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  • Laura De Sommar

TOP 10 THINGS THEY DIDN'T TEACH ME AT DRAMA SCHOOL

Updated: Sep 13, 2020

{Disclaimer: I had a great time at Drama School.}


1. WHAT IS YOUR *VISION*?

  1. Do you see yourself in LA in movies? Or in your home country producing your own movies that you act in? Do you see yourself on stage in NY, Sydney, Paris and/or London? Create your Strategy to get there. People who have plans have more chances of being successful because you know where you're going. Plans or tactics to get your goal can and will change to adapt to life but your north can stay true.



2. Strategy.

  1. I know, if you’re anything like me, I’d rather puke than look at a strategy. I’m like - I’m an artist… an actooooeurrrr. What’s a plan got to do with ME? (add shinning shimmery glitter effect). Or the idea that we truly are just auditioning, doing our best so the scope of our control on our career is limited since we have to see which job takes us where. Have a look at the areas you can control. Focus on those and still do a plan. Because we all have different goals. Yours might be black box theatre, mine might be experimental film. Ask yourself where are you going? And try to not get bogged out with finding the answers. It's ok to not know exactly each step. But at least knowing and reminding yourself every day where you are going makes all the difference. You can cut the clutter that is not helping you.

  2. social media? yes we're in the era of instant gratification. So I understand the urge to pull up the phone and scroll. And it might be the perfect fit for you if your goal is to become social media famous and you think that's your way into the industry. That's not my way in so I give my phone to my sister and she keeps it until I'm done with work. It's easier to do that than find yourself scrolling and procrastinating for hours. You're better than that (unless that's your plan, then keep studying social media!). I'd say the issue with social media is not the amount of hours but the lack of focus it can bring. So if I say I'll spend two hours then cool, I've got it managed, that's what I'll do. But if it's something that gets out of control and in the way of you accomplishing your goals, that's an addiction baby and it's best to ask for help (someone to hide your phone) or lock it up (if you're strong enough). Good luck.

  3. Well, it’s been tested that people that have plans tend to achieve more. And I’ll tell you why. And I’ll say WHY from EXPERIENCE (yes, I made a mistake so that you won’t). Sidenote: failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it. Haven’t you noticed that when you love something, truly love something doesn’t matter if you fail long-term because you’re gonna get back on the horse anyway? Like it might hurt like SHIIIIT but you know… you know… you can’t envision life doing anything else. So you will, eventually, after crippling self-doubt and depressive days and nights, get back to the grind. Because you know you’ve got it inside of you.

  4. FAILURE Number "?" Don’t get bogged down by the HOW of your plan. Just DOING IT is better than staying home coming up with the next best plan. As soon as I’d come up with

  5. Also: if/when you've done soul-searching and you see that acting is really not for you, it's OKAY to change. I can imagine it being really hard to change your sense of identity. Remember, it's your life, don't live it for anybody else.

3. FOCUS. What is your main hustle and what is your side hustle? Many of us are mutlitalented, why not? Just make sure you know what’s your clear target. I developed so many side things I liked to do (which is awesome when it comes to being a rich soul and you have tons to draw form when you’re building characters (be It in writing or acting). So just know that if you’re the type of person who wants to live full out all their passions, that’s okay, just know that you’ll probably indeed live a rich life but also not move as fast as your other friends who are only focusing in one thing (I freaking hate this bc I’m interested in so many things- like helping new actors, and writing films and all).

  1. And this ties in why PLANNING is helpful. My mistake (the one I mentioned before) was that I had so, so many passions and things I could do that I wasn’t really nailing any of them. Fuck it.

  2. Stick to a city. Remember the city you mentioned you’d like to work in your vision? Get there as soon as possible, however you can and get out of your house. Mingle, audition, be a NICE person. And you owe that to yourself. TRUST ME. Being kind is getting all that toxic shit that comes inside of most of us… eradicate that! Being toxic wastes your energy, alienates you from people that you love and sabotages you.

  3. Sticking to one city sort of has a compounding effect. Day in and day our working the same industry people will get you meeting anyone and everybody sooner or later.

  4. (drama school did teach me to not focus on the result but the daily practice; which will inevitably build to the result. If you love this concept, please check out ATOMIC HABITS by James Clear - a must read).

4. CONFIDENCE/COMMITMENT. Is your biggest selling point. Especially in LA, people are looking for someone that can lead a cast, a film. So that means someone who is a leader; someone who is kind to others, leads by doing more work than anybody else. It’s a silent confidence. Not an abrasive kind. If you don’t feel like inner core confidence is your strong suit, that’s totally fine too :) Just be committed and kind. Keep auditioning as much as possible.

  1. this means, don't go in thinking oh I 'hope' they like me or put the creatives of the project in a pedestal. You are an artist, they are artists, and you collaborate and create art together. It is team work through and through. Yes there is specific leadership, aka there's only one creative vision everyone sticks to (the director's) but especially when you're auditioning, hold your ground, be proud of your work, look them in the eyes, enjoy as much as possible and think to yourself 'would I like to work with them?' so that you're in your power, you're not giving all your power to these job-giving deities. And.. CREATE YOUR OWN CONTENT (they did tell us to devise a small scene at drama school and write a monologue, I just put more emphasis in this). This will give you knowledge of the different areas/jobs in film, you'll have another type of responsibility, you'll be on a more levelled playing field with other creators. Don't be shy. And there's no better time other than now. You are a unique human being. And trust me, one of the best feelings in the world is when something that was born in your mind is realised on screen (through tons of teamwork).

5. LISTEN TO YOUR SOUL/INNER COMPASS/GUT. What happened to me was that I loved auditioning for things in LA and yet I needed a work visa; my options: work as. Producer or get an O1 visa for extraordinary talent or keep working in productions in my hometown. I was like…. Well…. I wanna make my own stories. I wanna produce stories that make LATINOS FREAKING PROUD!! I SEE A CROWD that must be SERVED, treated with much more respect. I found my niche calling. So the road to success is the one you pave every day, the one road you select for yourself. You may read, hear and chat about others’ line to success. This is awesome because you can then do things that apply to your circumstance; especially anything that talks about work ethic/acting technique. Aside from that, all’s fair game. You can get into the industry by myriad of ways; working on set, being a PA, editing, writing, producing, directing, or only acting. Your choice.




6. STICK TO IT. Ugh, this is the one that gets me. It comes hand in hand with strategy. Stick to it. I was sticking to it in LA until I had to get a work visa, I stopped. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.


7. ACCOUNTABILITY. Get an accountability BUDDY. Okay, I became a hermit. I would only go out to audition but I didn’t have an actor roommate so I had NO idea what other actors were doing. I’m a naturally competitive person which is a GREAT thing! :) The word competition comes from the idea of getting the best out of the other person. See; it works both ways:

  1. if we’re auditioning for the same role, I’ll KILL it in the room so that you’ll have to deliver your best. And truth be told, THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD is when you GIVE IT YOUR ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL- regardless of an outcome. It’s like the best love-making session (did I really just compare acting to love-making?) It might be because both acts are spiritual and physical and trascendental at the same time.

  2. if we’re both in a scene together, I’ll do my absolute everything to be the best scene partner I can be to you, I’ll serve you, I’ll listen to you, I’ll bounce back at everything you throw at me. That way, we’re ‘competing’ but we’re not, we’re collaborating, confabulating to create this masterpiece that only you and I could ever make :)

  3. (if you want a coach, you can look up Tony Robbins or get a peer group of people who are better than you. Don't use your friends or loved ones as accountability because it usually either dissolves or they aren't as tough on you when you don't get shit done).

8. ENTREPRENEURSHIP: there’s so much more to acting than just acting. And you are better off by knowing a bit about all areas; even becoming the best you can be at them before you’re big enough to pay someone else to do them for you or sign with a manager/agent/pr person. In essence; the main thing is to go audition. If you only do one thing after reading this book, is AUDITION. I personally love meeting creatives.

  1. The sad bit about nowadays is that it’s self tapes so I don’t get to have the interaction that I loved so I stopped auditioning because I went more into writing films that I could act in; therefore assuring that I wasn’t wasting time ‘auditioning for terrible scripts that gave me the creeps’- but auditioning is a GREAT muscle. So I’ll get back on the bandwagon. Also - I’m wiring this during CORONAAA- I know, hopefully it’ll be something historic and not something that we learn to live with. Future actor-lovers; what’s it like out there?

9. The DIRTY secret; it is okay to feel jealous of others. It’s a feeling. That is all it is. Recognise it, then swiftly as swiftly as possible get into the mindset of; how freaking cool is that SO&SO got the role??? If anything, now I know another rockstar/hard-worker, illuminated artist that is crushing it and so my network grows. Now they are playing at a higher level which could allow me also to enter that field in due time. Breathe in, hold it, deep breath out you are human, you are perfect. Every single cell in your body is gasping to live your life full out so don’t play it safe.


10. KEEP THE FLAME ALIVE. There will come a time when - inevitably - you will QUESTION and question HARD whyyyyy you got into this twisted industry. I would recommend taking a chill time-out if you’re an easily stressed-out, over-achieving person like me (have a beer, watch an outstanding movie, talk to your loved ones, go for a walk, pet your pet, cook a scrumptious healthy (or not) meal. And I’d recommend a workout for a lazy/depressed person to get out of that unhelpful depressed mental emotional state.

  1. Write the WHY you’re doing this, why you’re an actor in the first place. Stick it to the wall behind your desk so that when you're doing admin stuff for your career, you'll still know the why. Mine is: I feel connected with god or the divine source while being on stage or next to other playing scenes with other actors :)


Bonus tip: Don’t compare yourself to others in other industries. Stuff takes time. My sister is working a corporate job; has stuck with NYC for many years, now has a work visa and has her life sorted. It sorta crushed me a little bit to know she has a steady income. And being *sad/depressed/anxious* does not make you a better artist. In fact, it gets in the way of you creating work. So; whenever there's F.E.A.R; read: Face Everything And Rise.


I gave you my wisdom that arose from my mistakes so that we both can learn from them and skip the bad drama.

Remember: I switched because I wasn’t set on specific targets, I didn’t have an accountability buddy, I didn’t have self-confidence, and I also listened to others more than listened to myself. Hint: the gut feeling doesn’t go away most of the time; it only gets louder until you have to take action - did this happen to you at some point in your life? Thought so.


Love,


Follow me and my productions on socials @Ldesommar


Below: a still from my short TAMPON which just got into two film festivals <3 !!!!!!!!!!

a pic from the day of the shoot: :)


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