Don’t Get Lost – Invent Your Own Path

by: Natalie Lipka

The entertainment industry is constantly changing.  It’s easy as an actor to get lost in this business. Unlike many other professions, there is no real rule book or road map that can guarantee that you will reach your destination. For me I am constantly re-routing: deciding if I should make a left or a right.  I hear a new piece of information about the business almost every day and have to determine whether it is something I agree with or not.  

Along this journey so far I have found something important to be true: the one and only real thing you can count on to get you to where you want to be is you.  You are your own road map.  This is your trip and you are the only one who can take it.  And with all of the choices I’ve had to make on my journey, I am thankful for the people and experiences who have guided me along the way as I have been making important decisions. I have been my road map, but they have helped give me the strength to stay on this path.  Those that have lent a hand, a listening ear or just let me cry in front of them until I figured something out, these people are important and a constant reminder that staying on my own path is exactly where I am supposed to be.  

I recently reconnected with my very first acting teacher.  He was the professor that I broke down to when I first realized I wanted to pursue acting “for real” requiring me to leave my home in Jersey and move to Los Angeles. This professor’s support in this business still means the world to me to this day. I can remember telling him I was going to move to LA. He never tried to talk me out of it.  He just encouraged me to follow my path.

Be Encouraged.
As an actor, I really enjoy getting feedback  and when I don’t get it, it’s hard.  In the audition room (which we all put ourselves in as often as possible) the feedback is sometimes scarce.  That is why it is so important to strengthen ourselves instead of constantly questioning ourselves.  We need to think back on the times when people, such as my professor, encouraged us and use that positive energy to move forward.   

Be Kind.
I find that occasionally I get really down on myself about an audition or a meeting.  It sometimes becomes self deprecating.  I say things to myself that I would never say to another human being.  Why do I do this? I have no idea.  So included on my road map on my path, I practice kindness as much as I can.  I start with myself, for if I’m not kind to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be?

Let It Go.
Some of the best advice I ever heard was at a SAG Foundation Conversations event. I believe it was Bryan Cranston who told us that after each audition, he throws his sides in the trash.  He doesn’t hold on to them.  He physically lets them go and he allows himself to move on.  This is something to remember.  The only way we can really get ourselves to move forward on our path is by letting go of the things that aren’t in our control.  We need to go in, do our best work in the audition and then we need to let it go.  Because the rest is not in our control.

What things help you to invent and stay on your own path?