PODCAST: Episode Sixty with Katie Birtill

E P I S O D E S I X T Y is live
Today I speak to my lovely friend @kbirtill. We talk lots about creativity; what it means and how you can get back into the zone, if you have felt you have been out of it.

Over the years, we've had so many chats about how we dance the creative career. How to deal with rejection; not being flavour of the month, or not be 'quite right'

Katie recently reached number one in the ITunes charts with her debut album, a project she produced herself. It is a fascinating story.

Podcast: Episode Nineteen with Indra Ové

In today's episode, I talk to my lovely friend and actor Indra Ové. You may know Indra from the small or big screen; her credits include; Interview with the Vampire, Resident Evil, Marcella, The National Theatre, The Young Vic, The West End...these are just a few.

You give and you give and nothing... (ten quick strategies for you)

So often this kind of conversation comes up with my clients so here is a little top ten run down of how you move past this...


1) Running your own business/being a personal brand may just be the biggest personal development journey of your life. Go easy with yourself. You will find your rhythm quickly in some areas and in other you will make mistakes that will be rubbish at the time and then change everything in your business in a brilliant way. 


2) Manage your expectations. As an actor I assumed, it was going to be one job that changed everything. It might be but that is a lots of energy that is directed in one place. So instead, I like to keep my options open. Be consistent, keep my eyes open as sometimes the least expected thing sticks. 


3) Ignore the rules. Your business. You choose. Yes of course learn from those who have done it but never ignore your own gut instinct. 


4) Boundaries. Be sooo clear in what the process looks like at every step. We know the rules when we go into the supermarket and buy food...because they have been set for us. You need to set your rules. In fact we want you to. As your potential customers we like to be told how things are going to move forward. 


5) I know it is tricky when you are starting out but try and spot your ideal clients; they are more likely to respect you and carry out their commitment. Your customer gets brilliant results and you get a great testimonials and a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. 


6) On the other hand, you may get a response you are not expecting...a no when you have agreed a yes...a personality of a client that certainly didn't reveal itself in the friendly coffee you had. An alternative request... 'Can you do these 1845 extra things we didn't agree on at no extra cost' If the parameters have changed you are welcome to question them...and CHARGE for them. 


7) Often a 'no reply' is not about you...you did a great job. Perhaps your client is not ready/not in the right headspace/needs a different flavour/can't afford you...all of which are reasons not to chase and please do not spend time thinking about what you could have done. You did everything you could. If the client is right for you, they will come back. 


8)If you offer something for free, know why you are doing so...it may be different to what you thought. Maybe you are worried that you are not ready. Maybe you want to be a nice person(this is not mutually exclusive to charging). Maybe you doubt your abilities. I have done all of these things but now if I give something I know why and often it is because I can and I want to. 


9) I look for ease in my business and will be looking for more going forward in 2017. I want it to be fun. I don't want to create unnecessary stress and I want to keep things simple. When things feel hard, I know I have to take a step back and reassess.


10) Say yes when you want to and say no when you want to. On both occasions do it with energy, conviction, integrity and kindness. 


BONUS: Don't spend oodles of time replaying the past on what you could have done... keep moving forward...

Sometimes my inner Veruca Salt wants to shout... 'I WANT IT NOW'

But I know that is not appealing or endearing...

I have to play the long game...

Throughout my career my patience has really been tested.

Why is it quiet?

Why am I not being called in?

Why is this taking so long?

WHY WHY WHY (basically)

But I have learnt to stop, collaborate and listen (!) and play the looooong game.

I was interviewed by Surviving Actors and shared my thoughts on the industry and there may be some nuggets that may help you. 

There is so much you can do/change/shake up in 2017.  I know myself when I am in the frame of mind of ACTION, the results come thick and fast.

But I have had to decide.

I have got clear and I have got support.

As a qualified life coach, I can help you too: 

What we may discuss... 

Agents | Head shots | Castings | Getting started | Networking | Branding | Websites | Motivation | Boost your cast rate | Drama school | Boosting confidence | Creating an action plan.

Several beliefs you don't need to have as an actor

What I am about to share with you could change everything. 

Why didn’t anyone tell me…?!

Here are some of the beliefs that I had: 

1) When I left drama school, I would be different. I would never be out of work because I would work really hard. 

2) I didn’t really need to earn loads of money…I trained as an actor which was my dream so money necessary…

3) I was just grateful to work…payment is not an issue. I beat the competition…er yeah for a job that wasn’t paying me!

4) Surely I couldn’t be creative and earn well…I had to struggle. 

5) Being an ‘artist’ is cool, I don’t want to be too corporate. 

When I write these, I realise two things.

Firstly many are not true.

They are not factual.

They were simply stories in my head.

Secondly I wasn’t helping myself and I certainly wasn’t helping my agent. 

Here’s why…

I have been an actor that has struggled. I have had the ‘Oh shit- I don’t know how I am going to pay my rent this month’ 2am wake up call and the actor who has been stuck in day jobs that have made me feel rubbish, lost and disheartened.A great energy to take into a casting room? 

I have also been an agent. I have seen how essential it is for an actor to have a job that works for them (pays their bills, keeps them comfortable, provides them with options) and for an agent to represent an actor who is comfortable, secure and open.

This industry is ever changing and you never know when the next opportunity is going to zip around the corner so you want to be in a position to receive it.

You place an enormous amount of trust in an agent, understanding they will nourish and nurture your career and provide fruitful opportunities.

It is crucial an agent also has trust in you. That you are level headed, reliable and deliver the goods. An agent understands that acting can be a hard, financial game, but also needs to know you have options to invest in yourself, so he/she can do their job and propel you to the next level.

The agent is looking at your profile on a daily basis but also has a great understanding of what breakdowns are arriving in their inbox. They can see where the gaps are- i.e. ‘You don’t have a headshot to represent X side of your personality’ or you need to attend X workshop with a certain casting director as you are a perfect fit for a future project.

It is your responsibility to leave yourself with financial options so you can fulfil these requests, not to ignore the email or brush your agent off with ‘I haven’t got any money at the moment’. This will not accelerate your career. 

It is ok not to struggle. You don’t have to hate the times between acting. You can enjoy them. Both worlds can fuel and nurture each other. What blocks do you put on yourself? It is a fresh new week so I am extending the offer until tonight. I have all the tools to help you and they are waiting for you. Please don’t email me saying ‘I just don’t know what to do’ You have to figure out a better question. You have to identify what you need help with and be willing to ‘do the work!’. 

10 ways to get back in the game as an actor

Being a successful, working actor is about being strategic.

Sometimes as actors we can be vague and passive…we wait for the phone to ring, we hope something will happen. 

I want you to get started now. 

I want to encourage you to GO FOR IT. To put your intention out there and follow through. 

e.g If it is TV work you want to do, what do you need to do? 

Here are ten questions to help you gather your plan.

1) What would be your ideal job? What is the area you want to work in? 

2) Where are you now? What does your CV/headshot/showcase say about you? 

3) What is missing? What do you need to do to take you closer? 

4) What daily actions could you put in place? 

5) What do you say to yourself that is not helpful. 

6) What rituals or habits are keeping you stuck? 

7) What task would bring you tremendous results?

8) Who is doing what you want to be doing? 

9) How can you increase your motivation? 

10) How would it feel if you achieved everything you wanted to this year? 

Complete the questions and take time to get specific about what you want.