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The one word challenge

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You’re up in a helicopter looking down own your life, the contributions you made, your precious moments and your journey. St Peter is at the pearly gates (humour me) and he asks you “What’s the one word you’d use to describe your life?” Bam! St Peter wastes no time getting to the point does he. You answer. St Peter nods, a half smile escaping from his lips, a contemplative gesture of understanding, and he continues.

“And…” St Peter clears his throat , “What’s the one word your friends would use to describe you?” You answer. He nods again and smiles. “Great'”. And in a puff of smoke he vanishes.

actors in londonNow I’m not here to play the religious game of what you believe in. I want St Peter, in this instance, to be merely a metaphor for that moment of your life when you reflect on your presence! And you need not be at any pearly gates to do this. You could do it right here, today.

If you had to be described in one single word what would it be. Kind, warm, generous, pretty, meanie, pusher, doting…. What’s your word?

There are quite a few that come to mind that I would love to be used for me, but the reality is I have no idea if they’d actually be said. Because here’s the thing. We don’t know how others perceive us. Remember the old saying ‘perception is reality’ will always ring true. It doesn’t actually matter how you see yourself if everyone else on set thinks you prance around like a total muppet. How you treat others and how you act will be a big indicator to your next job, your next friend, and your next opportunity. If you are the kind of girl who flakes out at the last minute, pretty soon people will know not to call you. If you are the girl who drops out right before a shoot, pretty soon your acting buddies won’t recommend you for that next job.

Now consider the word that describes you as an actor? Entertaining, magnificent, mysterious, driven, passionate, fickle, vein… The list goes on. You only get one second in front of someone to potentially make a life long impression on them. I hear actors say they stuffed up once and didn’t get called in for years by that Casting Director. Quick auditions in and out mean you don’t have long to show what you can do, to be professional, to have your lines down, to be wearing an appropriate costume, and to do what you’re there to do, act.

And finally, what is the word that would be used to describe how you act? Would someone say comedic, Shakespearean, English-rose, serious, dramatic… Know your word. Know your style. Know your audience. It’s the same as ticking boxes to describe how your voice sounds when you are a voice over artist. Is it smooth or is it light, entertaining, childlike, corporate?

I do believe there is a word for everything!

So there we have it. Short and simple. What is your word? And what is the word that others carry on their lips to describe you? What’s the word that makes St Peter smile and nod happily rather than shake his head in dismay and walk away.

recognition as an actor
Choose your word! Know your audience.

* Photos thanks to Foter: Kath [is not here right now] CC BY-NC-ND and ecstaticist / CC BY-NC-SA

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