By Kimberly Jentzen
Uncertainty is something we all live with, especially actors, like when you aren’t sure how well you performed or wonder if you will “make it” as an actor.
There is a crazy, important reality to making it in acting. Success is meaningless without the struggle. Success becomes meaningful when you conquer the struggle and uncertainty by building your inner strength. Everything matters if you want to conquer uncertainty.
I was at the check-out at Trader Joes and the cashier was throwing my items, literally throwing them hard on the counter… I asked him, “Please do not bruise the produce”. He responded, “They can take it. You should see how they come off the truck. You should see how they throw the eggs!” I replied, “Just because the truckers treat them that way, do you feel it gives you the right to do the same?” This stopped him in his tracks. He took a step back to consider the question. The moral of the story? I now understand why there are so many broken eggs in cartons at markets.
I thought about the cashier’s viewpoint quite a bit. What he sees, he does. Because he witnesses behavior, does it mean the behavior is acceptable? Is that true for all of us? What we see… we do?
When it feels like you are being thrown around a bit. Do you do the same to the world… or to yourself? How do you maintain your dignity, your standards, your passion? Can you “take it” without breaking?
If an actor comes to set unprepared and doesn’t know their lines, do you question the time you spent preparing or are you grateful you did the work? But what about next time? Does it erode your expectations of yourself or others? Because that actor was tolerated, does it question your certainty in acting? Does it make you feel like “what’s the point?”
The actor who consistently raises the bar in the room and on set,
increases certainty in their career.
Olympic athletes train every day. They might win the gold metal by a millisecond. Many roles have been won by a “millisecond” and have led to exceedingly successful careers. As a director and coach, I’ve witnessed how close it can be.
You see, casting can make or break a project, but a role can lift an actor into becoming a legend. Exercising your instrument can supply the weekly practice which builds certainty. Working with a coach gives you someone in your corner, and that can make all the difference.
Goal yourself to be an actor of substance. Training strengthens your inner core as you become the actor you were meant to be, an actor who has a sense of inner certainty in themselves and what they have to offer.
You want to avoid becoming hardened by challenges,
but rather strengthened by overcoming them.
Show business will throw you around a bit, much like a carton of eggs at the market, but that doesn’t mean that everyone in your career will treat you the same. The entertainment business is filled with people that may treat you the way they have been treated. Much like driving on the freeway in Los Angeles, you can’t take it personally.
Tough times are merely tests of character. Welcome the tests. Know that those struggles are what makes success truly meaningful. In uncertain times, uncertainty is the ultimate challenge for the actor. What is risk taking without it? What are strong choices without leaning into a discomfort called uncertainty.
There is a thrill that can be found on the edge of an honest moment when the actor welcomes the uncertainty of a character’s world. So how do we conquer uncertainty? We accept it, we get stronger, we use it, and we never quit growing.
Kimberly Jentzen is a California native with degrees from UCLA and USM. An acclaimed acting coach in L.A., Kimberly has won Back Stage Reader’s Choice Awards and is the author of Acting with Impact and Life Emotions app. Her Youtube channel has over 80 videos for actors: youtube.com/kimberlyjentzen.