see the clients behind the table, often with a delicious spread in front of them. (“This cheese is for anyone, yeah?”) If we’re struggling with finances, we notice the nice clothes the clients are wearing. Meanwhile, we can’t wait for payday so we can finally buy a new pair of nicer dress shoes. All the while trying desperately not to make it obvious how much we’d really, really like to get cast so said paycheck can come sooner.

When this negative chatter goes off and running, focusing on disempowering thoughts and emotions, what are we supposed to do?

Returning home from the audition, I grabbed a snack (they didn’t share the cheese) and pulled up a Backstage article written by casting professionals. Slowly, started to develop a more empowering view of myself as an actor. Later in the evening when I was making dinner, I listened to a recorded coaching call I had saved where Dallas Travers shared some empowering ways to view yourself as an artist, specifically when it came to finances.

Since learning about the world of personal development, I’ve taken it upon myself to consume self-help books and podcasts. Just as important, I believe all actors should invest in professional development specifically for the craft. Read articles. Listen to acting podcasts. Consume positive and empowering content from the people who have been in your shoes and know what you’re going through. Doing this not only drowns out that negative chatter, it rewires our thinking so we believe, rightfully, “Yes. I am enough. They’re lucky to be seeing me today. I’m awesome for doing this.”

I’ll end with one of my new favorite mantras from “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brene Brown, an excellent author who writes on personal development and learning to dismiss that negative chatter: “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Let yourself be seen.”

Don’t hide who you are, actors. Don’t overcompensate, either. Just let yourself be seen and trust that it’s enough. Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

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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 🙂 

Wanna see more? Check out my actor website or YouTube channel!

Wanna make sure you never miss a post? Click the “Follow” button in the right corner to enter your email and subscribe! 

An interview. With me.

GUESS WHAT YOU GUYS?

“Tony. Stop shouting.”

Sorry Fred.

I’m going to be speaking as part of “Homeset!” this coming Saturday!

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“The thought behind the series is simple – artists flourish when they are in conversation with one another, and experiencing and examining one another’s work — especially in times of social and political unrest. It propels our aesthetic and understanding farther forward, and stokes the fire of active engagement.” (Quote source here) 

 

Below is a Q&A with me and Denise. I wanted to share this here because the themes I’ll be speaking about Saturday go hand in hand with what I blog about. Thoughts? Tweet me! 

Denise: What inspired this piece?

Me: Before I realized I loved talking to others about personal development themes, I was involved in network marketing for three years….and I failed a lot. There were a plethora of embarrassment, but with it came valuable lessons. I learned a lot about branding and content, and it’s actually what led me to start doing #SundayVideos on facebook live every week. Those messages were a big inspiration for the work I’ve started sharing in person – like what we’re doing here tonight!

What really inspired me to start sharing positive messages has been a four year journey where I keep finding more and more ways to see tedious life challenges in a more empowering way. Once I discovered how much happier this made me, I couldn’t not share it with others!

Denise: Has anything you’ve learned recently surprised you?

Me: Since working with a life coach and consequently learning about the world of personal development, I just assumed that immersing myself in self help materials (books, blogs, podcasts, etc) were the way to go. But actually the past month has made me realize that a more proactive way to approach personal development is to a) get clear on what areas you want to specifically learn and grow in, and b) actually complete the exercises come up in the materials. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve skipped most parts where it involves actually completely exercises. I’m currently reading a new book with a lot of “write down this” sections – and I’m not skipping this time! So it’s been surprising to realize that after all this time where I thought I was an expert, I was really just an novice. I have a feeling that in another four years I’ll find myself in a similar boat.

Denise: What challenges you as a creator?

Me: Confession: Being a life coach and doing live workshops and talks has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I’m grateful it’s happening! Yet…I’ve yet to get out of my own way when it comes to creating opportunities for my acting career. Putting on a show? Producing my own short film? This is where I’d normally tell others to stop listening to that gremlin voice saying, “You could never afford that,” or “That will take way too much time…”

I KNOW that’s not true! I’ve freaking done it before with raising money for non acting endeavors! I just get overwhelmed and then listen to all my doubts. So if anyone wants to give ME a motivational pep talk on this – let me have it. I’m a good listener.

Denise: What do you want to see more of?

Me: I want to see more of my peers celebrating the little things: Getting called back to that same casting house, regardless if they book. Getting seen by their favorite theatre company. Their first booking for a non union industrial. I want to start seeing more happiness and confidence before we’ve “made it.”

It’s easy to let our friends and family to dictate our success. Waiting for other people’s approval for achievement is a recipe for stress, anxiety, and a path to being miserable. Why? Because it’s out of our control!

Sure, there’s something to be said about setting high goals and measuring your progress. I just think that success is something younger people tend to “wait for,” and along with it sits our happiness and confidence. One of my mentors Dallas Travers says, “You can’t build on success you don’t acknowledge.” If we can’t be happy with the little wins – we’re just going to keep setting the bar for happiness higher and higher. So let’s start now, yeah?

Denise: What should folks know about what you’re bringing to HOME SET?

Me: That I’m loving this process of helping others – and that I’m doing it because I started learning this stuff because I needed it. Just because I’m “teaching” and sharing it doesn’t mean that I’m don’t need it myself. I very much do. The themes I talk about are usually the ones I need the most.

I find this usually is applicable to anyone teaching a skill to others. I used to get turned off because I thought teachers and motivational speakers were condescending. Then I started hearing some of them share that they’re also still not perfect with what they were sharing. It made them seem more human and more likable.

I want my peers who read, see and hear my work to know that I’m a constant work in progress.

“You are perfect, whole and complete – but you’re not finished.” –Preston Smiles.

 

Let’s go get ’em, friends.

 

Here are the deets! 

Pop Magic Productions invites you to HOMESET, a quarterly salon series bringing artists together to share ideas. Each HOMESET will give 3 artists space to showcase their works in progress, lesser practiced skills, and interests in a casual atmosphere.

The thought behind the series is simple – artists flourish when they are in conversation with one another, and experiencing and examining one another’s work — especially in times of social and political unrest. It propels our aesthetic and understanding farther forward, and stokes the fire of active engagement. 

In an effort to cultivate these nurturing spaces for artists, and in response to the need for more cross-exposure in the Chicago arts scene, HOME SET was put into action.
Join us in reactivating our community this winter. Connect with creatives whose interests and passions can bolster your artistic practice. Support the growth of Chicago’s independent art scene.

January 6th, 2018
Location: Secret Location in Uptown (You will receive the address
when you RSVP @ dime.io/events/homeset.

​The acts of the night are:
​Oratory by Tony Rossi
Arcana Obscura with Cassie Bowers
All The Happy Endings We Were Promised by Lucky Stiff
Music by Kathryn Lachey

Snacks & Drinks will be provided. You are also free to BYOB.

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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 🙂 

Wanna see more? Check out my actor website or YouTube channel!

Wanna make sure you never miss a post? Click the “Follow” button in the right corner to enter your email and subscribe! 

Dear Actors…..

Hi. It’s Tony.

You might know me, you might not. (Either way it’s cool.)

I just wanted to share some thoughts with you as a 29 year old actor, still working day jobs, and very much looking forward to…not working day jobs. I’m not where I want to be yet. And I have my share of “Am I doing this right?” days. That said – I know I’m exactly where I need to be and exactly on the right track.

Three years ago, I started reading personal development books. “Tony… I’ve never heard of personal development.” Here’s the Tony-version: Personal development involves books, materials, and other types of formal/informal training that either give you a better understanding of yourself or of others. You’ll learn about these things in a positive and productive way. With consistent application, you become more realistic about your goals while remaining optimistic about the obstacles. 

Personal development has changed my life in a lot of ways. But if I had to sum it up in one word, it’d be this one: confidence. I feel better about myself. I feel better about how I look. I feel unstoppable when it comes to my goals. It’s pretty bad ass. And because of personal development, I’ve found I bring a better “Tony 2.0” to my acting career. I’m unapologetic for who I am as a person, so I’m unapologetic when I audition. I’m more confident when presenting myself. And if I mess up in class – eh. It makes me more human. Not a bad thing at all. 

This wonderful thing I found isn’t something everyone knows about. I see a lot of people who could be crushing it in their field, if only they had more confidence. But fear not, friends. I got good news: Personal development can be learned by anyone. In fact, you’re hearing this from a guy who use to loathe reading. (Unless the title started with “Harry Potter and….”) 

So if you’re not a reader, not into personal development, and haven’t yet gained that confidence that you year for, I’ll share a little secret with you that I picked up. This is just for you. And it’s this – You are awesome. 

Seriously. You’re a badass. Think about it: You’re purusing an acting career. You’re here for a reason. And unless you find yourself hating the stage, hating the camera, or dreading the thought of your friends and family all crowding on the couch to watch your debut on Chicago Fire, please know you’re doing the right thing and you’re on the right path. (Especially if you think you’re, like, way behind from where you should be.)

So do yourself a favor – realize right now – yes, RIGHT NOW – that you’re a badass and don’t need to apologize for any “imperfections” that may or may not exist. You’re not doing the class a disservice by bringing your weird interpretation to the role. You’re not bothering the casting associates who are sitting in for your general call. If they are bothered, it’s because they need a career change – not you. So take charge. Acknowledge your inner awesomeness. You. Fucking. Deserve it. 

It’s time you acknowledged it. Actually, you should have started this yesterday, but I’ll cut you some slack. So please. There’s a lot of people out there waiting for you to show up, be you, and even pay you for doing what you love. 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

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PS – If you’re a Salem State University student, please hear these words…but also realize you’re on the right track. After sitting in and chatting with you guys this past week, I’ve found that you guys are well aware of just how fucking awesome you are. Kudos, my friends.

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Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their own terms.

He also loves to write blogs on how to do this. 

Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life, or to inquire if he can do some writing for you!  You can reach him attony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you hit that “share” button for friends and family to see 😉 

My Last Minute Audition Story

It was one of those “I have less than 12 hours to prepare” auditions. I wasn’t expecting it.

And when something unexpected happens that throws off your plans for the night/following morning, you naturally start to think certain things:

 

There’s not enough time to prepare.

There is definitely not enough time to prepare.

I have how many sides to learn?

This time slot is really cutting it close to when I need to be at work.

Wait, there’s a monologue too???

I thought they were sending out audition confirmations last week? Why did I get mine tonight?

There’s not enough time to prepare.

 

And then the inner critic decided to pay a visit. So kind of him…

 

The last few times you went to one of these auditions, you didn’t do so well. You probably won’t do well at this on this either.

You’ll probably just embarrass yourself.

If your friends from class knew you were going for this, they’d probably think it’s stupid of you for even thinking you’d get it

They’re going to want someone with more experience with [oh so many things….]

There’s really no point for you to even be –

 

“NO. THAT IS NOT THE TRUTH.”

 

When the critic creeps in, he thinks he’s protecting us. Often that protection comes across as negative and condescending. Next time he shows up, feel free to use that line. Then follow it with this:

“…sorry for shouting.”

(I mean, you don’t wanna be a dick.)

“I see what you’re trying to do. But I’m going to do things my way anyway. Because the truth is….”

(You get the idea. Here were some of mine: )

 

The truth is….

They might love me.

These sides actually aren’t that long. I could totally learn these tonight.

Oh! I could have a lot a lot of fun with that one character.

They seriously might love me.

Why not me?

I work my ass off. That’s how I got this audition.

I submitted for this same type of role months ago. No such luck. I got the audition!

The truth is this is a kickass win

I am SO grateful I got this audition!

Seriously….WHY NOT ME?

 

The aftermath:

The audition? Nailed it. The doubts I had about what they were expecting from me? Didn’t even come into play. My chances? Well…that’s the fun part: IT DOESN’T MATTER. What matters is I made the most of what I could control. I prepared. I stayed positive. I was present in the room. I didn’t try extra hard to please. I made strong choices.

I had fun.

The amount I learned about myself during those 12 hours was worth it alone. Because if I can rock that audition in a short time period, well hell….what else can I do that I didn’t think I was capable of?

Takeaways:

  • Focus on what it is you can control rather than stressing about the things you can’t. I couldn’t control how little time I had to prepare or the amount of experience I had prior to the audition. I could control learning the lines and making strong choices in the audition room.
  • Be nice to yourself. Incorporate more positive phrases and reading material into your daily routine so that this gets easier. When you do this, these last minute scenarios become more fun. Besides, it’s hard to help those casting if you’re negative and stressed. If you can’t do it for you, do it for them as a thank you for calling you in.

 

 

“Tony. This is all great stuff. Did I mention how incredibly handsome you are?”

Oh right. My positive voice is sometimes a female. She’s kind of into me….

Have a great week, friends. Go get ‘em.

Do work that you love (and don’t play the lottery)

I’ll be honest – I hate the lottery.

For starters, it implies that there’s an easy way out. It implies that life is going to suck unless we’re that one in a million person who had things “just work out.” I’ll stop here. It’s making me upset…I don’t like being upset.

Second, it implies that once we reach a certain point in our lives, then we’ll be happy.

I call bullshit on both these points. Especially the second one. Let’s talk about that.

I moved to Chicago to be an actor. These days I spend more time at my promotional job and working from home coaching others with their health goals. I don’t neglect acting, but I certainly spend more time in the other two areas. Once I have more time for acting (and trust me, that’s coming), I’ll definitely be happier. However, time is not the only indicator on whether or not acting makes me happy.

If you’re a member of the Thriving Artist Circle, you know that Dallas Travers does one-on-one coaching calls each month. More recently, she and Roz Coleman were coaching actors on their goals – and it wasn’t at all what I was used to. I was used to the “do what you need to do to be a fulltime actor.” With this call, it emphasized being an actor and doing the type of work that you truly and honestly love to do.

*Record screech* Wait, wait? I thought being a fulltime actor was the answer?

Being a fulltime actor would be fun because it would mean less time working JOBs and working on what we’re truly good at. Now let’s fast forward to that magical day where acting pays all the bills: What is it about acting that excites you?

-Is it sharing a message to others that they wouldn’t have otherwise learned through your work?

-Is it telling stories in a specific way?

-Is it the process of dissecting a script and getting to know your character?

Because of it’s any of those , I got some follow up questions for ya:

-Will doing industrials for corporate companies help with this?

-Will doing film work – where I have little to no rehearsal time – help satisfy my passion for character work?

-Is that one liner role on Chicago Fire going to satisfy my need for dissecting a script?

This isn’t to say that the answer will be no. In fact, my dream job is to be a full time theatre actor.  Yet all three of those examples are jobs that I would gladly take.

Tony stops writing for a moment to see if he had any missed calls/emails about said work.

…Sorry. Anyway, the point is to focus on what you do want and how you do want to feel. I recommend focusing on those things now, prior to that magical day where you have financial freedom and can do whatever you want.

If you watched my facebook video earlier this week, you say that it breaks my heart seeing people working jobs they hate. Life is too short. Go after what you love. And be sure it is, in fact, what you love.

Speaking of which…love you guys. Thanks for reading.

Go get ‘em.

Have a friend who would like this? I’m always grateful for shares or shout outs on social media. The more people we can reach sharing messages of positivity and support, the better =)