I think I have to start this off by confirming that, yes, I’m out of my mind. I am crazy enough to believe in myself and believe that I deserve to dream wild, ridiculous dreams without any regard to what’s “socially acceptable”. Now that sounds dangerous, but I believe that if you are willing to find a way to get your work ethic to match your wild dreams, you might just find something special. Delusional would be to believe that I deserve a lead role in an Oscar-winning film by just simply sitting on my ass and farting it into existence. Reality is knowing that I’m not the smartest, most naturally talented person in the world and I have to find a way to realistically achieve those goals. I can’t say this often enough– in NYC I’ve met and been around some of the most incredible, inspiring artists/human beings, and every second that I’m with them in the theater, in class, in life, I’m trying to soak in as much as I can.
You know the whole “It takes a village…” talk, it works. I can’t count how many times I’ve made a complete awkward fool of myself trying to honestly ask for help. Most of the time, I’ll probably say something stupid, impatiently wait for the perfect answer and/or creep people out. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world. I’m not perfect, I know that, but I’d rather take the risk of letting people know where I’m at than beat myself up for not speaking from my heart. There’s a lesson to learn with every risk you take and somewhere down the line, if you can prove that you are genuine, you might just find some of the answers you are looking for. Someone will see the real you and do their best to help.
This quote is from the greatest fortune cookie I’ve ever gotten. Although at the time I used it to hit on a girl named Patience in my high school, I think this principle applies to everything I have to say. Have patience, because becoming the artist/person you want to be takes time. In the same vein, asking for help is an immediate action– but the right answer takes time. Don’t pull on strings that aren’t ready to be pulled. Don’t go up to the successful actor with the incredible agent, when you don’t have a credit to your name, and demand that they get you a meeting. When the time is right, things will work themselves out. In the past two years, I beat myself into my first real fit of depression obsessing over what could have been, only to realize that all those jobs I didn’t get, led me to be prepared for the fair shot I finally got with this show, my current project [the BBC One television series "My Mother and Other Strangers"].
We can call this “Part One” of my over-the-top self-help, Tony Robbins rant, but the truth is I don’t have all the answers. As performers, WE DON’T KNOW. That’s the beauty of the journey. Only you can see through the lens you’ve been given. Enjoy it. Take the pain, the joy, the struggle and add it to your arsenal of life experience. If you’ve made it this far into this article, I’m proud of you (hell, I’m proud of myself). This is much less of a how-to guide and more of the kind of advice I have always looked for. I wear my heart on my sleeve to provide hope that if a random kid from San Antonio, Texas, with absolutely no connections, with no reason to succeed more than anyone else, can stubbornly decide to live his dream…you can too.