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Episode 279: Nepotism and Grandiosity

core work Apr 10, 2024


I'm going to be talking about something that a listener sent me, and I thought it was a really interesting idea for a podcast, which is about nepotism.

I do think it is yet another one of those areas of the industry where we can get our heads in the clouds and not on our bodies, and really allows us to make excuses for not showing up and taking responsibility.

As a NEPO baby, I am not one.

I do not come from anyone in the industry. You have an advantage in that you have those connections. However, you also have to have the talent, consistency, and persistence to back that up. The other thing is that, oh, you're so and so's daughter or you're so and so's child. Oh. Then you must be fantastic, and then you have to live up to that, or you can never be your own person.

Now, I have a friend of mine who is the child of an incredibly famous actor, but that child chooses to use a different name because they don't want to be known as so and so's child. Now, that is very admirable. 

I may go about it differently.

I would say use every advantage you have. 

But this is the thing, and this is the real key point because most of you listening to this podcast are not; do not have nepotism in your family. What do you do? 

And this is the best advice I can give you. You need to keep your focus. 

So often, I have actors who look at point A and point B, and instead of just drawing a line between point A to point B, they go up, they go down, they go around, they twirl around.

They walk outside, they come back inside, and then maybe eventually get to point B. 

The question, the thing is that things like nepotism and a lot of things that I feel in the industry, try to get your focus from the three points where you need to be putting your focus, which is your acting training, your business skills and the core work, the work on you are the things that distract you from taking real responsibility for the job that you have been given to do on this Earth, because I believe the universe has given you given all of us a gift.

The question is, are we going to nurture that gift and are we going to stay focused on pursuing that gift?

Or are we going to allow our focus to go off into things that we cannot control again? 

My favorite prayer or affirmation is the serenity prayer that reminds us of this. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. I cannot change other people, places, times, things, or situations, and whether my competition has nepotism or not, courage to change the things I can.

I can only change myself, my attitudes, my thoughts, and my actions, and keep the focus on myself, my strengths, my career, and wisdom… 

Wisdom, my favorite word in the American language, to know the difference, which is the difference between what I cannot control or change, which is other people, places, things, or situations, or change.

Nepotism and other actors I may be competing against and what I can change, which is myself, my attitudes, my thoughts, and my actions. 

So, that's my response to the first part of that listener's question. I'm going to read the second part to you because I think this is very interesting.

Getting past the “what chance do I have?” misconception, ever having the opportunity to compete with a nepotism child. 

Again, what I would say about that is your job when you go into an audition is to focus on the work. 

It is not to focus on who your competition is. I joke about how I used to go into an audition room, and I'd sit in the audition room and basically pick the actor who I thought was going to get the job.

That is so working against ourselves instead of for ourselves. 

What I think is so crucial here is that when you go into audition, that your focus is again on that courage to change the things you can, which is really, truly freeing. 

Focusing in on your work as the actor and living the life of that character in that space and time, whether that be in a self tape or be in the room.

The listener goes on to say, my own personal Cher story. I consider myself a Nepo baby to an extent. I was raised in a theatrical household with family members who made their living in the arts and entertainment. When I was a child, they would say things to me that made it almost impossible to understand.

And trust me, we were nowhere near the Barrymore status. If anything, that caused far more damage. And then validation. It is something I have struggled with on and off.

I could elaborate so much more, but I think you get the idea. 

So grandiosity, let's just talk about that word. 

I have also experienced grandiosity in my life, whether observing it in other people or, sadly, myself carrying it out. Oh, what dress are you wearing? Oh, it's a Valentino. When, actually, maybe it was bought at Target.

Oh, we're a grand theater family. It's just a small theater town in Connecticut or somewhere, but we are the family known as the theatrical family. Where has grandiosity played a part in your life?

Do you have family members who exaggerate? Do you have friends who tend to exaggerate? A partner who tends to exaggerate? 

The question is, what is wrong with the truth? What is wrong with the truth? 

We don't always have to sell ourselves. We can just be. 

And especially as actors, I find that grandiosity is about us trying to prove to an agent, a manager, a casting director, a writer, a producer, or a director that we are “so much better than we actually are.”

But here's the thing. How you actually are is enough. 

I am enough. I always have been, and I always will be. And that is what I also want you to notice. Use your mind to govern your brain to notice. Am I trying to be more when just being me may be enough? 

I will also give you one final lesson on this, which is about from the casting director's point of view. 

You don't have to prove to me that you are good. 

You just need to do your job and know that you are good at doing that job. 

And that will make me want to bring you in for auditions, and that will make me want to hire you.