I think this term started in Snapchat so I already know I may be too old to reference it, but at this point “streak mentality” is so deep in our daily life we may not even notice it anymore. What is it? Streak mentality is needing to do something consistently in a long winding series so as to check a box or score a point.
Example: way back in April 2020 (ugh) when we were a few weeks into the LA lockdown, I was using my Headspace app daily. I got my lil check mark validation watching the streak number roll higher. I was so proud of all the work I was doing to better my mental health and stay so zen during the insanity. I was chill AF…UNTIL. Yes. Until I missed a day. I have no idea why I missed a day, not like I had literally anything going on, but I did. And just like that my Streak at the end of my next meditation went to 1. It was at 40-something. Now dont judge me because it was a really fucking emotional time, but I lost my shit. I cried. Like, what?? Not so zen Sam. I was so obsessed with my streak I had lost touch of why or what I was even working on.
Why is this important for actors? Our work is basically impossible to streak. Our schedules are ever changing and often no two days are exactly alike. Auditions come in waves or in a tiny sprinkle at the worst possible time. All we want is some normalcy and consistency…just think about how many times you’ve said “I just want to be a consistently working actor” lol as though it is the norm. The “nonstop daily self tape challenges,” “21 day fitness fix” or the “New Pages November” Facebook groups feed on this. Some of you may be thinking, “but I did some really great work with [insert challenge here]” and I want to be clear I am not down playing that OR saying it doesn’t work, in fact I think things like Audrey Helps Actors “Self Tape May” saves a lot of actors! What I am saying is it is a set period of time for a reason. Exactly why diets without time constraints don’t work, trying to maintain constant control of our life doesn’t work. Putting pressure on ourselves to self tape every. single. day. for the rest of the year isn’t realistic. You’re going to miss a day. Does that mean you shouldn’t even try? NO. That right there is streak mentality playing against you.
The last thing I ever want to do is discourage actors from working on themselves or their craft. But if the idea of that sneaky consistency with zero leeway (aka streak mentality!) is something you suffer from, that should be tackled first. This career isn’t streak-able. And if you know someone who is making it look that way, well, let’s keep in mind we’re all professional actors for a reason. I am working nonstop on my own path of working toward my goals without being derailed by a perceived timeline. So follow along because I for one (based on my meditation app incident) have a lot to learn.