Photo by Debra Lopez
October 04th, 2015
DISCLAIMER: THE FIRST HALF OF THIS LETTER IS BITCHING.
IF YOU CLAIM TO WANT TO BE A FULL-TIME ARTIST, BUT ARE ACTUALLY JUST FULL OF SHIT, MAKING EXCUSES AND NEED TO BE CUSSED OUT FOR LAME, FLAKY ARTIST BEHAVIOR, THIS EMAIL IS FOR YOU.
IF YOU ARE NONE OF THE ABOVE,
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO
APRIL'S STORY, HOWEVER
YOU WILL MISS THE FUN
OF THE FIRST PART OF THIS LETTER....LOL!
WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET TIRED OF YOUR OWN BULLSHIT?
You know what's interesting about this list of problems? The fact that almost half of the people who completed the survey said that these were the reasons why their career was stuck and not moving
Want to hear another fun fact?
Most of those people have not bothered to listen to any of the free videos and teleclass, all of which provide concrete solutions to all the problems they mentioned in the survey. All of these resources have been on TheDreamUnLocked.com main page for the last week!
EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO MONEY FOR A CLASS, do you realize that all the free material I've sent out can help you accomplish both your 3 month and 6 month goals?
You could do this shit on your own right now without paying me a dime...
So why aren't you?
Why aren't you handling and mastering everything that is within your power to accomplish as an artist?
So what does this all mean and why is this woman cussing me out?
It means, there are lots of folks claiming to be artists who don't really mean it and that's fine. O r people just don't have the money to invest in their careers right now and that's just fine, too.
But then why aren't you viewing the FREE info you asked me to send you?
I'm giving you about $2500 of free information in FREE Videos, Blogs and newsletters with strategies outlined so that in 3 months you could be ready to audition for pilot season and have relationships with casting directors.
Since it's free and you haven't accessed it and it's been available for over a week, the logical conclusions are:
1. You're don't really want to be a working artist
2. You clearly need me to call you out on you bullshit.
And those are the only two viable reasons why you haven't you've blocked your blessings.
If, it's number one...thanks the heavens you found out now. If it's number 2, go search through the emails I've sent you in the last 10 days and read them carefully and take notes.
Go ahead, I'll wait.
Then click [www.TheDreamUnLocked.com](http://TheDreamUnLocked.com) and listen to the free teleclass and the free video playlist of 4 separate videos on that page. T
Go ahead, I'll wait.
Then you have two choices:
1. You sign up for the class
2. If you have no money or feel like you can do it on your own, do the tasks I outlined in the videos and teleclass right now.
Great. Pick a goal and committ 10 minutes to it each day. That's an amazing start. You'll add an additional 10 mins for another goal in about a week.
Otherwiese, if you're super hungry and really at the end of your rope. Then sign up for the
Find Your 'F*ck It' Moment, Move into Film/TV
and take advantage of the 2 installment or 3 installment payment plans.
Sign up HERE today before the class fills up.
Why is this woman giving me all this homework?
Because you told me you want to work in film/tv and I'm trying to make that happen for you.
Because if you can't make time to listen to classes, take notes and put goals in motion on your own, then how are you going to handle an audition in front of network casting directors, directors, creators/founders of TV shows?
How are you going to prepare for a pilot season audition in less than 24 hours with 15 pages of sides?
If you can't master this content, then how are you going to pull off a co-star role with 30 pages of new sides each morning and 14 hour days on set for a co-star role paying you $20,000 for one week of work?
If you can't manage the simple task of keeping up with free information, you are in no way ready for the business of acting. And no one cares how talented you are if you can't focus long enough to read, comprehend and follow directions.
Is this stuck up?
Maybe, but are smart actors more successful?
So next time you catch yourself complaining about how bad some TV actor is on a show and you can't believe he got that job, remember this:
That bad actor was not too busy or unable to focus on emails carefully, take directions and respond timely to request that would get him closer to working as a full time actor. He took the info and used it to get the audition that landed him the series regular job.
He didn't complain about how much money he didn't have or try to make deals to get something he needed for his career on the cheap.
That actor (and I know him/her) worked 5 different jobs to pay for their press kit, brand, acting coaching, etc. They did it without complaint and minimal direction.
And mostly, they went in search of me, laid down the ducats and without argument, said
"Tell me what I need to do and it's done. No questions, no complaints and I will do exactly what you ask of me because I want to be where you are."
My clients Mandy Evans-Brown, Michelle Hartley, Josette Dwyer, Andrew Koss, Brittany Mirabilé, Julia Ogilvy, Nalini Sharma, Lee Edward Colston, Nilla Watkins, Heather Raffo, Wally Marzano-Lesnevich and many more.
They did it by listening to every free class, webinar I sent their way. And gradually they made their way up to private coaching, but only after taking smaller classes with me and they did as much on their own as they could before coming to me.
And most importantly,
- They were broke and scared shitless just like you, but much more scared of working a grinding 9-5 for the rest of their lives...
- None of these actors are any different from you. They're struggling, waiting tables, running kickstarters, working double shifts, temping, going without sleep. They are doing whatever it takes to put acting first which is why they have these amazing success stories.
The 'Shut the fuck up and do what the fuck I tell you' school of thought as taught to me by Maggie Flanigan & Bill Esper
My teaching style is clear, forthright and demands every ounce of you because my acting mentors were just this tough and it made me who I am today: a Tony-winning producer/ actor/writer and coach.
I knew that at any time during my 3 year Rutgers graduate acting program, that if I decided to not adhere to rules or question the validity of the technique they were teaching me, they would cut me from the program. I didn't sit around with my acting classmates complaining about all the work or how much debt I was going to be in. Because one TV show would take care of that debt. And this would only happen if I became a great actor and businesswoman. My thinking was, I actually researched my teachers and am paying them $70,000 dollars to learn what they know. So, it's in my best interest to shut the fuck up and do what the fuck they say. And when I did, my acting work soared and I was cast twice as much as any of my classmates and I couldn't stop booking work after graduation
So, shut the fuck up and do what the fuck I say is my mantra because that shit works....
Real artists find the money no matter how much it hurts
For those of you, like Brittany Mirabilé who moved from unemployment to a major motion picture principal role in 4 months, who are ready to starve and stop chasing your own bullshit, keep reading.
If you're still on the fence, click [here](https://madmimi.com/s/684db6) to read her story.
I'm tough because what I teach works.
Here's what I know:
"I can't afford the class" is more extra crispy bullshit.
And this case study is how I know this to be true.
Case Study: April Yvette Thompson's Journey Through Her Bullshit
My acting teacher, Bill Esper, told me the first year in grad school:
"If the choice is between buying a $150 broadway ticket to see a once-in-a lifetime masterful performance OR having enough money for food, rent or metro card; then a real artist eats beans, pays rent late and walks 30 blocks home so they can buy that expensive Broadway ticket.
Because you weren't born to be a 9-5 drone,
pay rent on a crappy apartment and eat take out.
You were born to be an artist,
so start acting like one by any means necessary.
And he was right. When I got out of school, I showcased and got zero interest. No one signed me, I couldn't even find temp work. I was tired, cold and starving.
But everyday, I found my way to this stage door in Times Square. At about 3:15pm on matinee days, I stood outside in the rain and listened to Audra McDonald sing "Daddy's Son." She broke my heart and put it back together again.
Then I would wait to hear Brian Stokes Mitchell enter and sing "Wheels of a Dream." And I wept and was revitalized and restored. Years later, I actually told Brian, this story when I got the chance to work with him. We both got a little teary because it's amazing when your work means so much to another person. When your work heals hearts and mends broken spirits, that's nothing short of amazing and the reason why we are artists. For the stories we tell to be society's Balm in Gilead: a place of truth, hope and compassion. That's our job and you can't do it weighed down by bullshit and with no business strategy.
The storytelling that Audra and Brian were laying down was sublime. It kept me alive because I knew that was the kind of work I wanted to do. I laughed, soared, believed and got the fuck to work.
I knew that I couldn't afford that $100 Broadway ticket, but I bought it anyway. I ate lima bean soup, bounced my rent check and walked home for a full week from times square to Harlem just to see those performances. Because I knew I was going to become a great artist and business person. I knew when the opportunities came, I would come to them without excuses and do what I feared no matter what.
One day this sad little unsigned, unemployed actress with a mountain of student load debt from Rutgers MFA program got a call. After 2 weeks of standing outside those theatre doors in the rain listening to my idols (cuz I could only afford to buy one tix), I got a call from a guy who said he was the casting director for "Ragtime" and would I come in and just sing a few bars and ACT "Daddy's Song."
He said, "We're looking for a great classically trained leading lady like Audra to be her swing (understudy)."
I asked him if he was smoking that pipe because I do not sing.
He said, " I saw you in showcase and you are a powerhouse storyteller. Who'd you sign with?"
And I said, " Ah, no one Mr. Mungioli, all the agents already had their black girl and I don't look, act or sound like anybody in the business, so no one knew what to do with an unknown type."
What's that I hear: BULLSHIT. BULLSHIT. BULLSHIT.
Pretty nifty the way I had my excuses all lined up like that...
I was so full of shit...lol...
Arnold Mungiol ignored my bullshit and said: "That's ridiculous. There is a real shortage of artists who truly want to be great actors and not just stereotypes You've got your eyes on greatness. Now take this sheet music and learn it by Thursday."
It was Tuesday, I believe, when I was given this ultimatum...
Holy Moses! I called every musical theatre diva I knew because I had never done' no damn musical in my life, well, except summer stock. And that was not on my resume for a very good reason: I'm allergic to singing harmony. Singing scares me so much I break out in hives right before I have to sing for an audition or even before those shows in summer stock. For godsake, just practicing with a music teacher has the ability to send me to the hospital with epic hives. Hence I try never to sing in the absence of an antihistamine....hollerin....
Anyway, every composer, singer, actress said the same thing: Book a session with the musical director of the show, Sandy Campbell. She'll be bloody expensive, but screw that, you have to audition to be Audra McDonald's understudy. That's once in a lifetime, so suck it up.
I was scared shitless and yes, the musical director did agree to coach me, but her fee was triple what most coaches charged for A single hour and I needed 2 hours. But I knew she helped create those Tony-winning "Ragtime" performances and I also knew that she would be in the audition room, so I sucked it up and paid them late rent fees and all.
E.T. phoned home. I borrowed ducats from a cousin, an uncle, two BFF's and did without, but I coached with her. I walked to her apartment in the Carnegie Hall building and it was stunning and ain't no black person lived there ever. She opened the door and smiled. She was tough, but warm. I explained that I was not a singer. That I had never sung professionally. But I could act.
This little blonde firecracker turned to me and said,
"Baby, if you can act like Arnold says, then you bloody well can sing. Because real singing is not about expressing your little feelings. It's about telling the story of what it is to be human, to be afraid, to be unwise and cruel, to be forgiven and reborn. And sometimes, that kind of story comes out on a nice smooth A or has a lovely legato. But a real storyteller, just opens her mouth and lets the truth fall out. And if that truth cost her, then that note is more than good enough. It's the most vulnerable note of all and it takes the kind of courage we all wish we had."
I'm paraphrasing, but it was something totally awesome like that that got my voice out of my head and into my heart.
And what Sandy did for me, is what I'm doing for you. She would not allow my bullshit to stop me from stepping into my dreams. She cut through my bullshit and reached me the way she knew I would be able to hear her.
Basically, she allowed me to know I was full of shit and much better than my fear was allowing me to be.
After that rousing story about what acting, we worked hard for 2 hours, squatting, lifting piano legs to get my voice to drop down. Notes that were epic and beyond me, she taught me to talk sing and focus my attention on the monologue, on the story. Tell the story and at the end she said:
"You. Can. Do This."
And I did.
I went to the audition in my Nordstrom dress with the tags still on it, because my friend had charged it and it had to be returned. I took off my shoes and got ready to enter the world, the only way I knew how: as a young woman about to lose her child, her soul and whatever came out of my mouth was going to be good enough.
I got a callback. I was like WTF! Bullshit shoving really works.
But more importantly, Arnold Mungioli picked up the phone and told Sames & Rollick Talent Agency:
"Did you see April Yvette Thompson at showcase? You better sign her before someone else does?"
The next day, I entered the Sames & Rollick talent agency and before I sat down, Diana Rollick said:
"Arnold says we have to sign you and we do what he says because he knows talent and he knows fighters. So, here's the contract. Let's do this."
Then, this totally amazing, wacky white woman slides a contract across the table. I don't think she even knew my last name yet....hollering...
You could have knocked me over with a feather, but my ass took that contract home, read it carefully, asked tons of questions about it, called Equity to ask questions and then I signed it. Why?
BECAUSE SERIOUS ARTISTS CAREFULLY READ
EVERYTHING SENT TO THEM THAT COULD CHANGE THEIR CAREER.
Now, thanks to me doing my work and Arnold Mungioli, I was now signed with a an awesome agency who sent me out constantly. The word of a casting director carries tremendous weight. It can change the course of your career.
Back to my audition. I made it to the third round of callbacks for the "Ragtime" tour. And then booked my dream role of Beneatha in "A Raisin in the Sun" for a 6 month tour with the most amazing director I have ever had the privilege of working with: L. Kenneth Richardson, the founder of Crossroads Theatre and the producer of the world premiere of George C. Wolfe's "The Colored Museum."
I had to make a choice: was I going to truly become an actor who sang or was I really going to become a classical actor in the theatre. I chose the latter because I knew my heart was in the classics. I knew that one day, I would write great epic plays like Lorraine Hansberry and I did. This decision was critical to that step.
From the moment, I auditioned for Arnold Mungioli in that rehearsal room in the back of a Broadway theatre, I booked everything that I went out for. See, because the minute I threw all I had into the business of acting: coaching, buying the outfit, new headshots, etc, the business came for me.
You attract what you do.
I couldn't stop working. It was like a light came on in the room and all of sudden all these casting people saw me. I worked non-stop for 7 years in the theatre. I worked in Dallas, Boston, Zimbabwe's HIFA, Alaska, Minnesota, Hartford, Miami, Cleveland. I toured the country with the Acting Company and solidified the relationships that have kept me working for the last 15 years.
I remember seeing the amazing Heather Simms who had just booked "Ma Rainey" on Broadway with Whoopi Goldberg. I was in the lobby of Playwright's Horizons where she had just done Kia Corthron's "Breathe, Boom." And I told her that I loved her work.
She looked me up and down, smiled and said, "So you the one that's been taking all the jobs. I kept wondering who is April Yvette Thompson? Now I know."
I laughed and was like, no way. But then I realized that I really was working like crazy. I realized that booking that much work is not normal. I realized how hard I had worked to be at this place and how broke I still was because you cannot make a living in theatre. (Hence I've created a busy strategy to work in TV/Film) But theatre is where you learn how to act and that was my goal for the first 7 years of my career.
Heather opened my eyes. I realized that my success was direct result of doing my work but also, the one thing most other folks were not doing: the business of acting. I had a monthly marketing strategy in place that kept me on the tips of peoples tongues. I spent $250 monthly on snail mail to industry folks without making excuses or getting in my own way.
I learned how to move my bullshit out of the way so the business could find me.
And mentors taught me how to get past my bullshit. They cast me and made me work twice as hard as anyone else in the room and I shut the fuck up and did exactly what my wise mentors told me to do.
Mentors like James Bundy who sat in a room with me for 3 hours going line by line to teach me how to handle classical text. It was grueling and terrifying, but he gave me a year long lesson in those 3 hours. And cast me not once but several times in a 2 year period.
L. Kenneth Richardson whose mind moved so fast and whose heart could hold the entire journey of black folks from slavery til today. He taught me how to hold the stage and what African American Standard sounds like. He also told me I wasn't just going to make my living from acting. He said:
"You're going to find a way to run shit.
No doubt in my mind at all.
Now go pick up some spicy chicken wings for lunch."
Seret Scott who gave me my first leading roles when no one would cast me in leads, only characters. She would take me with her to the grocery store after rehearsal so she could give me more notes. She wore me out. She cast me in a play she had written for her to play the lead. But she felt I could do it justice. I was floored especially since the very first workshop I did with her at NYSF, I was so bad that even the stage manager looked away whenever it was my turn to speak. I was awful at the time because I was still in the midst of my own bullshit. But 7 years later, post all my bullshit, I could step into roles and she cast me.
Secret was the first person to tell me I was a writer. She texted, emailed, called me non-stop demanding pages for my first play. I am a writer because of her.
And Jessica Blank (well, I do give her lip but only cuz thas my girl) who gave me the gift of form as a writer and taught me what it means to be a woman warrior for truth.
I listened, took the notes and never argued with them because they knew how to get me to the next level. But most importantly, all those mentors knew how to cut through my fear = bullshit. They simply did not tolerate it and they demanded more of me until I was too exhausted to say 'no' to their demands.
I never complained about what I didn't have and I went without, if I needed to have money for things that moved my career forward. Every single dime I made went back into my career. It was about working all the time, but also about getting better roles and becoming a great actor. Nothing stood between me and that destiny.
Don't laugh, cuz I'm about to share my personal business, but it's real. I remember a couple of my girlfriends "accidentally getting pregnant" right around this time and the guys marrying them as a consequence. (None of those couples are still together, BTW because those relationships were driven by fear).
I remember dating a few brothers back then who all refused to wear protection. They were adamant about how they couldn't feel anything with a protection on. And that would be about the time that I asked for the check and took my little black behind home, alone.
Because I told one young man:
Baby, I'm not trying to catch anything that would stop me acting. That includes a damn baby from a man I barely know. I don't believe in love by entrapment. I'm trying to be a great artist right now and a better human being.
So whoever gets near me is going to wrap it up, bag it and seal it. Because I have too much to lose to be having "accidental babies" so I can get someone to marry me. That's not why I'm here. My self worth doesn't come from trapping someone into loving me. It comes from following my heart's desire and putting it first. The rest will come if I'm a whole person. And following my heart is what will lead me to being a fuller, better version of myself."
Needless to say, I lost boyfriends, but I had the career and more importantly the life I wanted because nothing stopped me. Whenever a class or teacher or outfit or coaching was needed, I never asked how much. Once I decided I needed that thing to become better, price was irrelevant.
And I have not stopped working since...
Becoming a working artist is a call to war
You can learn all about my work on AprilYvetteThompson.com
and I strongly advise you to research me if you plan on spending money on a class with me.
Because my teaching style demands all of you. There can be nothing in the way of the work or it won't get done.
If you want results like Brittany, Mandy and Josette...
If you want to be in a film or pilot by January, I know how to get you a lot closer to that goal than you are right now.
Becoming a working artist is a call to war...
That's how I treat it...
And when you treat the business like that...
When you put it first,
it WILL come for you...
That much I can promise you:
The more you do the business of acting,
The more the business comes for you
So click www.TheDreamUnLocked.com now.
Watch the new video: One Thing You Can Do Right Now to Raise Money for your Career
Listen to the step by step outline of this 4 week class when you press play on the recording of the Teleclass in the upper right hand corner of [this](http://www.Thedreamunlocked.com) page.
It's an amazing FREE 90 minute class on how to move into film/tv...why would you not listen to that? oy vey...
Decide what the fuck it is you want to do and do it.
Get it done
No more excuses
No more bullshit
Click here now and purchase the class on one of the payment plans
or leave the page and go figure out another way for you to get your dreams fulfilled....
Find a way to be true to you...
Find a way to make what you say you want, match your actions...
That's all I got...
Love, Light & Power,
April & TheDreamUnLocked Team
P.S. Everything you need to register is on www. TheDreamUnLocked.com
P.P.S. All the FREE videos go away on Monday, 10/5 at midnite. So click here now!
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April Yvette Thompson