Over the holiday vacation, I had the real pleasure of sitting down to talk with one of my former students Eden Marryshow about life after training at the Maggie Flanigan Studio. The subject of fear came up in our conversation, and how it cripples us from taking the chances that put us on the path towards achieving our dreams. I’ve been thinking a lot about this as I begin the new year interviewing those interested in pursuing a professional acting career.
There is a common thread that appears in many of my talks with prospective students, namely the fear that has been holding them back from taking themselves and their life dreams seriously. Our dreams are very personal, and often lie dormant inside of us for many, many years. To make the decision to take the first step towards realizing this dream can be terrifying. How relatable are these thoughts: “My parents don’t support this, they’d kill me if I told them I am going to pursue an acting career.”, “How can I commit to two years of training, I’m scared that opportunities will pass me by?”, “It’s too much money, I ‘m afraid of getting into debt.”, “What if I’m not talented, I’m scared of failing?”, “I don’t know how I could fit in 20 hours of training a week and still work to support myself? I’m afraid I’ll have to leave NYC and go back home.”
Nothing of value can be gained if you are not willing to operate outside of your comfort zone. This is where real growth and possibility exists. If you are one of the lucky few that are deeply passionate about a life in the arts and have a smoldering dream to become a first-rate actor and artist, then you must be willing to risk yourself. Art demands this commitment. What do you think you could accomplish if you were guaranteed that you would not fail or be criticized? These two monsters will keep you always wondering, what if. What if I just jumped off the cliff and took my dreams seriously? What if I put myself in the position of being a beginner again in order to learn something substantial? What if I committed to working harder than anyone I know? What if I cut out all of the relationships in my life that made me question and doubt myself? What if I surrounded myself with talented, hard-working, passionate people? What if I said yes?
If you have a dream, pursue it relentlessly. Demand the best version of you. Embrace hard work and self-discipline. And open your heart to the beauty of creative struggle.
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