Your Artistic Struggle Doesn’t Have to Suck

What’s up my friends?! 

This post was originally written for Backstage.com. Which you know because you already follow my posts there….right? (RIGHT?!) 

Sorry. Read on. 

It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon and I couldn’t wait: in a few hours, I’d be attending my first-ever opening night performance and after party with one of my favorite big Chicago theaters. Mind you, I hadn’t purchased the tickets—yours truly is in credit card debt and waiting to book that national commercial. These were comps. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t be going to this premiere event.

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It was kind of good. 

Speaking of finances, I knew I had to check my accounts and go over a few things before I left for the evening. This absolutely was not my favorite part of the day (see above), but it was necessary. And that day, it was extra necessary.

You see, I had made a grave error while attempting to make a small credit card payment the night before. Instead of making a small one, I made a very large payment, accidentally paying off the entire thing. I quickly called my credit card company but they couldn’t do anything because the payment was still “processing.” So I called my bank and got the “We’re experiencing a higher volume than usual” message before waiting on hold.

To add insult to injury: I had to message my acting coach about the check that she wouldn’t be able to cash because of my mistake. Why did I hire a coach? Because I had recently auditioned to attend the School at Steppenwolf, a move that would cost another several thousand dollars.

So here I was with a negative bank account, credit card debt, waiting to let my acting coach know if and when she could get her money, and wringing my hands over whether I’d get accepted to the school. Needless to say, it was not a relaxing day. Luckily, I had a trick, one I learned from thought leader and author, Preston Smiles: ask empowering questions.

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I stole this photo – with love, (duh), from Preston’s Smiles Facebook page. He credits @jennaphillipsballard with the photo. That’s all. Carry on! 

During challenging situations like this, we can ask, “Will this matter three years from now? What good is here that I currently cannot see?”

I didn’t know how this issue would be resolved. But no, it wouldn’t matter three years from now. And the good here is that I can tell this story to inspire others who will realize I didn’t just make it big overnight and with ease. This takes work. This takes nerves. This takes mistakes and over-drafted bank accounts and bounced checks.

So what’s your challenge? Finances? A broken heart? Frustration with the industry? Will any of it matter three years from now? (Hint: Probably not.)

Let me know. Let all of us know. There might not be any evidence of your triumph yet but believe in yourself now anyway. And then when you’ve made it to the top, shout it to the rooftops.

You deserve to feel amazing exactly where you are today.

Let’s go get ’em, friends.

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What’s that? You want to hire me for coaching?!

Or maybe give an empowerment talk to your group or school?

Email me!  tony.rossi@gmail.com. Let me know how I can help.

Same goes for questions – you can ask those for free 😉 

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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 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

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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! 

NEWS: You can find me Backstage…

A few months ago, I applied to be a writer at Backstage.com.

Mind you, I didn’t think I actually deserved to do it.

Here’s a list of things the negative voice in my head was telling me….

 

-I can’t write for them. Only successful people do that. 

-Have you seen the credentials of the actors who write for them? 

-You still work day jobs and don’t have your dream agent. You’re not going to be considered. 

-Your hair sucks today. Don’t submit. 

 

(That last one is always my ego’s final attempt to stop me from doing things.)

I had a plethora of reasons not to submit. Yet, there was one good reason to submit that was strong enough to silence the rest: No one is writing about the thing I want to write about. 

Take a look at any successful company or entrepreneur and you’ll see they used their passion to solve a problem that needed solving. Examples include Uber, Stubhub, and even Grubhub. (Hellooooo tacos!)

I realized I love helping my peers recognize their worth before they’ve achieved success. And there wasn’t anyone (that I saw) who was a “beginner” and was doing this.

So I submitted….and got no reply. (Insert “See? I told you!” voice here.)

I almost gave up. Until I realized, “Oh wait. I never heard the word “no.”

So I resubmitted. Got a reply right away 🙂

And here, my friends, is a link to my first article for Backstage.com.

 

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Don’t let anyone – including imaginary negative voices – try to talk you out of something you should be doing.

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!