the enlivenment story
How do I get seen? Is my agent right for me? Am I doing too much? Am I not doing enough? I don’t know how to prepare quickly! I feel pigeon holed by casting, this breakdown is ridiculous. Why is it that even though I did 3 years in theatre school I still panic every time I receive audition sides? I feel disconnected and ungrounded in zoom auditions. I don’t feel like myself. I feel awkward in front of the camera! What's happening with my eyebrows.. now I'm thinking about my eyebrows... I'm confused about my casting "hits"... I don't know how to use them to my advantage and I honestly resent the idea of them in the first place... Sometimes I feel like I'm hiding who I am from the world because I'm worried about what other people will think... I don't think its possible to act, direct and write, don't I have to choose one thing and stick to it? I feel like my energy is going in a million different directions. I'm burnt out... Shouldn't I be further along by now? It feels like everyone else is booking work and I'm not where I want to be... It would be so amazing if I could talk to someone about this".
You're not alone. I’ve mentored and coached countless actors struggling to figure out where they fit in the world of film and television. Whether you're just starting out or ready to take the next big step in your career, I know how overwhelming the ups and downs of this industry can be.
I started working in film and tv when I was eleven. I worked a whole bunch. It felt right, I was where I was supposed to be.
This is me at my first job:
As I transitioned out of being a child actor and grew into a young adult, I continued to work consistently but had more and more questions and felt less and less sure of myself, especially in audition rooms. I’ve written more about this experience here.
As I grew out of my teens and into my early twenties, I kept auditioning. I had busy times and dry times. I was lucky and unlucky. I went through periods of working hard and periods of winging it but I couldn't kick the feeling that I didn't know where I belonged. Was I too much or not enough? Should I try to be who I think they want me to be or show up as who I am?
I had always done theatre and when I was eighteen I started working in theatre professionally. I love the process of theatre; the time given to rehearsal, discussion, experimentation, risk taking, discovery. When I started working in theatre I got to discover parts of myself that I hadn't been given the chance to explore in film and tv roles.
When I was twenty-one, I figured I should get some kind of formal training (I was insecure that I hadn't done that yet) so I signed up for voice class with Rae Ellen Bodie at Pro Actor's Lab. I will never forget the day I stepped into her classroom. My life changed. That was the beginning of a decade long deep dive into voice practice, mindfulness and working with the Linklater vocal progression. Around the same time, I started going to therapy. I wanted to understand why I felt stuck and to work through the anxiety I was experiencing daily. Every choice I made, including going to therapy, was fuelled by wanting to be a better actor.
Years of training and practical experience, working with incredible teachers and learning about myself gave me the perspective I needed. This work is a constant balancing act. It's an every day practice for me.
A few years ago, I was meeting so many young artists who were going through what I went through when I was first starting out. The confusion after theatre school, the fear of being left behind, the fear of standing out, the comparison, the doubts. I wanted to create a space where the artists I was meeting could
show up as their full, complicated selves, free from playing a particular “type”, free from the patriarchal conditioning that told them they had to be small, good, quiet, pleasing, pretty, flexible & accommodating in order to be accepted. Where they'd be free to make mistakes, explore, risk, fail, try things, try again, work it out, rehearse, play and be in process without having to worry about getting it right the first time. And I wanted them to be able to do all of this in front of the camera, so they could become more comfortable and confident owning who they are on screen. I wanted to facilitate skills building and strategizing with them about tools they could use to move through set backs and how to cultivate resilience in the face of rejection. I wanted to create a place where they could land, take off the armour, be vulnerable, be brave and make art about it.
But I also wanted to
learn practical skills and strategies for building confidence and resilience
AND where I could...
nurture an honest and consistent self reflection practice
AND where I could...
take off the armour, be vulnerable, be brave & make art about it
You do not have to sacrifice who you are to be a working actor. In fact, the more you understand who you are at your core and illuminate that unique essence, the more you will connect with the projects and roles that are right for you.
As artists, we need to take responsibility for ourselves as a whole. We need a resilient mindset, precise technique, a comprehensive understanding of the business and a thriving artistic practice.
It’s my hope that Enlivenment will be that space for you.