Small Steps to BIG Connections
The Casting Couch
We are the Director and the Star of our own movie and we see everything through our own perspective, our eyes being the camera and our ears listening to the soundtrack. Everyone we know or meet has a different part in our movie but they all revolve around the main storyline – our lives! Some are Day Player roles like “Waitress”, “Cashier” or “Girl on Street Hailing Cab.” Some are Guest-Starring roles like “Father-In-Law” or “Annoying Neighbor” that regularly appear in our movie. There are also the Co-Starring roles such as “Husband” (they had to audition first) or “Mother” that are cast in very important scenes and develop the plot. We cannot forget about the Extras though seemingly insignificant, they add color and life to the scene. The life size piano scene with Tom Hanks would not have been quite as exciting without the “Shoppers” watching and clapping in delight.
Have Some Method Behind Your Madness
We may only be the star of one movie, the movie of our lives, however there are many other movies being created around us every day. In these other movies we play different parts. Sometimes we play the part of Co-Star and sometimes we are an Extra. There are no small parts, just small actors. It’s up to us if we want to help create Comedies or Tragedies for the people around us. Think about the roles you play in other people’s lives and try to create characters that are uplifting, motivating and loving. Instead of being the “Bitchy Wife” or “Nosey Neighbor”, try something more positive. Use your chops and try out the role of “Loving Wife” or “Concerned Neighbor”. Making that small adjustment can be the difference between an Independent artsy flop and a Blockbuster feel good movie of the year.
Don’t be typecast. Just because you are the “Lazy Son” in your parents movie does not mean you always have to play a lazy character in every movie you are in. Why don’t you try something different, one movie at a time so you can build your range?
Hit Your Mark
Trying to connect with others when we are busy being Stars in our own movie can be challenging. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own dramas and disregard what is going on around us. We are all Stars and we are all Extras. Each time we are around another character we have a choice on what kind of characteristics we take on for the role we are in. We can choose to be rude to people, to ignore people or to connect on a very shallow or base level. We also have the choice to reach out and give more to our fellow Thespians. By connecting with others we can turn a sad scene into a happy one, for our movie and theirs. Sometimes all you have to do to win the Best Supporting Actor Award is just show up. Sometimes that’s all the scene needs to come to a happy ending.
On a day when you are feeling low or are in a foul mood, be especially nice and kind to others. You may see an amazing mirror effect that will bring that happiness and kindness back to you. Arriving “on the set” in a good mood could bring you rewards even better than a Golden Globe.
What do you look like in the mirror when you are expressionless? Some of us don’t realize that our natural relaxed face has a negative expression. Now turn away, smile, and check yourself out again. Did you expect to see a bigger smile? By checking your face you can see what the world sees. Facial expressions speak much louder than words. There are different reasons we may not look the way we think we look. Some people are blessed with an amazing smile that
reaches for miles (like my husband, Smiley). Other people have a natural frown, even when they are happy. When some people get older they need to over compensate for frown lines. It may seem unnatural at first, however adding a bigger smile, even when you are faking it, can bring happiness to people around you and uplift your own spirits too.
You have the ability to create a positive or negative plot-twist in anybody’s movie or just be someone who walks by unnoticed. What are you going to choose? Body language is also a language. Use your face and your body to let people know you are an Unsung Hero or a vicious Evil Villain.
When to Yell “CUT!”
Being a pre-Madonna is selfish and unbecoming. This type of behavior does not help you connect with others nor does it increase your Star Rating on IMDB. People who enjoy catering to Drama Queens (this does not only apply to women) typically have their own issues and these kinds of relationships can be toxic. Instead of expecting five star treatment from everyone try giving it to yourself through taking great care, inside and out. You will be glowing and ready for the red carpet in no time.
It’s a Wrap
Everyone’s movie is not going to have a Hollywood ending. There are many plot-twists and turns in life. Listening, having empathy and being there for people during disasters and celebrating with them during their peaks can make you a character that they depend on. Even smiling at a stranger can make someone’s day. You are the Director and the Star, but like Clint Eastwood, you are not the Writer or the Editor. You can do your best with the script you were given, and then let the cameras roll!
“Go ahead make my day” ~ Clint Eastwood
Lights, Camera, Actions You Can Take To Make the “Big Time” Connecting With Others
- Smile at strangers
- Check your face
- Carry snacks for hungry people
- Compliment a stranger
- Tip well
- Say hello
- Learn the art of small talk
- When asked how you have been, having something better to say than “fine” or “busy”
- Send a nice message
- Send a card – in the mail!
- Send a care package
- Give the gift of your time
- Do not make commitments you cannot keep
- Always respond
- Be sincere (this may clash with small talk, but you can do it!)
- Learn their Love Language
- Ask about things they have brought up to you before
- Open up
- Be present
- Love and respect yourself
- Be generous and giving
- Express yourself