as an actor, i’m always dissecting myself, my experiences and my life so as to make myself better. when it comes down to it, there are hundreds of thousands of actors, all showing up to get their hands on relatively few jobs. only the best survive. not just the most talented, but the most resiliant, the most focused, the ones with most confidence, and self belief… and with those things, there often comes a certain energy… a swag i suppose. it’s the kind of energy one gives off when there is no desperation. there is no need to “show” how great you are. there is no false modesty. there is no “extra”. it’s just very “matter-of-fact”.
“i’m here. and i’m the best. you can pick who you like. you can think what you like. but anything other than me will be wrong. take it or leave it.”
i recently started shooting hoops at a local basketball court as a hobby. i think one of the greatest joys i’ve always had is trying new things and improving. that’s probably not just me, that’s everyone. when we get better at something, we’re more likely to enjoy it. and we always learn faster when we have someone to coach us. so when tanner freed himself from his busy schedule, i jumped at the chance to shoot a few hoops with him.
tanner anderson is a great friend of mine. we went through acting school together, and we’re currently doing the daily grind here in hollywood. however, tanner very nearly walked a different path. had things been a little different, he could very well have played professionally. he was THAT good. and while he may now be focused solely on the acting love in his life, there is no doubt in my mind that he brings something very special to the table. there is an inherent energy about him, a swagger that comes from being the best. you can bet your house his basketball days have given him a great gift.
so when we went down to the local courts the other day and walked towards the hoops i noticed tanner looking around. there was various groups of people playing 3v3, 5v5, etc. we were talking about acting, our careers, and what to have for lunch, but on the inside i could tell other stuff was going on. there was a familiarity about the courts. the dimensions, the ball in his hands, the quality of the courts, the skill of the players in the park. it’s hard to put into words, but if you’d seen this guy from afar, you’d have to stop an wonder “who the f**k is this guy?”. he strolled around the court like he owned the place. not so much with an arrogant air. but more an attitude that said “i’ve put my heart and my soul into this sport. and i’m the best f**king player here. and what?”. when we started shooting, he gave me a few basic pointers, and a few demonstrations. and through the session, my shooting got better. in fact, i’ll put it in writing that i beat him to 21 in a game we played… if you want to look at it on paper, for that 30 seconds, i beat the guy.
but that didn’t mean squat. not just because he’s injured and has barely touched a ball in the past two years (don’t worry tanner, i’d never let anyone think i beat you with any less than your entire right arm out of commission). his form, his confidence, his attitude. it was all there. regardless of whether the ball went into the hoop, you KNEW this guy was good. this ten minute block was no representation of the talent, skill, etc that he had. and he knew it. there was no need to impress. he just was. the energy and the swagger. it was all there.
and i got to thinking. the actors who get hired. that’s how it always goes. it’s never about the audition. no one ultimately cares if you crushed your audition for a 30s block. that’s what the amateurs do. they work as though if they get this 30 seconds JUST RIGHT… they’ll fool enough people into hiring them for a job. and sometimes that might happen. beginners luck. but the best? the BEST? they walk into a room, and it’s like there’s no one else for the job. there is no attachment, there is no desperation. there is just this self assured feeling. this swagger.
it brings me back to square one. it’s not about nailing the 30 seconds. it’s about beating on your craft and talent until you reach a point of skill that only comes from a full investment. all in.
then you get the swagger. and THEN, you get the power. and THEN… well you get whatever you want.
i finally went home. when i got off the plane in sydney, there was this familiarity that hit me. it was all so beautiful. i took pictures of trees, streets downtown, stores i’d been before. it was all stuff i’d already done, but it was all so beautiful again. now i remember what it was like to have a sense of urgency about things. i had a limited amount of time to do things. and it was all important. priorities had to be made, and compromises had to happen. but it was all so gorgeous. each person i met just filled me with this fuel. fuel for what, i didn’t know. but i was loving it.
suddenly, i got a little perspective. all the things that had been winding me up (without me even knowing it), released their grip.
“i have to be on tv right now”
“i need to have the perfect management team now”
“i have to have the pimpest apartment right now”
“i want guest stars right now”
hugging my mum. seeing my entire family again. playing golf with dad. seeing ollie and lloyd. angie, jess, ari. meeting all my nieces and being “uncle Ross”. they reminded me what the finest things in life feel like. and suddenly i didn’t have to be mr Hollywood for a moment. it’s not as though LA and hollywood are all trash, and it’s this horrible thing that’s eating away at me… it’s still my goal, my dream and my love. but without the best things in my life, there’s… well… there’s an absence of the best things in my life.
i’m going to try and make it home more often. since i’ve been back, i’ve had fewer things get under my skin. suddenly, i remember what’s important. i remember who i am, and where i’ve come from. and i remember my worth. i will say, that when i got off the plane in LA… it felt like home as well.
what started as a crazy pipe dream, and what started off as a little secret dream… has become my life that i live. and i feel like finally going home just hit a reset button; and now i have this fuel to fire me through 2014 in a way that i haven’t felt since 2009. everything is beautiful again. and while i’m grateful for everything, i’m hungry for more.
if one more person talks to me arbitrarily about the cold weather, i’m going to freak out. it’s pretty funny actually, i mean everyone’s thinking the same thing. you make eye contact with a complete stranger, and you just know that “man it’s cold” is about to come out of their mouth. i’ve been skipping the middle man and going straight to “yeah i know right?”.
this time last year, i said i’d spend 2013 exercising and eating well. after 12 months, i do feel fantastic. i think there’s huge satisfaction in knowing that i kept up with the exercise because of the discipline it takes. and so this year, i’ve decided to spend 2014 learning spanish. it’s such a beautiful language, and there’s no shortage of people at work who can help me out with it. baby steps 😀
also, i asked a girl out today. and got rejected pretty flatly. it’s not surprising seeing as i stumbled over my words and got so nervous i could barely stand still. it was face-palmingly, head shakingly awful. and yet i found it so freeing and funny. she had these really piercing eyes that just made me smile. the kind of eyes that just radiate fun. it’s been SO LONG since i’d actually tried asking girls out. but with the way i’ve been thinking lately, it’s the only direction i can take to get myself back on track and have a bit of fun. sitting at home has a pretty low percentage chance of meeting people. it’s weird though, there was so much fear there. but as soon as it was done, i was laughing about it by the time i got back to my car. and suddenly i realised there wasnt anything to be fearful of and i knew what i could do better for next time. i’m just rusty (of course i’m fucking rusty). but the fear is there, it always will be. but that’s what you walk towards!!
i suppose i need to get back into this to kill some of these parrots that are filling my head with this awful text i’ve been having lately about not being good enough, interesting enough, attractive enough, etc (actually there’s a whole lot more than that… but… that’s for another day). i was thinking i had to wait until i was “ready” or that i had to wait until i got some confidence back… but that comes with getting back on the horse. not sitting in the stands hating on your situation.
just warmin up 😉