Where's your line?
How do you create what you do, how you do it, how you are seen, how you are heard, without being over-saturated by opinion, idea, influence and more?
Everybody has an opinion: on your voice, your head shot, your resume format, your audition material, your type, your fach, your place in the business, who you should be seen by, who you should be managed by...
Are you tired yet?
I love what I do. I love singing and acting and creating; I love helping singing find their voices, and helping them develop what is truly theirs to embody and own.
The rest? Fatigues me too.
Everybody has an opinion. Even the so-called "experts". How you do you riddle it out? Who do you believe? How do you navigate this crazy thing called "show business" in any genre?
Oh, if I had the magic answer to THAT, I would be offering scholarships left, right and center!
But, how do you? What do you?
At the end of the day, knowing everybody has an opinion, and it doesn't have to be taken personally, even though it feels personal, is crucial.
Trusting your gut, watching for red flags, is absolutely crucial. You may not even KNOW what you need to do, but often you know what NOT to do, or what NOT to listen to.
Trying to keep a cool head when collecting information, even if it sparks your passion, is probably an important idea to consider.
Even my FATHER told me that when I left his care and went out on my own, I would then decide what I would take with me and what I would discard, to begin to create my own way.
So it should be, in the business of you.
Yes, collect ideas. Accept them as the information they are, but in doing so, does not mean you have to take them in and make that change.
Here's something else: sometimes people will say you need something else, something new, something different, but they won't say what that something is. Red flag. If they can't say why and give you a tangible, then it's not that urgent. It may be something to file away to consider later when you have more information. It isn't the time to make a big change "just because".
I see many performers "trying too hard" and wanting to do the right thing, by simply forgetting that their gut, their sense of self, their compass, is strong enough to trust FIRST, before allowing someone else make a decision about their sound, their craft, their presence.
And, on the other side, I see performers who perhaps fell for that "trying to please", and are now exhausted, jaded and won't trust at all.
There has to be somewhere in the middle. There has to be a little bit of openness to hear a suggestion, with a little bit of query that will ask why.
If we aren't asking why, we won't differentiate between those who are truly trying to help and support us, with those who are simply trying to exploit us.
Yes, every casting director, every artistic director, will want to see/hear something differently. They have their likes and their pet peeves. Do your research and know what makes the best sense to present while in that particular room. It doesn't mean you change YOU. It means you dress it a little differently; you approach it a little differently; you bend it a particular way, to catch the eye of who is observing.
It's not all or nothing! How do you adjust without completely feeling like you have to redo? An overhaul - be it repertoire, head shots, type, website, and more - doesn't have to be constant. You need time and attention to inhabit what you are, who you are, why you are in order to discover the subtle effects of you in any given situation. If you changed every time someone told you they didn't like something, it would never feel authentic!
Because it's not coming from YOU. The outside influence can be felt and explored, but at the end of the day, it's about what is coming from YOU. What do you want to reveal? Who do you want to be? Why are you there? Where do you want to go? How do you want to approach it all?
So, collect the information. Try things on. See how opinions fit, or don't. An opinion is not a fact FOR YOU. At least, not necessarily. Take it under advisement. Live with it for a bit, if it feels like it might resonate, but don't commit to anything until you've done some exploration.
I say it again: TRUST. YOUR. GUT.
You may not even have the knowledge yet, as to why, but trust what your gut gives you. Don't dismiss it.
Even when it feels right, don't jump immediately. Take a minute. Breathe.
At the end of the day, YOU have to be the lead on this. Nobody else, but you.
Discover who you trust and why; Explore many options and collect ongoing information to give you all possibilities.
Then, be you. live you. breathe you.
Nobody knows you, like you. We want to see and experience YOU.
So, where's your line? When's your "enough"? You got this. You really do.
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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