I love actors

I recently received this email from a casting director:

“We have been so privileged to spend a weekend watching the most beautiful performances from every actor we recalled. We are so humbled by the talent we have witnessed and the spirit of good will. We are truly spoiled for choice. Now we start a jigsaw of piecing together the spirit as well as looks and ages of our characters. No matter what, we want to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the incredible actors who have given us so much to think about.

And from myself, it’s a privilege to be in the room when beautiful work is bringing to light the depth in the writing from generations of stories, thank you!”

Wow!

In all my years as a talent rep, I have seen this maybe, a dozen times.

And it makes me feel good. Most importantly it makes my clients feel good.  Appreciated.

One of the things I love about actors is their eternal optimism despite being rejected over and over again.

The really tough part about this is that for the most part no reason is given for the rejection.

Recently I watched a Ted talk by Jia Jiang “What I learned from 100 days of rejection”

Essentially, he set about desensitizing himself to rejection by inviting it. It’s a funny and very meaningful talk.

However, what he did was when he was rejected, he engaged. He’d ask why? The results were astounding.

The problem for actors is they don’t have that option. They go for an audition, do their best and leave.

Then nothing happens.

I mean NOTHING.

No “thanks for coming and putting so much energy into the audition but we don’t feel you are right for this”.

No “I am sorry but you just blew it by being a bit ……”

Nothing.

Constructive critiques would be useful so they can improve and move forward armed with some knowledge.

Nothing.

It’s not personal. It is just the nature of our industry.

A job comes in, the casting director casts it and it moves on up the chain to someone else. No one has the time to go through hundreds of auditions and assess each one. By the time that project has moved on up the chain, the casting director is prepping the next job.

That’s fair. I get it.

But it’s tough on actors (and their reps).

It’s tough, unforgiving and sometimes it feels downright mean.

Here’s a statistic for you.

3% of “actors” achieve a living wage or more. What a sad statistic.

So how do we change it?

Actors need to figure out two things.

First, how to get past the rejection and keep moving forward because of the 97% who do not achieve the success I mentioned above, over 90% give up – disillusioned, angry and often bitter. And I don’t blame them. Believe it or not it happens to agents and managers too. We get just as upset as our clients do. The burnout rate in our industry for talent reps is phenomenal.

And

then how to work out what the casting director /director / whoever is making the decision want before the audition.

That’s hard to do but it is what all actors need to learn to do.

It’s important to understand the mindset behind the project and in the casting room. Not how they, the actor, sees the project and role but how do the project decision makers see it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking you to give away your artistic choices – they may be what get you the role. What I am saying is that if you can understand where the decision makers are coming from then your choices can be more sympathetic to their dream.

And we all want people to understand our dream – right?

So, all my respect to those actors who take the long waits between auditions, the constant rejections, the never-ending disappointment and never give up.

In the end perseverance and faith pay off.

I just wish more of the so many talented actors I see, would keep going.

They are only one job away from success and as they give up and walk away, that job may come in.

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