The Prepared Actor’s Artistic Retreat

by Teresa Reilly on September 23, 2009

Summer’s over, school is just now beginning again, and so September always reminds me it’s time for my Artistic Retreat. For the past four years, I’ve sent myself on an Artistic Retreat after every Labor Day to refocus my energies for the coming year.  Lucky for you, I’m going to teach you exactly how to have one of your own!

No, my retreat is not in the woods of New England, or at a swanky resort on a hot beach.  (I wish.)  In fact, no one is actually at my retreat but me.  I’m the leader, the audience, and the guest speaker.  You can have your Artistic Retreat anywhere, at any time of the day, but I’d recommend doing it either in your expertly organized Actor Office, or a nice, quiet place like a coffee shop or your local library.  All you need is you, and my Artistic Retreat Questionnaire.

And before you start thinking I’m crazy, yes, I make up questionnaires for myself.  Yes, yes, I do, and the reason why is because I’m part of the quickest, most confusing businesses out there, the entertainment biz, and it is easier than pie to lose track of where, how, and why I am, actually, part of it all.  Furthermore, my goals for myself and my career are changing all the time, and if I don’t neatly organize my plan of attack and give myself deadlines, To Do Lists, and timelines, I always get lost in all the hubbub.

So, I’m going to show you how I organize myself for the coming year (but I would recommend making this at least a biannual Artistic Retreat, it never hurts to keep your goals lined up more frequently than you might think) so that you can organize yourself too!  I’ve separated my questionnaire into four sections: Creative, Casting, Career, and Life in General.  Each section feeds into the other three, and I’ve done some major editing in the ways they overlap. It’s also good to know that I’ve borrowed all of these questions from various teachers, casting directors, and other actors, but feel free to use as much or as little of this outline as you want, so long as you are brutally honest with yourself as you fill it out.  Because what’s the good of going to a Retreat if you aren’t getting the most you possibly can out of it?  Especially a free one…

And, finally, always remember a prepared actor is an audition-ready actor, and an actor who auditions is one who will, eventually, book work.  And that is the goal, right?  Or maybe just one of them…

ARTISTIC RETREAT QUESTIONNAIRE


CREATIVE

WHAT HAVE BEEN MY FAVORITE ACTING EXPERIENCES TO DATE and WHY?

WHAT HAS BEEN MY LEAST FAVORITE ACTING EXPERIENCES TO DATE and WHY?

WHAT KIND OF ACTING WORK DO I WANT TO DO?  BE SPECIFIC.

WHAT KIND OF ACTING WORK DO I NOT REALLY CARE TO DO?

SOMETHING I’VE BEEN DOING REALLY WELL IS:

SOMETHING I COULD DO BETTER IS:

SOME THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE ACTING BUSINESS ARE:

SOME THINGS I HATE ABOUT THE ACTING BUSINESS ARE:

CASTING

WHAT IS MY AGE RANGE?

WHAT IS MY TYPE?

WHO ARE MY PROTOTYPES and WHAT QUALITIES DO WE SHARE?

3 SPECIAL QUALITIES I POSSESS:

WHAT ARE MY PHYSICAL LIMATATIONS:

WHAT DO I NEED TO IMPROVE:

5 ROLES I CAN BE CAST IN RIGHT NOW:

5 INDUSTRY PEOPLE I HAVEN’T SEEN IN A FEW MONTHS:

5 INDUSTRY PEOPLE I’VE LOST TOUCH WITH:

5 INDUSTRY PEOPLE I DON’T KNOW BUT WANT TO MEET:

CAREER

5 SHORT-TERM GOALS:

5 LONG-TERM GOALS:

5 LIFE DREAM GOALS:

5 FINANCIAL GOALS:

5 PERSONAL GOALS:

TOP 5 CURRENT GOALS:

LIFE IN GENERAL

WHAT IN YOUR LIFE GIVES YOU JOY?

WHAT ELSE?

WRITE DOWN 10 SENTENCES TO DESCRIBE WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN YOUR LIFE & WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU:

AT THIS MOMENT, I KNOW THAT 5 YEARS FROM NOW, I WANT MY LIFE TO LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS:

Okay, you goal-oriented folks, go out there and make your dreams a reality.  You can do it!  (P.S.  Don’t you just love Artistic Retreats with yourself?  No ice-breaker exercises here…)

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