Dear Actors: Don’t Be Your Worst Own Enemy!

Dear Actors,

I see so many of you working hard and pursuing your goals. One thing I love about my job is that I get to give people jobs. I get to hire actors and help them develop their talent. I also, get to be an advocate for actors and help them reach the next stage of their careers. Actors who deeply want to succeed can fall victim to self sabotage.  Steer clear of these physical and mental traps.

1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People

There will always be someone older or younger, someone thinner or prettier or heavier or uglier or taller or shorter or whatever. Actors often focus on factors beyond their control. They constantly worry that they haven’t gotten far enough in their careers. Then they get a good job and they worry about what the other actors think, especially if those people are more experienced. They wonder if they were the first choice for the role and they keep comparing themselves in an almost always unfavorable manner. STOP IT. You will drive yourself crazy. I get it, I can obsess too (understatement of the year). Find a way to pour this nervous energy into something positive.

2. Don’t Tell Me You’re a Bad Actor

Countless times in an audition, an actor has said something like “I’ve been sick” or “I just got these sides” or “I didn’t have time to look at these” These comments are annoying because they can make me look bad in front of the director or producer. They are exasperating because what you’re really doing is preparing me for you to suck. You are trying to lower expectations. STOP IT. Bring your confidence and swagger even if you have no clue what you’re doing. Believe in your talent and others will too.

3. Don’t Get Caught Out Unprepared

Always have a postcard, business card (with photo), and/or headshot on you. ALWAYS!

4. Get Out of Your Own Way

I used to feel this undefined need to get permission for things. Like,  when I wanted to go into casting after working as a theater director, I tacitly sought approval for this decision from others. Finally, I met with a career coach who said, “Are you just looking for permission?” She saw that I had a whole plan laid out with attainable goals. She saw that I had the experience, but what I needed was her to say “yes.” Sometimes, we wait around for permission from other people when what we really need is permission form ourselves. I realized that I had been putting my goals and dreams on hold until I had received a certain amount of approval. I felt like without that approval, I wasn’t legitimate. I felt like an impostor who would be found out and ridiculed.  Seriously people, read up on impostor syndrome, it will change your life. This may take a lot of time and effort, but list your accomplishments and your qualities and realize that you are good enough and you do deserve success. Then get the hell out of your own way, baby!

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