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Terry Berlandby Casting Director, Terry Berland

Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead gives career changing advice: “Play For Value, Don’t Rush”

On a recent NPR interview, Drummer Bill Kreutzmann conveys that the biggest lesson he learned as a musician from Jerry Garcia is “Play for Value, Don’t Rush.”  He goes on to say that this is not only the greatest lesson he learned for being an outstanding musician, but for life itself.

When you hear a great musician play music, they actually become part of the instrument.  They are totally connected to the rhythm; the person becomes a part of the music.

Agreeing that this is a life lesson, I got to thinking how “Play for value, take your time” definitely conveys to your acting career. You must be the character; we cannot see you acting.  During your rehearsal process at some point, when you merge and become the character, you arrive at a great performance.  You can’t rush this process. You have to know your approach and technique and be 100% committed. Yes, even commercials have their own techniques for you to arrive at a committed place of a connected performance.

There are other elements to your career where you need to “Play For Value.”  Let’s acknowledge some of these things.

Look at your career as a long run.

Appreciate all the small things along the way and consider them “wins.”  Appreciate the workshop you are taking, the audition appointment you get, and all the people you meet along the way.

Connect with other actors

Establishing relationships with other actors is a great networking tool.  Appreciate being with people of the same like-mindedness.  Know that other actors also write and produce, create projects you might be right for or will have opportunities for collaboration.

Connect with producers and casting director

Learn about how each operates and run their business.  You are part of the formula, and to understand the process will help you feel more a part of it.

 Enjoy every chance you get to audition no matter how small

Enjoy when you finally “get in the room” to do your thing.  Know how to do it 100%.  Know how to create.

 Enjoy watching your actor colleagues in theatre around town

Theatre is the root of all acting.  Go to theatre, watch your fellow actors. Support their efforts.  Understand the script and the process that went into making the choices of each character.

Enjoy breaks away from the industry pursuing other interests.

Take a mini-vacation for a day or even an evening.  Any way you can be well-rounded adds to you being a multifaceted person.  Letting go can only make you stronger and appreciate it more when you come back to it.

Don’t take shortcuts

Know that reaching the depth of your acting is an evolving process.  Live the process.

Enjoy working out in acting classes

Taking an ongoing theatrical acting class, improv class and/or commercial acting workshop should feel good.  It should give you your weekly fix of creatively working out as you are improving your skills.

Recently an actor shared a personal insight with me.

“I went back into acting class to learn how to become a better actor, but what I discovered is it’s making me a better human being.  Studying acting has enabled me to live a more joy-filledlife by learning how to authentically connect with another human being.  It is a weekly tune up to go out and live a more connected life to myself and to other people.” –Jennifer Schway

Take your time….enjoy.

Here’s seeing you feeling joyful at your next audition.


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Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for on-camera, television, voice-over, and hosting. Her casting awards include Clio, The Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, Addy, and the International Film and Television Festival. Her former casting staff position for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has lent to her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is known throughout the country for her talent development and is the co-author of the how-to industry book,”Breaking Into Commercials.”