The Importance of Challenging Your Comfort Zone

Fish Outta School

Acting is very much like playing poker. If you intend to play, if you hope to win, you need to play your hand well, and you need to risk.

Yet, far too many talent kill a perfectly wonderful opportunities to create by second-guessing what little direction they are given. It’s a strange conundrum. It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to risk, even from talent who aren’t necessarily all that risk-averse.

Still this reaction happens far too frequently with perfectly remarkable talent. Perfectly capable, creative talent completely shutting down at the very moment when they need to act!

So, what gives?

Don’t tell us what you’re going to do—just DO IT. (There’s a reason why it’s called acting). Don’t assume the copy (the script) is broken simply because you don’t understand it yet. If you don’t get it yet, either read it out loud until you do, or, now here’s a novel idea, ASK! If there’s anything to get, I’m certain they’d be happy to tell you.

Go ahead and work through the first few cold reads in the lobby, bathroom, or greenroom, but whatever you do, play with the copy! Get it on its feet. Challenge your comfort zone! Don’t sit and wait for someone to hold your hand and lead you. It’ll never happen. The truth is we get precious little direction. In fact, consistently over the years when asked whether they know what they are looking for, better than 90% of those likely to hire you as an actor claim, “I’ll know it when I see it.” Which means you better get busy and create something dynamic.

Quit worrying about whether you might “go too far”. I’d be willing to bet everything that’s not a threat.  In fact, it’s far more likely you won’t go far enough.

Consider all the times you’ve landed the job. Think about it. You challenged your comfort zone. In fact you blasted passed it and surprised even yourself, right? Of course you did. THAT’S how you booked the job! You allowed yourself to create something exceptional.  You took a risk and allowed yourself the indulgence of playing well past that narrow margin you had previously been attempting to shoehorn yourself into.

If you hope to accomplish anything in life, let alone in this industry, you owe it to yourself to open yourself up to the unknown. Take an 8,000 foot dive into a Dixie cup! You may just discover the water’s warm and you’re able to do the backstroke once you’re there. But first, you must take a great leap of faith. This doesn’t come about by playing it safe.

The more you challenge your comfort zone, the more your confidence will grow. The more your confidence grows, the more you discover. The more you discover, the more valuable you become! This is how you become a consummate professional: by making agility the cornerstone of your comfort zone.

Mastering a handful of remarkable techniques prepares you to continually challenge your comfort zone, develop greater dexterity, versatility, and agility that sets you apart from the masses by being the most valuable thing you can be: your self!

You’re capable of a limitless number of exceptional deliveries. Make it your mission at the onset of every audition and every session to discover just a few of them on the spot by means of play.

If you are interested, you are interesting… not the other way around. Funny how that works.

Copyright © 2018 by Kate McClanaghan. All Rights Reserved.