The start of a new year inevitably brings with it a list of goals: taking new photos, editing your reel, signing up for scene study and on-camera classes, sharpening your improv skills, finding new representation, going on more auditions.

The list can go on and on (and on), and every single one of those things is a good, tangible intention to set.

But amidst all the practical, proactive goals you’ll set out to accomplish, there is one thing you can’t forget, one thing that needs to drive you through all of it: You have to want to reach that excellence in yourself. If you don’t truly want it with all of your heart and soul, that list won’t mean anything, even if every single box gets checked.

Ask yourself: What does it take to be a great artist? How far do you have to push yourself? How does genius flourish? Do you have to bleed in order to hit your potential? How far do you need to go to be the best that you can be? What will motivate you to get there? Should you look for a teacher or a mentor that will stop at nothing to get to excellence in you? What does it mean to push yourself and work hard in acting? What is it that you truly have to do? How many hours do you have put in to succeed? What material do you have to work on to soar?

You have to feel like you have no choice, that your love and passion for the work is a conduit, a driving force. You have to crank up the desire to do the best work you are capable of and let yourself feel that ambition. You have to stay determined to succeed even when the going gets rough, even when all you’re hearing is rejection. Let yourself get up time and time again because you know your potential, and you know you have it in you to deliver the goods.

Make the promise to yourself not to betray what you know you can accomplish and put yourself in the position to do the work. Give it every ounce of creative energy in you. Once you’ve made that resolution, don’t back down or let anything stop you in the pursuit of that. You will aspire to nothing less than your biggest dreams and you will not settle.

And when you find yourself winning people over as you strive for greatness, exciting them with your potential, you’ll know that it’s what you really, truly want and that you’ve given it everything you have.


MicMICHELLE DANNERhelle Danner is a renowned acting coach who works with A-List Actors privately as well as on set. Michelle trained with Stella Adler and Uta Hagen and was voted favorite acting coach by Backstage readers and featured coaching Andy Richter on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.  Michelle has two books coming out in 2016, The Daily Ritual and The Golden Box.  Please find more about Michelle and her acting programs and classes at



Written by Michelle Danner