Today's the day we share some of the spiciest Dojo secret sauce.
Specifically, a lil' game-changer called The Actor's Training Menu.
Being an actor on the day-to-day is an unusual thing. As there aren't any standardised "exercises" for us to be practising (unlike scales for the musician or drills for the athlete), it can feel incredibly overwhelming, frustrating and — if we're being real — pointless to take any consistent action at all. We may have Ambitious-Ass visions and goals, but no framework or structure to support them. The thing is about Ambitious-Ass visions and goals though, 99.99% of the time, they depend on a framework or structure to exist.
So this, fellow actor-warrior, is exactly what The Actor's Training Menu solves. Overwhelm, frustration and excuses begone. With one of these bad boys in place, we can finally start moving towards our vision and goals with intention and clarity.
What the hell be a "Training Menu"?
While nerding out about all things sport psychology for our third-year dissertation at drama school, we were introduced to the concept of a Training Menu and were immediately obsessed. Yes, it's one hell of a raging life we lead.
Essentially, a Training Menu is a personalised weekly schedule, tailored to the specific strengths, weaknesses and goals of an athlete. This "Menu" is often developed in collaboration with the athlete's coach, trainer, and/or manager, or otherwise created by the athlete themselves. In appearance, it looks somewhat similar to a high school or university timetable and sets out the what (to train), when (to train) and where (to train).
These have now become quite a fine science as individuals and teams strive to maximise athletic potential, but we won't labour over the super specifics — as mentioned, we've already (joyfully) done all the nerding out.
The main takeaways for us are:
- A Training Menu's purpose is to systemise success, making the athlete's goals actionable and attainable.
- A Training Menu is completely customised to and for the athlete and their specific goal. It's the polar opposite of a one-size-fits-all approach.
- A Training Menu is both tremendously effective and unexpectedly simple.
Taking it actor-style
It may sound like an unusual concept to want to poach from the world of sports, and perhaps not immediately transferable to the experience of being an actor. But if we take a minute to reflect on the following two questions:
- Would we gain from having a solid, personalised structure supporting our Ambitious-Ass vision and goals?
- Would we gain from knowing what actions we need to take on a daily basis to get us to said Ambitious-Ass vision and goals?
We're probably quite likely to answer, "Hell yes!" in both instances. If we didn't, but already have systems in play that enable us to kick all the goals, awesome. Keep on keeping on, rockstar.
In reality, however, 99% of actors don't operate from any kind of framework (at least, not until we have a rehearsal schedule or shooting timetable thrust upon us). And while this isn't necessarily our fault — it's not something we're taught at drama school or in a typical acting class after all — doesn't mean we have to resign ourselves to never attaining our goals, or even feeling we have the ability to affect them. We just need a well-prepared action plan that clearly outlines the steps to take us from A to B. This is the first major benefit of an Actor's Training Menu.
The second is that it guarantees we're always tracking towards our goals and keeping ourselves "match fit", even in the moments when we aren't "working" or auditioning or in formal training. As Oprah Winfrey says, "Luck is preparation meeting opportunity", and a Training Menu ensures we're covered on the preparation side (luck and opportunity conversely being elements we have little control over).
The third benefit of a Training Menu is that — by design — it's tailored to our individual goal and our individual life. It can work for a massive goal or a smaller goal. It can work if we have a nine-to-five day job, or if we gig in the evenings. And if our goal changes or an unexpected life event arises, it's all good. It's our Training Menu — we simply readjust. But we're continually moving ahead, empowered and excited.
We're going to be sharing more about The Actor's Training Menu in future posts but wanted to provide a little sprinkle of secret sauce to start to metaphorically dip into.
If the full deep dive feels like a "NEED! NOW!" kinda thang, check out our online course. Here, we break down building an Actor's Training Menu step-by-step and the materials are yours to keep for life. If you're seriously committed to levelling up, this training will provide the framework to get you there.
Thoughts / feedback / challenges? We'd genuinely love to hear.