Comma Vs. Period

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When someone asks you what you do, how confident are you in your answer? When I get this question, my typical response is, “I’m an actor, but I used to be a full time teacher.” As I confess this, I’m immediately embarrassed. It feels so silly! Why is “I’m an actor.” not enough? Furthermore, when people who already know I’m an actor ask what I’m working on, my go-to response is either “Uhh . . .” or “Nothing.” Again, I’m embarrassed. These weak responses are half-ass apologies for my existence, and it’s gotta stop.


I recently received an email from a colleague of mine, and in his signature after his name, he writes, “What’s coming up?” along with three projects he’s currently working on. GENIUS.


I’d like to take this a step further and challenge you (and me) to write all current and upcoming projects on a piece of paper and put it somewhere visible: your bedroom wall, fridge, car, bathroom mirror, etc. I started writing my work down on a chalkboard in my room, so it’s something I see every morning. Furthermore, I stole my friend’s idea and include these items in my email signature, along with the home page of my website.


When we are reminded of all we are doing (and we are doing a lot: performing / rehearsing shows, auditioning, taking classes, reading books, writing blogs – these all count!), we will be more likely to remember these projects when asked that terribly wonderful question, “So what are you working on now?” The truth is, this question comes up a lot, and we are doing no one any favors by apologetically blowing it off.


Note what you are doing and be prepared and excited to tell people about it!


Finally . . .


Trust that you are enough.


Don’t put a comma after “I am an actor.” When I was a student at Knox College, the president at the time, Roger Taylor, concluded each of his speeches like this:


Roger: When someone asks where you went to college, are you gonna look down at your shoes and say, “Oh, a small place you’ve probably never heard of.”?


Students: NO!


Roger: What are you gonna say?




Yes, it was very “Rydell High Pep Assembly” cheesy of him, but we ate it up.


The same goes for being an actor. Be proud of who you are, where you come from, and what you do. Think about all the time, money, sacrifices, and risks that have gone into giving you the right to call yourself an actor (period). That’s huge. Own it. Be proud of it. Trust that you are enough.


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Your turn! How do you react when someone asks “What do you do?” I’d love to hear about it! Tweet me or leave a comment on Facebook!