For personal reasons, I spend a lot of time in Italy throughout the year. When I went to New York from Italy to study and work the last time, I was more focused than I had been in the past. I had more clarity about what I wanted, about who I was as an actor, about my capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. I did a SWOT self-analysis (which you can see in more detail on the website actingcareerstartup.com) and I was as honest and as forthright with myself as possible. I also asked myself and answered the questions that helped me to see my vision for the future of my life as well as with regard to my long-term acting goal. Then, I got even more specific and asked myself a series of questions designed to help me clarify my short-term acting career goals. This article is about the 15 questions I asked myself to help me clarify my long-term goals. Here they are:
1. Where would you like to be five years from now? What will your life be like? Visualize it. Think about where you will be living, what kind of job you will have (acting job that it is! If that’s really what you want.).
2. How much would you like to earn? Be specific.
3. How does acting fit into the overall scope of your life? Do you want it to be the way you earn a living or will it provide the necessary skills to do something else, like speak in public, achieve greater self-confidence, integrate into training seminars, etc.)
4. What kind of acting career do you want? What genre are you particularly interested in? (film, tv, theatre, daytime, prime-time, etc.)
5. What kinds of roles do you see yourself interpreting? What type are you? Doctor, housewife, tough guy, evil witch, ivory soap girl, detective, etc.?
6. Is there a particular type of show, program, sit-com that you can identify with and would like to be part of?
7. What kinds of people will you need to surround yourself with who will be able to help you achieve your goal? Do you know anyone like that now who can help you and who you would like to take with you on this journey?
8. What resources will you need to reach that goal that you don’t currently have (financial, character traits, skills, contacts)?
9. Where will you be living?
10. How will you promote yourself?
11. How will you keep in contact with casting directors and agents and other industry professionals?
12. How will you find acting work?
13. How will you compliment the work that your agent is doing? In other words, what will you do to promote yourself aside from what he or she will already be doing for you?
14. What will you do to promote yourself in a way that is different than most of the other actors?
15. What kind of person will you need to become in order to achieve what you want? In other words, what characteristics will you have in the future that you don’t have now that will help you get where you are going?
Asking these questions for starters is part of a proven method of goal achievement, that can be applied to any career. It’s what I learned in my life as a corporate senior manager in Nike and Levi’s. It’s what has helped me over the years to achieve goals over and over again. It’s what has helped me thus far in my new endeavors as an entrepreneur, writer, motivational speaker and actor, having done film, television, industrials, voice-over, commercial work. Going through these crucial first steps can seem like a waste of time, but it’s all about positioning yourself for success. Having said that, I will leave you with a quote from Abraham Lincoln who once said:
“If I had three hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first hour sharpening the axe.”
In the next article, I will talk about getting even closer, by asking yourself very specific short-term acting career goal questions.