This is a re-post of my Backstage Take 5 column from July 2008
July 1, 2008
by Nicole Kristal
In June, our Take Five actors in Los Angeles had to face the summer. There was eye-opening travel, good fortune meeting good preparation, and a bit of looming burnout.
Watch Your Pace
I get this note almost every weekend. Bert, one of our trainers, is concerned that I’m going to “go out too fast” and then not be able to finish the race strong. As someone who is dedicated, determined, and stubborn, I have a difficult time taking this advice. I want to go, go, go and tackle this thing with everything I have. I want to be the best. I want to finish first. I can say the same thing about my acting career. I’m always looking for the next thing, the next project, the next class, the next workshop that’s going to get me to my goal quicker.
But in respecting the distance, quicker is not always better. Just as I am really doing myself a disservice by taking a quicker pace at the beginning of my run, only to feel the effects of diminished strength, dehydration, and pain later on, I’m not respecting the distance of pursuing this career by trying to tackle it at breakneck speed. If I was only in L.A. for pilot season — if that really exists anymore — then fine, sprint and do it all. But this is a lifestyle choice for me, and I am committing to it for my career. I have to learn to slow down, watch my pace, and respect the distance.
The Mental Race
There’s a point in training for a marathon where you feel like you can’t take another step. However, if you stop listening to that little voice in your head telling you that you can’t, and you focus on your breathing and just keep moving, suddenly you find yourself not only going farther but also getting stronger in the process. This month I had moments where I felt like I couldn’t go any further. I was emotionally drained, frustrated, and just plain ol’ tired. So instead of giving in, I chose to be present and let go of that voice in my head and just did those things that needed to be done. I sent out the packets to agents, made follow-up calls to CDs I’ve met, worked on my preparation and memorization skills, went to rehearsals and auditions. I focused on the seemingly small things that I could directly affect and let everything else just happen — not superglamorous or exciting, but neither is the distance between mile six and eight; it’s just part of the race.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
As an artist I must replenish my creative self. Each role I take on allows me to tap into the emotional richness that is uniquely me. However, tapping into that source can eventually drain the supply. So in July I am going to put some focus on hydrating my soul — finding those moments that replenish my spirit and inspire me creatively. I hope you can find some too.