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Silver Linings and Survival under Quarantine

Is anyone else swinging hard emotionally right now?

This past month, my internal condition has been shifting between a clear-eyed, grounded and practical place, and a deeply emotional, helpless place. I know I’m not alone.

So much feels out of our control. We are worried about our health, and the health of the people we love.

Many of us are worried about our finances. My own small business has taken a tremendous hit with the shutdown, and like so many other small business owners, I’m looking for ways to continue to offer value and bring in some cash flow just to survive and stay in business. For example, I’ve moved my podcast to a $5/month subscription-based model. Hopefully you feel that 2 new episodes a month are worth at least as much as a latte! (Yes—this is a little plug for business—we all have to help each other make it through and monetizing the podcast is one way for me to still be here for you when this all lifts).

 

When I am in my more grounded moments, I look for the silver linings.

 

Here is an unexpected silver lining for many people, and maybe for you: acting schools have also had to pivot to stay in business. Just about every great acting school/ acting teacher/ voice teacher I know is now offering online classes. Until a month ago, if you wanted to study with many of the top Hollywood acting schools, you had to physically be in LA. But now you can learn from the best regardless of where you live. This is one of many silver linings available.

Another silver lining: some of the people I have been trying to have as guests on my podcast for years are suddenly more available, because normal production has shut down. Many are still quite busy of course—there is a huge amount of online filming happening, from living-room concerts to Zoom-based productions, etc.—but in general, it looks like I will be able to get some guests that I have hoped to have for a very long time, and we will be in for some very special interviews.

There’s no glossing over it: not knowing when productions will return to filming, when casting will truly start again, or when we can simply go to a coffee shop or see the ones we love, is all pretty overwhelming. It’s hard to prepare for the future when the present is so uncertain.

 

And yet some things are still in our control.

 

One thing we can do right now,even under quarantine, , is spend some time and energy preparing for the day when life begins to return to some semblance of normal.

When we look back at this strange time, while we are confined either largely or entirely to our homes and our routines are upended… what will we wish we had done with our days?

 

This time can be a gift. It can be an opportunity to:

 

  • Study great performances via film and TV
  • Take an online acting class
  • Take online voice/singing lessons
  • Educate yourself about the industry* (take an online class, read books, listen to podcasts like Hometown to Hollywood, etc.)
  • Update your resume
  • Memorize monologues (improves your ability to memorize sides and scripts quickly!)
  • Join IMDb Pro and research agents, managers, and entertainment lawyers

*Some people, depending on what they do for a living, are busier than ever. But if you are stuck at home and looking for good ways to make good use of your time, you can learn a lot by reading books like The Hollywood Parents Guide, or Young Hollywood Actors. Young Hollywood Actors is actually a great book for actors age 12-30 to read.

Check out my Resources Page for more ideas.

At the same time, I do think it’s important to make space for the deep emotions many of us are feeling under quarrantine.

It’s not realistic to expect that we will have the same focus and drive we have when conditions are more normal. We are not machines. For example, I notice I am struggling more to stay focused, and I’m sleeping more than usual. Each of us has different ways of coping with stress, and it’s healthy to allow ourselves that space.

 

Still: inside this uncertainty, we can take actions that will help us have the world we want, and be better prepared for it, when life begins to reassemble into a more familiar shape.

 

What are you doing to make use of this time?

What businesses do you hope will survive the shutdown, and how can you help them do that now, even in a small way?

 

Who do you want to be when we can return to auditions and work?

When we can collectively emerge?

Let me know. Drop me a line at bonnie@bonniejwallace.com

 

Love,

Bonnie

 

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