By: Jess Canty
I took a yoga class the other day, and at the end of the class as he lead us into the resting pose, the instructor says "Rest Your Future." Very nonchalantly I might add. As if just saying hello.
And this phrase hit me like a ton of bricks.
I feel like we are often talking in our posts about not letting the past influence you or your career in the negative, right? And a lot of being a successful artist is about letting the past go - over and over and over again.
You have to let past bad auditions go. Past good auditions go. You have to let go that you booked and shot something last week and now you are back to the grind. You have to let that awesome project that you didn't get hired on go. You have to let last week's episode go and work on this week's episode. You have to let that amazing awards season run and win or loss go. You have to let that project you loved working on and the people you loved working with go. The past is hard to let go of.
But I also think once and a while it is very important to rest your future.
But Jess! You guys talk all the time about how I have to be pushing, and working and planning, and strategizing for my career. To quote Brian Gilleece - "every. day."
Yes, and all of that is true.
And we stand by everything we have blogged about with regards to your futures.
But everyone needs a rest. Even creators.
Rest your future is just another way of saying - be present.
Be here. Be with yourself where you are - i.e. lying on the floor after a yoga class not letting thoughts of the future interrupt the present of lying on the floor after a yoga class.
It is more difficult than it would seem.
We all know that the best acting is acting that is truly in the present. The best cinematography is when the photographer is so present they capture just the right look on the actor's face, or just the right breath in. The director who doesn't cut too early because they are present - paying attention to the performance that is going beyond the page.
How many acting exercises deal with just getting you to be present, with the other actor and react/listen, react/listen? Even the most basic - the mirror exercise that is in every intro to acting class across the land - it is designed to get you to just be there. With another person. In the moment.
Is your possible future fucking up your present?
By yoga standards I failed with the whole "rest your future" thing immediately. Because you know what I did? Instead of resting my future, I was lying there thinking - "wow rest my future. That is an amazing phrase. I should use that phrase in a blog post because it totally relates to having an artistic career. Oh and ACTING! It relates to acting because the best actors are always present... and I could totally write a post..."
The instructor's voice came wafting in - "return to your natural breath, let everything you just experienced synthesize."
Shit! Here I am thinking about a future blog post for Sunday while I am supposed to be resting my future. AND NOW I'm beating myself up for missing the first part of the resting pose in my yoga class by thinking about how cool the concept of resting my future is and ahhhhhhhh..... wtf the class is over and I haven't rested AT ALL!!!!
Being present is hard work!
That spinning out about the future I just described above? I think it is harder to stop and possibly more detrimental than the spinning out about the past.
The shudda, wudda, cudda, of the past becomes the I should and if only I then I could and maybe I would be here if only this happens or this could happen when I, and if my friend would just introduce me to, then I might-
Rest your future.
Take stock of where you are right now and let yourself be wherever that is. Maybe you've gotten really good at self-tapes, maybe you just killed it in class, in an audition. Or maybe you just need to let that last class or that last audition synthesize.
Rest your future.
Do you get an audition notification from us or your agent and immediately figure out the reasons why you shouldn't audition?
I hate to say it but a lot of you are guilty of this.
I would say on average about a quarter of the time I have discussions with y'all about whether you should audition because a) the material is too [instert issue with material here] b) you may be out of town during the callback dates, c) you may be out of town during the shoot dates.
In your head you have already auditioned, called-back and booked the role. That is A LOT of future steps that have to happen before there is a problem that I need to help you solve. And you should all know by now that I am here to help you solve that eventual future problem. But let's not create one before we've even started. Because you know what I'm ALWAYS going to say?
AUDITION ANYWAY. Because you need the practice, need to be in that room, in another room, because you don't know what else is in the casting director's future! Maybe there is another role on another show you would be awesome for!
Rest your future - do the audition and get a callback or book it and THEN we can talk about why you can't go to the call back or accept the job.
Rest your future.
Are you in an audition and you are sitting in the room and you are looking at everyone else in there? And wondering if you or they will get the part? And the person in the room, can I hear them? Oh shit, they YELLED? on that line? I didn't practice it that way, did I read the sides wrong? And why is everyone in this room older? taller? thinner? beardier? than me?
Rest your future.
And once you're in the room - are you second guessing the choices you made while you are delivering the audition? Are you worried about booking it? Getting a callback? Are you trying to guess what the CD wants from you?
Rest your future.
Trust that you're prepared for the role, your take on it, your choice in voice, costume and what you bring is what they want. They brought you in. They must ALSO want to see a younger, shorter, fatter, hairless person too!
Be present. Listen to the reader. React to what is happening in the scene.
Be truly in the present. That awesome moment where you get to perform for someone. This is why you are here, right? Breathe. Be in your body as the character, in your voice.
You know that story about Christian Bale ripping into someone on the crew who crossed his eye-line during an intense scene?
What if that is because Christian is so good at being present - SO good at resting his future, that he would legitimately be negatively impacted by this kind of distraction. Maybe it isn't that he's a diva - maybe it is just that it takes a hyper-focus to be able to be TRULY present and he knows it. He knows what he needs to be able to forget about his past and rest his future - and it doesn't include a crew member walking around while he is performing.
If all it took to knock me out of my resting pose in yoga was someone saying "rest your future" WHEN I AM LITERALLY RESTING, and then I automatically did the opposite and started thinking about my future instead and STOPPED RESTING? That says a lot about how much work it takes to truly be present.
Prepare. Strategize. Push. Work Hard. AND rest.
And then start again tomorrow.