Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Your "To Don't" List



Good news - you’ve decided to be an actor! You’ve started an independent business where your art is your product and you are your art. You’re living the dream and making things happen, weathering the ups and downs with optimism and drive. Your motto is “YES I CAN” and you wear it proudly.

Never mind the uncertainty of the business. Never mind the exhaustion of pounding the pavement. You’ve got your to-do list and you’re going to stay motivated to the very end. Right?

But there’s something missing. Because there’s one little word that needs to be present in your career in order for you to get everything you want.

That word is NO.

In our quest for optimism we forget that it’s important to say no to things that are harmful to our spirit. We’re convinced that until we have the career we want, we have to say yes to everything. So I’m here to encourage you to learn how to say NO by creating your very own “TO DON’T” list.

Everyone’s TO DON’T list should be individualized to address the concerns in your particular business. In other words, no two people will have a TO DON’T list that’s the same. I highly recommend writing it in the 1st person so that it feels personal and immediate. To get you started, here are some of my favorite TO DON’Ts that make a huge difference in my career.


Don’t...

Be too hard on myself.
Compare myself to others.
Forget to do at least one thing for my business each day.
Ignore self-care.
Let someone else define my type for me.
Let someone else define success for me.


Don’t...

Say yes to everything.
Worry about what others think.
Compromise myself.
Underestimate myself.
Take on projects that I know won’t be good for me.
Let anyone else define my worth.


Once your list is written, put it somewhere visible and read it every day before you start your workload. When you have a tough decision to make, look at the list and see if either choice falls on it. Remember that the list can grow and change as your career grows and changes. I’d suggest revisiting the list twice a year to see if there’s anything to add or take away.

I’m curious to hear what items you would add to your TO DON’T list. Leave a comment here and let me know what TO DON’Ts you’re taking on for your career, and then check back in and give me an update!



Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. She is the Founder/Coach of The Actors’ Enterprise, co-founder and Managing Director of The Seeing Place Theater, and writes an “Experts” column for Backstage. To learn more, check out www.TheActorsEnterprise.org and find her on Twitter @ErinCronican.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Allure of Being "Busy"



I’ve started to notice something recently.

Every time I see friends of mine, I ask them how they’re doing and they always say with an exasperated sigh, “Agh. I’m sooooo busy” or “You know, I’m just going and going and going, never time to rest!” or “Ugh. I’m exhausted. So much to do.” It’s often said with an equal mix of angst and also a little pride, so happy to be able to report that things are happening but being overwhelmed by what it's taking to get there.

I’ve been a guilty of this too. I mean, it’s harmless, right?

The short answer is no, as evidenced by a situation one of my students went through recently.

This actor was a part of several developmental readings of a film, creating great relationships with the producing team in the process. Each time the actor spoke to them he excitedly talked about all of the projects he’s been a part of and how busy he’d been, hoping they would see how in demand he was and that he was a viable, working actor.

He finally saw a breakdown come out for the filming of the project, and noticed that the role he had read was pre-cast...with someone else. Hurt and embarrassed, my student reached out to the filmmaker to find out what happened and why he hadn’t been contacted about the role. The filmmaker apologized profusely, and then said - “With everything that you’re involved with, I assumed you were too busy.”

RECORD SCRATCH

Yep. My student lost an opportunity because he had made it seem like he was too overloaded to take on more work.

This really made me think - how often have I done the exact same thing, unburdening myself with “busy-ness” when someone asks how I’m doing? So I started an experiment. For one week I tracked how often people asked me how I was doing, and how often I felt the need to say, “I’m really busy,” as a response.

Interestingly, I felt myself wanting to say, “I’m so busy” almost all of the time. But I noticed something even more interesting. The conversation stopped there. Very few people asked, “What’s making you busy?” It’s almost as though “I’m so busy” is a back-off answer - something we say when we don’t want to talk about what’s really going on.

Let me say that another way.

Much like we reflexively say, “Fine” when someone asks “How are you?”, we may say, “I’m so busy” as a reflex that encourages people to back off. The conversation never moves on from there - no further inquiries about what we’re up to or what it was like to be so busy. Saying, “I’m busy,” is a roadblock to real conversation.

So I took my experiment to the next level. Whenever I was asked what I was up to, rather than saying, "I'm busy" I chose one thing I was really excited about and shared that instead. I also banished any talk of “busy-ness” from my social media pages.

It was magical.

By being so open and focused on what inspired me, I no longer needed to share my anxiety. Instead I got to make a real connection about something that mattered to me and let another person into my world. And I began to wonder, what would be possible if actors owned what made them busy and saw it as a benefit rather than a curse? Would my student been offered the film role if he had been focused on the quality of the work he was sharing rather than the quantity?

I invite you to try the same experiment - see how many times you’re compelled to say “I’m busy” rather than really engaging with your peers. Catch yourself each time you try to unload your “busy-ness” and see what’s really there for you to share. And let me know how the experiment goes and what you learned. 



Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. She is the Founder/Coach of The Actors’ Enterprise, co-founder and Managing Director of The Seeing Place Theater, and writes an “Experts” column for Backstage. To learn more, check out www.TheActorsEnterprise.org and find her on Twitter @ErinCronican.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

I'm Not Playing


Today’s blog is going to be a little incendiary, but something’s gotten me ruffled and I want to talk about it. Today I want to talk about GURU MENTALITY.

You know the mentality I mean - the one that says that if you just dream big enough, and you put all of focus on one process/ ideology/ viewpoint, you can have your hearts desire with very little work. That all you have to do is follow one person who will give you all the answers, and your dreams will come true. THAT guru mentality.

Look, I know how alluring it is to think that if you DREAM your way through life that everything will work out for you. But will and desire and passion is not nearly enough, and no one person has the magical elixir.

I think we all know that deep down inside. But when we’re confronted with real, honest effort it seems easier to pay a lot of money to people who will make the kinds of promises we want to hear.

I get a lot of coaching clients who come to me with a guru mentality - they ask, “If I coach with you consistently will I have everything I want?” And they often want that success with very little effort on their part. But any career coach who tells you YES is lying - yeah, I said it. LY-ING. Because there is no one perfect route to success, and it certainly doesn’t come without some kind of effort. There are too many factors out of our control to say that there’s one true way to succeed.

So I’m stating, here and now -- I’m not playing that game.

I’ll say it now, loud and clear: There is no magic to having a career as an actor.

First and foremost, my job is to teach you the business. Business is simple - there are industry standards to be aware of and it’s my job to make sure you know where those boundaries are.

Second, my job is to teach you how to approach the business creatively. There are many loopholes and grey areas, so this is where we can play a bit and let your personality (aka type) shine through. It’s this creativity that makes the business full of infinite possibilities. And it makes it FUN.

Third, my job is to help you navigate the challenges and difficulties between the two, often referred to as mindset. There is so much perceived rejection in this business that much of what we do in coaching is help the actor find ways to deal with the disappointments.

What a career coach can’t do: Guarantee anything other than the above. I can’t “get” you an agent, “get” you on that TV show, “get” you the Broadway audition you’ve been dreaming of. No one can guarantee those things. Getting there is a mix of all of the three things we CAN do (listed above) combined with perseverance, good timing, connections, and a lot of luck.

So the next time anyone promises anything other than helping you DO THE WORK, be wary. Guru mentality will not help you get to where you want to be - the results will be hollow, and you deserve more.


Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. She is the Founder/Coach of The Actors’ Enterprise, co-founder and Managing Director of The Seeing Place Theater, and writes an “Experts” column for Backstage. To learn more, check out www.TheActorsEnterprise.org and find her on Twitter @ErinCronican.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Special Tips for Beating Facebook's Algorithms


From time to time I'm going to address student and reader questions via video instead of the standard text. It's an exciting way to take advantage of all of the wonderful digital resources out there!

This week I talk about the sometimes frustrating, "How can I make Facebook better for my networking?" There's one quick tip I give that will make all of that time on social media bearable - and it's fast! Without further ado...



If the video has trouble loading, or you'd like the link, go here:


Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. She is the Founder/Coach of The Actors’ Enterprise, co-founder and Managing Director of The Seeing Place Theater, and writes an “Experts” column for Backstage. To learn more, check out www.TheActorsEnterprise.org and find her on Twitter @ErinCronican.

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