Five Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Sooner
Georgia Tuohey gives us her list of things she wishes she’d known about acting sooner…
Sometimes it feels like there are so many things to remember as a performer that don’t directly relate to any actual performing. Like, whose shift you said you’d cover in return for going to an audition, starting that database of acting contacts you have been meaning to create and just the general up keep of your wellbeing, career goals, relationships, finances and personality…
There are moments when you feel like just dropping your bags in the middle of the street and cackling to the clouds, because it’s all got slightly overwhelming. You know, I think that’s absolutely ok.
If you’re having a ‘what is actually happening?’ moment, here are some things I wish I was told a little sooner on my theatrical journey…
Other performers are your support network
Not the enemy. It’s so easy to scroll through social media and see what everyone else is getting up to, all the rehearsals and auditions other people seem to be going to that you aren’t, and all the posts that justify what a wonderful time they are having on their own journey into the industry.
I had this obsession for some time, strangely enjoying seeking out what other people were up to so I could sit and get on my own nerves and wonder why nothing was happening for me. Maybe if I stopped scrolling, it would.
I absolutely had to snap out of this one and realise that other people’s success is a cause for celebration! There is room for all of us in the industry and supporting each other will enable us to lift each other’s confidence, move forward positively and maybe even collaborate on something new.
Switching focus and sharing your journey with fellow performers can really help to remind you, you’re not in this alone and we are all figuring it out together.
Having a life is important
It can be difficult to find a balance, especially with the uncertainty of our industry. It can leave you feeling like you lack any direction for your life. This is when having a life outside it all is so important.
I always defined my happiness with how well I was doing in my career. I’d often feel guilty about going out with friends and having fun, because I hadn’t achieved anything amazing that day warranting a celebration of any kind. It became tiring to be constantly looking to the future for happiness and approval, rather than enjoying where I was already at.
I saw this recent video of actor Russell Tovey, where he spoke about the importance of friends, family and other experiences outside of performing, which can give you more focus. Things like going to the gym, learning to play an instrument or that blog you wanted to start. You can use these other life experiences and draw on them for acting. Allow yourself to chill and have fun! You have to have time off even from the things you love the most.
Have a positive financial attitude
Aaaaaahhhh the money goes in, it comes straight out. What can I sell on eBay?!
Growing up, there was always a negativity surrounding money that came from my parents’ attitude towards it. They thought too much money caused problems and only ruthless people had any, so I was always wary of it.
No one had ever let me know that:
- It was ok to discuss money and actually important.
- Money should work for you (not the opposite).
- You don’t have to accept a life of struggle and debt just because you are a performer.
- Educating yourself financially is really helpful for the business side of your career.
Setting up an Excel spreadsheet was a real turning point in my life, honestly. A simple list of everything you earn per month and everything that leaves you per month, keeps you on track and feeling in control of your finances whilst working towards your ultimate goals (though sacrificing ALL your morning flat whites is only going to make you sad - treat yourself!)
Manage your productivity
As performers, we can often find ourselves in panic mode if things seem a little quiet and we scramble for things to get in the diary. I used to do this on a regular basis. We sometimes judge ourselves by how busy we are and what we need to get off our daily to do list. I know for me, those kinds of days with long lists usually involve pushing paper about, drinking coffee and not being very proactive. Doing three solid hours of great work in one day is a thousand times more beneficial than carrying on until the evening just to say you worked eight hours.
I have found that monitoring when I waste time (usually after lunch) means I can ensure I work hard and get everything done in the morning. Working harder doesn’t always equal getting more done, so no need to feel bad for only working on your personal projects for a few hours per day. Having a balance is important, it means you can have fun, work hard and feel great about it!
It’s going to be okay
If you aren’t hitting your PB at the gym, getting your teeth whitened, meditating or writing down your goals in a Paperchase planner, who even are you?
In a world saturated with various apps and tools to constantly improve ourselves and our way of living, it is so easy to fall into the routine of thinking you need the next thing available to be the best version of you, and be accepted in society. This is kind of tough to keep up with (and knackering). Could we try totally loving and accepting who we are and allowing that to be enough, to fill us with confidence to walk into any room or situation and do our thing? Yes. We could. You are brilliant just as you are, wherever you’re at right now. We all find our own way in the world and everything is going to be absolutely okay.
Georgia is a Northern actress, singer and writer living in London. She has recently graduated from the MA acting course at Mountview after studying musical theatre for 3 years. She began volunteering for her local BBC Radio Lancashire station and worked as a freelance songwriter in the music industry, writing for various artists. You can find out more of what she's up to on her website here.