Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a couple of actor friends reach out to me wanting to ask me questions. A lot of the time, people want to know about my agents because I’m happy with them and always talk positively about them (I guess that’s rare, but most of my friends seem to be happy with their representation). But lately, people have wanted to know about how to keep going with this career choice.
With it being pilot season, a lot of actors are having doubts. They see how many pilot auditions their friends or competition are getting and they are comparing themselves to them. They see the bookings that people are posting on social media and wonder what’s wrong because they don’t have any bookings to share. And they are starting to wonder if they should look at getting a “real job” and moving on with their lives.
I’m not sure why my friends have come to me because I have those same doubts too! Maybe I don’t show my doubts online on social media or my blog too often, but I have those thoughts all the time. Yes, I had a pilot audition back in October, but that was my only pilot audition so far this pilot season. In fact, that pilot audition was the most recent audition I’ve had!
I see my friends and competition going in for a ton of stuff that I’m not going in for. I can justify my lack of auditions most of the time (wrong hair color, wrong age range, I’m too fat/thin, I’m SAG-AFTRA and the project is non-union), but I still always question things. I want to lose weight for my health, but I know that it will also help me become more bookable once I reach a certain weight. I can be the chubby overweight friend instead of the “scary fat girl that nobody wants to sleep with while sober” (that is an actual description from an audition a few years ago). If I get to a normal size, I can audition for projects that aren’t weight specific. I’ve changed my hair color over the years and no matter what color it is, it will be the wrong color for certain things. And I will not work non-union as a union actor so I’m just out of luck for all those non-union projects (but I’m ok with that).
But my doubts go beyond getting auditions/jobs and not getting them. I have plenty of friends who create their own projects and I wonder why I’m never considered for parts. They have parts that I would be perfect for and they don’t even ask me to audition. Do they forget I’m an actor? Do I need to be pushier with my friends and contacts that I want to work with them? Being forgotten also is an issue with me as a blogger. People will talk about blogs about a specific topic I’ve written about or about women they know who write for this blog, and they rarely mention me. Again, do I need to point out to these people that I write too? I’m not sure why I’m not remembered or thought of, but this was a problem that my friends have had as well so I know I’m not alone.
I don’t know what the solution is to making the doubts go away. I do make an effort to do what I can on my own to make sure that I am as prepared as I can be for any opportunity I am given. I have apps to help me with my lines, acting coaches that I can work with to prepare for any auditions, and I self submit when I can so I’m not 100% dependent on my agents finding me work.
This may seem like a bit of a rambling post, but I want you to all know that you are not alone. I’m not sure if everyone has doubts like these, but a good chunk of people do. You may only see the best of people’s lives based on what they share in person or online, but in their heads they have the same doubts as you. People rarely feel so sure of themselves while they are not making 100% of their income acting that they will get to that point in the near future. They may toy with the idea of quitting and just don’t tell you. They may spend hours a week going over every audition, every encounter, and every moment that could have gone right or wrong. This is not a sign that you need to give up. This is a sign that you are human and you understand the reality of the situation you are in at that specific moment.
But just because that is your reality now does not mean that it is your reality for the future. And if you do want to keep pursing this career, you can be successful (whatever that may mean to you) and you can be one of those takes at least 10 years to be an overnight success stories that we all hear about.
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