Waiting for something to happen?

I work in a tough industry – probably so do you if you are following me.  As a result, I do a lot of work on mindset.  I have done online courses, had coaching and read books by the (literally) hundreds.

Because, while I know that the majority of actors think agents are somehow impervious to your rejections, we are not.

Every time a client of mine misses out on an audition, or doesn’t book, or quits I feel it. I ask myself – could I have done more? Did I get that one wrong? It feels personal. It is very easy to slide down that slippery slope of negativity. We are human too.

So, I have spent a lot of the last 4 – 5 years studying mindset and trying to practice what I have learned and where appropriate passing it on to my clients.

As a result, I think I know a lot about mindset, how it works and how it impacts our lives.

The tricky part is implementing the techniques I have learned.

However, one trick that invariably works for me is the question “if you were told that today is your last day alive would you be satisfied with what you have achieved to date and the effort you have put in to create the life you want.”

I thought of this question this week when a couple of young actors asked the question “why aren’t I getting auditions?”

One of them has put in the work – a lot of it – but it’s very recent and things take time to filter through in our industry sometimes. If she keeps working hard and delivering the material and the improvements, she will see the results.

The other had been given the exact same advice and had taken none of it so the result was to be expected.

The problem is that so much of the industry is based around extras work and unpaid amateur work that aspiring actors think that is acting and that is all they have to do to reach their goals……that with all these credits and connections in the amateur market or extras world, they’ll just step into the professional market and the opportunities will appear.

And that’s where the problem hits.

Because there are gazillions of people just like them. All of them trying to make it. The industry is spoiled for choice.

It is my experience (and is an industry statistic) that only about 3% of actors actually make the smart moves, take the advice and do the hard work. The rest wait and complain that their agent isn’t doing their job because they are not getting auditions.

Now if you want to be “commercial talent” that’s fine –commercials, extra work is all perfectly fine and there is a market for you. A few photos, an online profile, a decent agent and you can give it a reasonable shot. It’s not hard to get into, not hard to do. It’s still competitive but life is one big competition so nothing new there.

But if you want to be a working actor then you have a journey ahead of you and no, while I love your self-belief, you are very unlikely to be the exception.

The truth is, if you want to be a working actor, you have to do the work.  So, what do you have to do?

First, ongoing acting classes (and I mean at least one class every month) that stretch you – going to the same class or course multiple times is not really going to pull out the best actor in you. You must learn and grow and be always evolving. After a few of the more general courses and workshops, you should be looking for coaching. Small classes that work with individuals.  I am personally a huge fan of one on one coaching because it gets results – fast.

Next, regularly updating material i.e. new photos every year because yes you do change. And besides that we and the casting directors get bored looking at the same shots day in and day out.  Boredom often creates invisibility. 

Scenes – Ideally, I like to see one really good, well shot new scene every 3 – 4 months. Why that often? Because it offers proof to me (and ultimately the casting directors) that this actor is working on their craft and getting better, delving deeper, exploring new facets of their personality and ability.

That may not get you auditions all the time but you will earn the respect of the people who matter – the decision makers, and ultimately it will put you on top of your agents list and the casting directors audition lists. It’s not what you do once, but what you do consistently that wins us over.

So, my question for today is are you happy with the effort you are putting in to achieve the results you dream of? Or are you sitting waiting for something to happen and complaining about everyone else letting you down?

Whichever it is, ultimately the power lies within you.  If you know deep down you are not asking for help, not updating your material, not in regular training, then maybe think again about your goals and what you are prepared to do to achieve them.

I am going to finish with a story from Mel Robbins, an amazing coach for all things mindset.  She said something like “I used to think every day that I should lose weight. I wanted to lose weight because I’d look better, I’d feel fitter and life would be better but the truth is, I am not prepared to do the work to lose that weight. My aversion to exercise, my love of good food and alcohol mean that I won’t do the work consistently and what that tells me is I don’t want to lose the weight enough to make the sacrifices needed.  So, I stopped thinking about it. I took the self-talk of “I should lose weight” out of my life. Completely. Gone. Why waste time and energy wishing for something you are not prepared to do the work for because you are never going to get it.”