And other good advice.
By Jenny Donoghue
As the wind starts to smell like Autumn, college students start back at school and '11 graduates settle into getting thoroughly kicked in the face by life, I think back on what I've learned in the year since graduation. I won't bore you with how I now make a doozy of a pie. Let's talk instead about something more relevant to you, dear reader.
Getting an agent, or getting a particular role, or audition, used to feel like the everything of my existence. If I could just check that off the List To Success, I'd be sorted and could kick back and enjoy being awesome.
It was like in high school when you go somewhere solely because a boy you like will be there.
Thankfully this kept many of us in school. However, we grew to learn that the boy we like will either be into us or not, and there's more chance of hitting it off with him by just doing our thing and having fun rather than obsessing. The bonus, as its description suggests, is that having fun is a lot more fun than not having fun.
Agents, or "the perfect role", are like that boy in high school. Much more likely to be interested if we're rocking it out doing our own fabulous thing. (Or, maybe, after finding our what our groove is, we realize they're not what we really want anyway.)
Goals are useful and positive because they keep us motivated. But we don't need an agent, a Broadway lead, or any of the things we pin career validation on as a prerequisite to being awesome. Rather, they come to us when the time is right because we ourselves have become awesome.
Wrapping my head around this basic physics of the universe was a game-changer. It's so much more fun to have my goals be for personal improvement and creative projects I care about that I can actively dig into than having them lie in outcomes I can't control.
This whole mindset is articulated by departing UCB Artistic Director Anthony King in this recent Splitsider article listing three things he learned in his time with the theatre paritally responsible for launching many of the comedians owning your television set (or Hulu player). My favorite quote is:
If show business is war, agents have the guns. It’s your job to make ammunition...So stop worrying about getting a gun you’re not ready to use and focus on making more bullets.
Good stuff. Lately I'm really into the saying it takes 10 years to be an overnight success. I'd prefer 10 years of fun, making and performing and doing things I love rather than 10 years of desperate obsessing. Wouldn't you?
 My least favorite revelation about becoming a fully fleged grown up is that kicking back and being awesome never actually happens. Realizing that most people who seem to sail glamorously through life are furiously paddling ducks under the surface still blows my mind.
Footnote: If you're already 10 years into being solidly, consistently awesome, GOOD FOR YOU! Now get to a place where people who can make use of your awesomeness can find you (such as aforementioned UCB), kick back, and keep on being a furiously paddling duck.
JENNY DONOGHUE Made in Wales, matured in NY. Like some kind of delicious weird mid-Atlantic cheese. Actor, sometimes writer, all-times human. www.jennydonoghue.com
EMAIL HER | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | OTHER POSTS BY THIS AUTHOR