Recently I was asked, “How do I know when it’s a good time to take an extended trip out of town? What if I miss a big acting opportunity?”
You know the old saying, “Want to book some acting work? Book a trip out of town.” I can’t count how many times this has occurred to me over the years. However, before I start packing my bags, I ask myself these two questions:
1. How will this benefit my life?
The truth is there is no right or wrong time. No one has the power to predict the future. Sometimes the best opportunities have ended in disaster, so forget about being “right” or “wrong.” This business can take its toll on an actor. If day after day, month after month, we wait for that “big break” to miraculously show up, we may look back with regret for not having lived a life. The foundation of a great actor is a rich pallet of life experiences to draw from.
If your concern is whether you’re going to miss an opportunity, I would restate the question in the positive. Ask yourself, “What opportunity am I creating for myself?” It is a much more powerful and optimistic approach to decision making.
2. How will this affect my business team?
While there is no right or wrong time to leave, we can at least be strategic about it. You may want to reconsider leaving town in the middle of a busy pilot season, for instance. Ask yourself, “Who else will be affected by my absence?” As a professional, you don’t want to just throw your hands up in the air and yell “Peace Out!” leaving behind a wake of puzzled faces. This method of decision making could potentially leave your credibility tarnished, resulting in damaged industry relationships.
You are a professional artist, so conduct yourself as one. How will your absence affect your agent? Co-workers? Your reputation? Are you creating an opportunity for yourself, or are you running away from a problem? Are you destroying the hard work others have invested in you?
Before booking that ticket out of town for that month long yoga workshop in Costa Rica, your professional obligation is to have a conversation with those affected by your absence. Opening a dialogue may uncover valuable information you may have not considered. Such information may have a positive impact on your final decision, resulting in a win-win situation. Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know.
At the end of the day this is your life and no one else’s. Life is too short for regretful, fear-based decisions. You are the CEO of your personal artistic business so make powerful information-based, professional choices, and don’t look back.