by: Natalie Lipka
One of my favorite parts about making spaghetti happens after my ten minute timer goes off. I use my slotted spoon to take out a few of the noodles then I pick them up and throw them on the wall to see if they stick. As you know, if it sticks, it’s ready to eat! I have a confession to make. When I started out in this business, this is basically how I went about pursuing my acting career. Much of it has been just like making pasta. But then I realized: I don’t want to be a spaghetti thrower! Yes, I believe there is trial and error involved when navigating this business, but what I try to remember is to be more direct and to put more thought into my approach. Here are three non-noodle throwing tips that I want to share that have helped me on my journey.
Woody Allen says, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” I couldn’t agree more. I showed up to acting class. As a result, one of my classmates asked me to do a reading for a feature film without even auditioning because our class work had given him an idea of what I was capable of. I showed up to a callback. As a result, I was there when someone else didn’t show up and I got called in to audition for a different part that I was better suited for and booked it. I showed up to my “day job”. As a result, I waited on an agent who gave me her card and asked me to call her to set up a meeting. Yes, all of these things have happened to me and so many more all because I showed up and was ready and open for the opportunity to present itself.
Be yourself. This is advice that I have been told over and over again and it still holds true. There is only one you and that is what you have that is different from everyone else. I have spent a lot of time on my journey wondering what the industry wants from me. Should I do this, should I do that? If I say this, how will they take it? Then, I finally realized something really important — something my heart knew all along. We never know how they are going to respond. And if we sit there and are so busy trying to guess, we may miss out on real present moment opportunities. Instead we have to take a chance. And I find that as long as I am sincere, true to myself and respectful, no matter what the outcome is, I have done my job.
If people don’t know who you are, how will they ever be able to cast you? Social media is a prime place in which to do this. I used to fight this step, for me self-promotion never came easy. But eventually I set up that Twitter account and Facebook pro page. Think about it, these outlets are completely free and, in our current digital age, a totally acceptable way to connect with people in the industry. I know I spend enough money as an actor on things like classes, headshots and casting websites. Why then would I not use these essentially free online marketing services? Think about the things you want your followers to know. Don’t make up things, share the truth about you. One of my favorite parts is that social media not only gives me the ability to share things about myself (like pictures of me on Hollywood Close-Up) but I also get to support my peers at the same time. I love retweeting info for someone I follow, whether it is an event, play or TV appearance or, better yet, taking pictures at the event and tagging them in it to share in the promotion. This step can make a difference for your career and for all of the good people around you who are also “coming up”.
Throwing spaghetti at a wall is fun for me, but can get messy. Sometimes, if the pasta isn’t done after numerous tries, it ends up on the floor. I’m not saying that it’s not OK to get messy, I’m just trying to keep my work and focus on it as clean as possible.
Got any non-spaghetti throwing tips to add to my wall?