“You are not a civilian,” writes Craig Archibald in a key passage of his new book, The Actor’s Mindset: Acting as a Craft, Discipline, and Business. “You may sacrifice a great deal to be able to do what you do. To friends and family, it may sometimes seem like insanity. They don’t understand the reward we get when we do our work, and we do our work well, and it is received and celebrated by our fellow artists who understand the discipline, integrity, and quality it takes to achieve the highest level of art.
What your family and friends hopefully will respect is your commitment to the profession of acting. That will make sense to their civilian souls. When you become a businessperson with goals and advisers and a team of professionals who are all focused on achieving the same goal, your life will make sense to your family and friends, and they will give you rock-solid support.” It’s this core undercurrent of empathy that rings throughout the read, even during the drier, more statistically-backed and statistically-driven parts of the book. “What civilians don’t understand is a foolhardy naïf with no business or art sense, someone who’s attempting to be a ‘star’ in order to achieve celebrity and red-carpet nonsense.
That’s also what producers, directors, agents, managers, and casting directors (and this particular acting coach) cannot bear either,” Archibald writes. He’s not afraid to tell it to you like it is, without any excess varnish or any sense of intellectual exclusivity. Many professionals writing business or leadership advice books can’t help but come across as verbose, or as flinty. But Archibald, perhaps a product of his seemingly genuinely confident of his accomplishments, never ironically stoops to this kind of ecclesiastical low. He’s able to just write succinctly and to-the-point, never taking a roundabout approach to his communication techniques.
“You have the freedom to choose whether you want to be disciplined or not. If you choose to live with discipline, you’ll soon learn that it creates positive habits. Positive habits create positive results. And positive results give you freedom,” Archibald writes. True to aforementioned form, he continues later: “I can’t overemphasize the importance of confidence in this industry. Not cockiness. I’m not talking about walking into the room, taking control, and proving to everyone that you’re a great actor.
When you do that, all you’re doing is showing them that you’re trying to prove to them you’re a good actor without actually doing good work…A confident performer walks in the room, confident in their choices, supported by the knowledge that they’ve done the work, know the character, and can bring the truthful essence of that character to life. Simple. Deeply researched. Specific. Honestly connected. That’s confidence.”