Contributor – Lauren Schoepfer:
How To ‘Blossom’ as an Actor/Artist
In the newly released Romantic-Comedy (Rom-Com) hit, Crazy Rich Asians, there’s a scene (no plot spoilers here) where the characters gather around a Dragon Fruit Flower at a garden party to watch it bloom. Apparently, these flowers only bloom at night and their beauty is very fleeting. One of the characters points out that by dawn the beautiful flowers will be gone. So, the characters surround one of the plants to witness something very special… the precise moment of the plants’ FULL BLOSSOM.
As artists, it’s that moment of Full Blossom that we should all be striving for in our work – as well as in our lives. It’s that place of ultimate inner magnificence revealing itself. The tragic thing is, most people never reach their peak or highest potential (aka that exact moment of Full Blossom). People simply miss it! They miss it because they either aren’t hungry enough to strive for it, they have the desire to reach it but they don’t know how, or they’re not aware of this concept at all.
So, here are some notes from Coach Clay Banks Recent Master Class teaching that will help you better understand how to move in the direction of your moments of Full Blossom (also called, your Performance Zone!). And, yes, this can happen many more times than… once!
Complacency is Death.
So many people live their lives mostly in a comfort zone. I respectfully call this category of individuals, ‘Regular People’ or ‘Consumers’. Just about everything the Regular Person does during their daily life is simply a part of their pursuit for comfort. They work a job, so they can make money, so they can afford to buy things that bring comfort. Most of their focus is to live what is perceived to be a more comfortable lifestyle. And, where that may be perfectly fine for the Regular Person, it’s death for the Artist!
The job of the artist is to live and operate outside of the comfort zone. The Artist must dive deep into the richness of life and not look away when things become, let’s say, undesirable. When we rest in a pattern of what’s familiar, we’re openly inviting artistic death in. Living as an artist, when experienced correctly, is very risky business. However, you must take risks in order to make forward progress. And, with risks come the opportunity for failure. I say opportunity because the magic of life lies just beyond the mistake! And, if you’re not making mistakes, you’re dangerously far from experience real magical artistic living!
So, when The Artist does take a risk… and winds up failing, The Artist can then use this failure to fail forward into greatness. Growth requires failure! In contrast, those who strive for comfort and the all damaging attitude of perfection, shy away from risks because… they might fail. Failure is the byproduct of the war on complacency. You must never grow weary or tired of looking for opportunities to discover the new, take on the challenge and change things up!
Know What Works and Don’t Stop Doing It.
Your journey to Full Blossom will happen in stages and steps. When you let go of complacency and start taking risks you’ll begin to feel your growth. At this point, it’s import to take inventory of what it is that you’ve done that has fostered and fertilized this forward progress. Once you identify the specific things you’re doing that have gotten you to a higher level… DON’T STOP DOING THOSE THINGS!!!
This may seem like a no-brainer but I’ve watched far too many people ignore this rule far too many times… and it pains me to witness it. For example, I’ve watched so many actors come into my acting studio and work so hard making so much progress that they eventually begin booking better roles on better projects than they ever had before. Then… right when they start building just a little bit of momentum… they stop training! What!!?!!! Why stop training when it’s clear that the training is the reason they got to where they are now? This is plain ignorant, shortsightedness! “Don’t stop doing the things you did to get you where you want to be once you get there!”
It’s important to remember that just as a plant needs to be watered regularly, so does The Artist. So, ask yourself — what feeds you? What has fostered your personal growth and improvement? It’s so important to be able to recognize the difference between patterns and habits that create complacency and those patterns and habits that you need to remain consistent in so that you can continue to grow in the direction of your dreams.
Learn to Create the Performance Zone.
Have you ever had an experience that launches you immediately into a place of heightened sensitivity and awareness? Think about that moment on the road when someone swerved into your lane unexpectedly and you narrowly avoided getting in an accident. Or, the moment when you reach for your wallet and it’s not where it should be. Those moments of brief panic or, off-balanced moments, create a response in you that allows you to operate temporarily on a plane that exists above the norm, or comfort zone. Now, as artists’ I’m not saying you need to operate out of panic necessarily, but instead you want to operate in the Performance Zone! The Performance Zone is that place different from the usual place, somewhere just outside of that heightened panicked place and far from the normal Comfort Zone. The Performance Zone is that “buzz” you get right after the panic has passed and all that’s left is that heightened sense of awareness and focus that lingers and eventually fades until you are fully recovered.
As an artist not only must you create out of this Performance Zone but you must learn how to LIVE in this zone. You must learn to CREATE this zone on demand – to OPERATE in your Performance Zone. It can’t just be something that happens to you on a whim, you must learn to generate it at will, then operate out of it. Think – the audition process. You’ve got to ‘hit it’ right away, every time. Or, at least every time you want to make a serious impression.
Think of a wire with electricity running through it. Most wires have rubber or plastic insulation wrapped around them so you don’t get shocked. But a “live wire” that has had the insulation stripped off is buzzing with energy, out of control and dangerous! But, if you think about it, actors/artists need to be like a wire – live electricity running through their veins! And, at a moment’s notice, they should be able, at will, to pull back the insulation and allow all that energy to shock or transfer to anyone or anything nearby!
If you’re an actor, and you want to create interesting characters you must learn how to activate the bright and interesting in yourself. How? Well, that’s where training comes in. When you find a third eye, a coach, with an objective perspective and insight into these phenomenal arenas, we can help you find what activates you. A coach can help you get to the next level and objectively guide you to your moment of fullest blossom. Then, when not under the watchful eye of your coach, you’re able to go out and live in the Performance Zone, the off-balanced moments that ignite you! Be willing to let go of control and remain open to surprises. Always pay attention to what’s fresh and alive around you and let it affect you. It’s out there for you every day! Just open your eyes and allow!
If any of this intrigues you and you want to blossom in a way that deserves an audience (like the garden party in Crazy Rich Asians) then you must remember to avoid habitual comfort zones, reject complacency, recognize what works, and learn to create your own Performance Zone moments!’