Accountability : The fact or condition of being accountable ; R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y.
I know, I know starting strong with a scary word. Now you may already have many questions or comments or concerns, or all of the below:
1) What is an ‘accountability group.’
2) Why do I need to consider being a part of one or create one?
3) I am a solo self motivator, I don’t work well telling others of my goals.
4) I don’t want to tell others of my goals
5) Oh, I already do that with two of my besties.
So there are many aspects here to consider. When I first heard of an accountability group, I was immediately intimidated. But my goals are private, I don’t want to join a group of strangers, who are also in my industry, and risk feeling inadequate or inaccurate on my step-by step career program. It’s my road map, everyone in the film business has a unique journey. Therefore what good will come from telling these ‘accountability holders’ mine?
Well, lots of good actually.
Yes, the acting world has no clear recipe book to success. Your ambitions are, of course, going to be very different than someone else’s, but they may also be similar where, oh snap, some creative alignment just might happen.
Creatives thrive from other creatives. Sure, sharing your goals with strangers can be scary. Then again stepping into an audition room and showing a roomful of professional, other strangers, just how great of a story teller you are, is also scary. Then stepping onto a film set and acting in a fictitious environment with numerous other strangers, should be absolutely terrifying. But we do it. That is our jobs. So why not start small and tell a fellow actor what your story is and how you plan on telling it.
My specific group was with five other actresses, all at different stages in our careers. We came from different parts of the country, went to different schools, went out for different roles, and were in fact all different.
It felt freeing when I verbalized my vision, and specifically outlined my timeline of how I was planning to go after it. I was shocked at the feedback I received. Everyone was encouraging and supportive. Also, my crew wasn’t afraid to suggest alternative steps, or provide resources I had been struggling to find. Consider these new pals your guidance team. A zero judgement gang of likeminded individuals who are all there for the same thing : Accountability, and to get after this career.
Circle back to number 5 for a moment. We love our best friends, our nearest and dearest. However sometimes your closest people will also give you the hall pass and ‘its okay man, you couldn’t miss the birthday party, work on your script next week,’ excuses. They will be the ones to ‘go easy on you,’ instead of suggesting ‘why don’t you rearrange your weeks leading up to the birthday, and make the time to complete your script before attending?’
‘Why don’t you split up your writing schedule by writing 2-5 pages in the morning and 2-5 pages in the evening to meet your minimum 5 page per day quota?’
‘Do you really need to attend this birthday? How well do you know the guy/girl anyway?’
Missing events and celebrations is the unfortunate reality of our industry. Even though we are currently talking personal goals, that aren’t on a timeline or deadline of a production company or studio, getting in the habit of choosing where you celebrate your time will only benefit you on the job. Im not saying to start selecting which friend’s birthdays you will pre-schedule to attend, but I am suggesting that you truly ask yourself the hard question of what excuses you make, or better yet, ask your new accountability group.
Some tough love is honestly what most of us need when it comes to personal goals. Correct, there is a laundry list of things that are out of your control as an actor, but there is also a plethora of actions you can take aside from the wild west of Hollywood.
How to Source an Accountability Group:
1) Where did you go to school? What classes have you taken? I bet you met at least one or two individuals who you could consider pitching this idea to.
2) Facebook groups.
There are many groups in each acting city full of eager artists wanting to meet one another. Before joining a group, search the basic key words ‘acting group,’ or ‘actors in LA,’ or ‘actors connecting.’ Some acting groups are strictly to post jobs, so make sure you read the description of the group before joining and sharing that you are looking to start an accountability crew.
Request membership in a few groups and read their discussion board. See what their members are working on, and if you feel there are potential people who you might want to partner up with.
3) We Are Actors
I mean, this should be the most obvious one 😉 WAA is a community of everything acting. We have a platform of actors right at your finger tips who you can reach out to, and begin goal setting with. You are able to message other WAA members and follow each other’s profiles.
4) On Set!
The goal setting doesn’t stop just because you booked a job. Well, at least it shouldn’t..
You meet so many people on set. So many people who, more than likely, work in other areas of the industry besides being a script supervisor or production assistant. Many actors work in production and vice versa. A film set it full of hard working, passionate artists that usually make connections that blossom into future projects. This is the mecca of industry meet and greets.
Okay, I found my people, now what?
Congratulations! The first part of the band is coming together. Now, I didn’t mention that not all of your members have to be living in the same city. It definitely helps to meet in person, but we are all still recovering from the panorama, so why not utilize one of the main resource it gave us: Zoom. If part of your accountability group is local, and part of it isn’t, that should not matter. Pick a weekly meeting spot, make sure there is a solid wifi connection and get to work. It also becomes very useful when you travel to work in the potential home cities of your crew. Connecting with as many actors as possible in different areas will not only benefit your knowledge of what is filming where, but this could also potentially lead to a free place to stay when you book a cross coast gig.
How often you meet is completely up to you. Generally once a week will support a weekly goal setting timeline. If you are even more eager and feel you require more accountability, suggest a mid-week check in over the phone. Make your goals clear, and if you need assistance on the ‘how-to’ details, ask the gang!
Make some boundaries and set achievement rewards when you reach your deadline. Maybe all of you go for drinks if everyone accomplishes their weekly targets? Or you all go see a movie or play together. (The virtual members can too)!
Remember this can also be fun, and should be fun. Think of what you set out to accomplish by yourself and how lonely that can sometimes feel. Well now you have more than one new friend you can turn to for advice and direction instead of trying to handle everything on your own.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Now go be accountable.
Written by Therés Amee