This is a re-post of my Backstage Take 5 column from September 2008
September 1, 2008
Can summer really be over already? In August, our Take Five actors do some networking, table reading, casting workshops, commercial callbacks — and hitting the wall.
The Wall: Everyone hits it. In my marathon training it was mile 18. In my acting career it was the month of August. The wall is legendary. Runners usually hit it around mile 20. It’s the point where your physical body weakens, your spirit sags, and the will to go on falls from you with every drop of sweat. It’s a moment of being completely overwhelmed ? when you lose sight of hope, you begin to ask yourself, “Why am I even doing this?” and you want to give up.
August was a wall for me. Yeah, I’m going to be that honest. Hey, I signed up for this thing; I can sit here and write some feel-good nonsense, or I can share the truth with you. I opt for the truth.
The truth is: I’m broke, my survival job is no longer paying the bills, debt is growing greater, my acting mentor is in the hospital with severe head trauma and it’s not known when he will recover, I seriously botched more than one audition, and I found out how some of my family really feels about my pursuit of this dream and it hurt.
I don’t share those things with you for your pity. I choose to share them because I know that I am not the only actor who has felt these feelings at one time or another. Writing these columns each month is a bittersweet challenge. It asks me to take a truthful look at my life and have the courage to share it with you.
When I hit mile 18, I had a choice. I could have thrown in the towel and quit right then. I mean, come on: I ran 18 miles. No one would fault me for wanting to quit. How many other people have run 18 miles in one shot? Well, I didn’t give up, and that’s in part thanks to my iPod and Matchbox Twenty. I’m being honest again. It was right about that time that the song “How Far We’ve Come” came on, and I broke into tears, literally. In that moment I was reminded that just four months ago I could hardly run six miles, and here I was about to finish running 18, literally.
Sept. 1 marks the two-year anniversary of my migration from Virginia to California with my wife, Erica. When I take a moment and look at what all has happened in my life in the last 104 weeks, I am overwhelmed at “how far we’ve come.” I’m not done yet. August taught me who my real fans are and how lucky I am to have a running partner in Erica.
So whether you are just starting on this run or you’ve already made it through your wall ? as someone who is pushing through and beginning to see the relief on the other side ? hang in there. You can do it. And if you feel like you have no one cheering you on and no one believing that you can make it, know that I do. I want to see you at the finish line.
This is a re-post of my Backstage Take 5 column for August 2008
August 1, 2008
by Nicole Kristal
In July, our happy — and hot — Take Five actors in Los Angeles face some inevitable transitions, embrace change, go back to their roots of inspiration, and find themselves surprisingly starstruck!
Run Your Own Race: To continue last month’s marathon metaphor, I have learned a couple more career lessons on the training road in July. In running a marathon, I’m trained to measure progress by my own personal performance and not by comparing myself to someone else. Everyone is running his or her own race. This month a very close friend of mine booked a national commercial and a meaty co-star role on one of my favorite episodics. Did I mention it all happened on the same day? I immediately started comparing my own success to hers.
“Why didn’t this happen for me?” “What am I doing wrong?” Then, my marathon training kicked in, and I realized: I don’t run an eight-minute mile. For me to be hard on myself when I don’t finish with the same splits — definition below — as someone else is wasted energy. So is comparing the progress of my acting career by looking at someone else’s. From now on I’m going to run my own race, be proud of and accept the accomplishments that I make, and cheer like crazy when one of my fellow “runners” has a big win. Way to go, Kellie!
During the week, I am running three out of five days for a minimum of one hour each day. On the weekends, we have our “long days” that are beginning to get longer and longer. If I don’t put in the miles during the week, I am hurting on Saturdays. The same plays out in my acting. This is a career and lifestyle choice that never stops. As an actor, I have to be ready at a moment’s notice to perform at the height of my potential. If I’m not, someone else is and they book the job. This month I attended a fantastic three-day workshop on training for success. Success is simple, but it’s not easy. Every day there are practical things that I can do to “put in the miles” for my acting career to strengthen me for the “long days” to come. In running, your split is the time it takes you to run each mile. “Watching your splits” keeps you running your own pace and on track for finishing in the time you want. Here are my splits for my acting in July: We had a continued successful run of Refuge From the Storm at the Actors Group Theatre, I had three theatrical auditions and one callback, I worked one day on The Young and the Restless, I signed with a commercial agent, I continued to volunteer at the SAG Foundation, and I met new casting directors. See you on the road in August.