By Sarah Louise Lilley, actress
Sarah Louise Lilley is on a mission to be brave and visible as she creates an abundant acting career. I’m so inspired by her commitment to her career (and life!) that I invited Sarah to share her insights periodically on my blog.
This is her first post. I hope you enjoy it.
A while ago, I got to hear Dallas help one of my wonderful TAC Family members named Ashley up her game on the marketing front.
Ashley’s goal is to book a standout role in a Marvel film. Dallas’s first question was, “What are you doing to achieve this goal?” Ashley listed, among other things, perfecting her craft, getting in top physical shape and taking new headshots. After asking permission to be tough on her, Dallas replied, “You are not contacting anyone who is in a position to hire you. You are stuck ‘preparing to get ready to begin,’ doing endless prep, but not taking the bold actions that will get you results.” She encouraged Ashley to jump, to fly before she felt “ready.” Dallas suggested looking up the power players (producers, directors, casting directors) in the Marvel universe and then reaching out to them regularly via snail mail or email.
Then came the game changer…
Ashley’s favorite Marvel character is Captain America. Dallas inquired, “How would Captain America approach getting a role he wanted? What would Captain America do?” Duh! He would take bold, brave action… he is a SUPERHERO! Maybe he would ask to intern at Marvel’s casting office and illustrating his passion and work ethic. Maybe he would write a heartfelt letter to the executive producer. Dallas wrapped up the conversation by saying that whether or not Ashley got cast, the goal was to be able to say a year from now, she did everything she could possibly do to connect to that project!
There are so many “easy” actions that we can take as actors that keep us busy and make us feel productive – reformatting our resumes, re-editing our reels, or taking a class. These are all great actions, but as Dallas said, it is all preparation or “getting ready.” I have Type-A tendencies; I like having all my ducks in a row, but it’s so easy to get seduced by those steps instead of taking bigger, bolder action. Dallas’ advice is very freeing. Just jump! Stop waiting till everything is perfect. Get out of prep mode and into action.
I also LOVE the mindset shift of embodying your favorite superhero. Stepping into their shoes and imagining what they would do allows you to think bigger and expands what is possible. It frees you to easily channel courage and power.
As I look at my career to-do list, I realize there is opportunity for me to take bolder action and reach out more to decision makers (though my new re-formatted resume really does look awesome!) I used to regularly reach out to directors I admired, to ask for a 10-minute phone meeting. I’ve fallen out of that habit but I will recommit to that action.
I’m not particularly a superhero fan (apologies Ashley). I don’t really have a favorite superhero. (Does Khaleesi in Game of Thrones count?) But I do have plenty of sheroes in the business. The first one that comes to mind is the powerhouse, Mariska Hargitay. A TV icon, all around bad-ass, mom, wife, actress, producer, director, fierce advocate, and philanthropist. As I approach my acting goals, I’m going to ask, what would Mariska Hargitay do? How would she approach this? What action would she take? I can already feel the ease that this will bring.
What decision makers will you reach out to? Who is your Captain America? Whose power can you channel so you can take bold and fearless action?
Connect with Sarah at www.sarahlouiselilley.com.