No actor is safe. There is always a reckoning. There is always a moment when your training, your talent, and your dogged pursuit of the business fall prey to the forces that sabotage, undermine, and ultimately sink your career. And the worst part is no one tells you about it. Indeed, there is another acting technique, a technique that must be practiced alongside the ones you know. It’s the only way to sustain an acting career.
We see it happen every day. A trained, talented actor who has done the work is undone by a packed waiting room, or an adjustment she didn’t see coming, or a bad reader, or a really great reader, or bad feedback, or her inner critic, or getting dropped by an agent, or not getting called in, or traffic on the 405, etc, etc, etc. And it’s not just the actor who has been at it for a few years with no success. It happens to the actor who’s just come off the fancy TV show, who shoots the blockbuster movie, and award winners, too. There are a million reasons why actors lose faith, give up their power, and cease to be a creative force.
Seeking success within a business that rarely offers it,(and when it does, offers it for moments and only on its own terms) is very difficult. Being a sensitive being who maintains his or her vulnerability and emotional investment in the face of so much paralyzing rejection is almost impossible. Left unchecked, the disparity between your desire for creative and financial validation and the inability of the business to give that to you breeds hopelessness. And that is where art dies.
The only way to sustain a career and approach your work with the kind of openness that allows you to keep pushing the creative boundaries and be competitive is to engage in a different practice. You have to do the work of self-care, of self exploration, artistic practice, and generosity, work that allows your talent to be available to you even when the hurricane of rejection blows. You must do the work of making yourself a whole, happy, creative person, to approach each opportunity- on stage, on set and in the audition- not from a place of need, but of offering. You must have a practice that keeps you deeply rooted so that you can endure the slings and arrows and stick around long enough to reap the rewards of the business.