Confessions of a Well-Intentioned Actor

by Brian Patrick Murphy, Hotness Expert, Life Coach, Manimal

One recent Saturday morning,  I got on my usual N train from Astoria to head to the lovely MFF Clubhouse of Dreams. As I sat down on the train, my attention was immediately drawn to an actor sitting across from me, aggressively learning his lines from the sheet of paper in front of him. My mind flooded with memories. That could have been me. The thousands of auditions and call-backs and desperate feelings of needing a job. Feeling scared, anxious, excited, nervous and every other damn feeling that went along with all of it. For a moment I opened my eyes on the train and  felt thankful. Thankful that I didn’t have to – that I chose not to – do this anymore.

As the train continued under the Hudson River, I recalled the 10 years previous. Looking over at the actor, seeing the drops of sweat on his brow, my heart began to race as I remembered the times I was still desperately learning lyrics, memorizing lines, finalizing acting choices, stapling head shots and resumes, picking out songs to sing, and the wiping of sleepy crust out of my eyes on the way to an audition. I remembered how great my intentions were. I truly wanted to work. I created relationships to get agents. I had  so many people that wanted me to succeed. I had endless opportunities with the world’s best voice and acting and dance teachers!  And while I had to admit I had a good career, there were some truths that went along with that.

Truths I recalled the instant I saw this panicked guy on the N train. Like the times I waited until I was on the train to highlight my sides. The times I stayed out after work to have a “few” drinks with my friends when I had auditions and voice lessons the next day. The times I missed going to dance class. The parties/one night stands/softball games that I chose instead. Most of the time I couldn’t get past my own thoughts about myself. I failed to recognize my strengths, I let my mind wander to the negative and let my inner Gremlin control my actions or lack-there-of.

I remembered how I became an expert in the one minute audition. I knew I could compete for one minute. I knew I could trick them for one minute. Then I would get a call-back and the inevitable shit-storm of doubt would follow. A million excuses why I wasn’t good enough. My Gremlin told me I wasn’t good enough and that I didn’t deserve it.

My eyes filled with tears as I reckoned with my truth:   

My intentions were great, but my actions were mediocre.  

Although a part of my acting career was spent with my actions not matching my intentions, it is also true that any time my intentions were met with a steely focus, I created great action and ended with the desired result. When I actually believed I was good enough, my focus shifted. I asked myself, “How can I do this?”  I took every possible action toward my intention. I learned the dance steps and rehearsed them hundreds of times, I learned the lines. I made choices. I got rest. To NO surprise, I booked jobs. THIS time my intentions were met with a steely focus as I prepared. I later booked a job as and adjunct professor, (without any prior experience!). It was from those successes that I realized – This was a plan I could put into use in any aspect of my life/career. Because how you do anything is how you do everything. (TWEET THAT SHIT!).

Why the change? There was no magic pill I took. No new skills that I didn’t have before. But they are examples off what I could be. You see, for me, as for many of us, it is very simple – I must first believe that I am good enough. I must believe that I deserve success. Believing is the first step. When I believe, I will achieve.

As we pull into the station at 42nd St., ”Edge of Glory” plays on my iPod, bringing me back to the present. I am feeling thankful to be back in the moment as I think about the amazing team I work with. A team that I helped build. A team built with great intentions matched with focused action.  

When your intention is to be the best, your action has to be the best! (TWEET THAT SHIT!)

As I finally arrive at The Clubhouse, I am beaming with joy and hope and love. I have the thought: A great thing to do in life is to keep your eyes and heart open. Opportunities will show themselves.

I start my first class of the morning, with all my N Train inspiration flowing through my body I remember, feel, believe and preach to my weekend class, “Set the intention. This time decide not to stop, not to fail, not to let any doubt get in your way. Choose to act!  Give your word to someone else. Have others count on you. This time  commit to being the best version of you. This time know that there is an army at your back – a Ninja army. Choose to believe, EVERY day.”

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