Craig Archibald’s new book The Actor’s Mindset
Craig Archibald’s new book The Actor’s Mindset has this rare, distinctive maturity to it. There’s never a sense he’s ever resorting to spin, or for that matter trying to lord his own, considerable accomplishments over the reader. Such can usually be the case for a decorated professional “giving back” to a hypothetical new generation of artists, but Archibald succeeds in genuinely doing so. The Actor’s Mindset walks a fine line between a conversational tone, then showcasing in appropriately more formalistic prose the extensive process that it takes to actually put the professional into the easily dismissed, mistakenly superfluous concept of the actor.
Like any real profession, Archibald highlights that there’s a craft when it comes to being a proper Hollywood performer. Contrary to popular belief, actors aren’t empty-headed bodies with good looks. Those who make the cut, who are in the minority faction cutting through the extremely capricious and cutthroat nature of the business, are genuinely qualified and have the learned chops to do it. Archibald would know. He runs one of the most premiere acting workshops in the Los Angeles area.
“There is nothing more boring in Hollywood than dealing with a victim. Victims are desperate for approval and comfort. There’s nothing attractive about being a victim, nothing interesting or funny or inspiring. Never go into an audition or on set being a victim,” he writes. “That’s why I say that I create champions. Champions are attractive. Champions are interesting, funny, and inspiring. A quality artist is a champion. Work diligently, maintain the integrity of your art, and maintain your quality. I promise you will rise. It is difficult to predict when a quality artist will be recognized. Through my years in this industry, I’ve seen many people succeed. I’ve also seen many people put in the time and discipline to become quality artists without achieving great success.
All of them have, however, achieved self-worth and self-respect.” It’s this kind of affability that really wins the reader over on a visceral level. Archibald makes you feel genuinely taken care of, while never coming across as high-handed or paternalistic. He has a sense of empathy, but also knows when to clap you on the back. As far as Archibald is concerned, show business is tough, and one has to develop a thick skin. It’s just part of the job, one of the most real-world aspects of a multi-million dollar fantasy world built from special effects, celluloid, and your performance.
“Show business is the Wild West,” he writes. “Nobody actually knows how it all works or what’s going to be a hit or who’s going to make it big as an actor. What we do know is that a life lived as an artist dedicated to the quality and integrity of the art form is a life that will reward you. You will achieve far more than you thought you could, perhaps in ways you never thought you would. You can’t do it for the spoils. There’s tremendous value in a life lived in the pursuit of artistic excellence. The journey is the goal.”