This post is sponsored by KIWI®, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
For those of you who don’t know, a critical time in an LA actor’s life is just finishing up. It’s called “pilot season”, it happens once a year and it is a two month window for auditions that just may land you a spot on primetime TV that year. Lots of actors from all over the world come to LA for pilot season on top of the tens of thousands already living here, a handful of TV show pilots for each major network are cast from those actors and from there only a select few of those shows actually make it to air on television… needless to say, it’s tough competition to land one of those coveted spots. With that, of course, comes a boatload of feels that can not only throw off your game but can send your life off kilter too; stress, anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt, negativity… and the list of unpleasant feelings goes on. People think the life of an actor is silly or glamorous or whatever else but during pilot season, an actor’s perseverance, strength and hard work ethic are all put to the test in a serious way.
A big part of getting ready for an audition is not just acting the part but looking the part, too. Dressing in a way contrary to the character can distract a casting director from envisioning you as the one for the job. I always leave a good chunk of time to get creative aesthetically before I walk out the door because when you audition, you are figuratively stepping into someone else’s shoes and it helps to literally do the same! Well, not literally someone else’s because that’d be weird but your own shoes and clothes that you wouldn’t necessarily put together as an outfit in your own life. We had a rare rain season in LA that conveniently lasted right through pilot season so to help make sure I looked my best when I arrived at each audition, I relied on KIWI Protect-All spray to guard my shoes from the elements and extend their life in any weather! With KIWI Shoe Care protecting my feet and a handy, dandy umbrella protecting my hair and makeup, I was always ready to brave the stormy weather.
Braving pilot season however, was down to me…
I took a two year break after a consecutive decade-long run on two TV shows to mentally gather myself, live a little and regain a fresh perspective. While I’m glad I did for my personal growth, it certainly made re-entering entertainment more difficult than it would have been had I continued on my streak of success. Lucky for me, I decided to start 2017 stronger, better, wiser and more positive than ever before and was determined to not let internal or external negativity hold me back. I believe perspective is a choice and it’s typically the most important one you can make. I chose to start the year with a perspective that would allow me to push myself out of my comfort zone, put the work in and leave the ego out of the equation. What that looked like for me was signing up for an acting class, something I’ve never done before.
Cue heavenly music as a soft, smoky spotlight shines down on a bossy lady acting coach I was lucky enough to hear about last minute. While I had no clue or intention walking into itat the time, this boss lady’s acting class would provide me with more tools needed for my journey of positivity for 2017, pilot season chaos included! Leigh’s theory for auditioning was all about positivity and if you aren’t an actor, listen close because this all applies to you too! —PS. I won’t give away too much here because she’s active and hardworking and is well worth a few hard earned dollars if you are looking for an acting coach but I will give you little samplers for the purposes of this post.
- Find the wonderment you have about things when you’re young and don’t have the stress of survival in the forefront of your mind.
- Radiate love and positive energy to others for the sole purpose of sharing it without expecting anything in return, especially in times when you would typically feel competitive, intimidated or insecure.
- Trust yourself and be present when you are at an audition, an interview, or even at work. Trust that you have done what you could and needed to do so you can let go of the worry about the end result or the neuroses about your preparation and just be present.
- Say “so what?” in the face of the inner critics that spin circles around you in your head… you’ll find there is never an answer to that simple rhetorical question and the significance ofthose critical thoughts will dissipate immediately.
Now, I’ll tell ya… it may be coincidence but methinks not… I booked a new TV series but that was just the icing on the cake! The real victory was that I had an incredibly positive experience both professionally and personally this pilot season and my positive perspective could very well be behind all of the above! I believe you get back from the universe what you put into it and while it seems like such a simple, small thing to just feel good and be positive, it’s a hugely important goal to have. It’s hard not to focus on achieving and receiving these grand accomplishments and opportunities but when you scale it back and focus on internal goals like maintaining a positive perspective and being present, you never know how the universe will pay it forward down the line! I survived pilot season with a smile on my face and in my world, that is a mission accomplished and certainly a reason to #WalkWithPride!
Shenae Grimes-Beech is an actor and YouTuber with a highly engaged community of like-minded women who are here to stand up for what they believe in and lean into discomfort, especially when it means doing the right thing.