Sometimes it feels like you’re a thousand miles from the industry. Sometimes it feels like no one knows you and no one cares. No agent is calling, no casting director is noticing, no one is inviting you to do your work. And it’s not like you’re not doing everything to make it happen. You’re hustling, training, submitting. And you’re rewarded with silence.
So your head starts to spin.
It starts with…
“Maybe it’s my headshots.”
“Maybe I need to re-edit my reel.”
“Maybe I don’t really know my brand.”
“Maybe I need to do more casting director workshops.”
“Or maybe it’s me.”
The sink-hole of doubt deepens, eating an ever-widening swathe of your confidence, your joy. You desperately try to think your way through a problem that can’t be thought through.
No matter where you are in your career- and this black hole of doubt engulfs celebrity actors who have just won fancy awards and actors who arrived in LA last month- there is only one way out of this hole. There is only one answer, one door that leads to an actor feeling whole and finding success. That answer is The Work.
The craft of acting, the doing of the work of acting, is what ignited your passion in the first place. The work propelled you across the country or the world to give your life to acting, to make it your career. The work is what gets you booked. It is your product. It’s what attracts agents, managers, casting directors, directors, executives, etc. The work is it- the humanity in it, the connection in it, the inspiration in it. But when you first approach the industry, connection turns to competition. And then you focus on the industry and not the art. But the truth is- industry responds to your art. So that must be your focus. You, the thinker, resists the work and says there must be another way. You, the artist, knows differently.
When you find yourself in the hole, three things matter. Before you look for another new agent, before you spend another $1000 on headshots or pay someone else to tell you who you are, you must know three things:
Your “why”? Lost in the fog created by the question, “should I keep pursuing this or should I give up?” is the “why.” Before you ask yourself, “should I do this?” ask yourself, “Why do I act?” And at every turn in your acting career you need to come back to why you do it. The answer will be unique to you, it will be a product of your desires, your values, and it will be the fuel that fires whatever action you take thereafter. You must take your “why” with you to every audition, every industry meeting, every headshot session, every time you approach the work or the industry. It must guide you.
Know that your acting matters. Long before there was an industry, there were storytellers who helped communities understand the world around them, helped them process their emotional lives, and made them feel whole. Artistic warriors have always risked their own feelings by navigating the rough emotional waters of life so that others may understand it. Millennia from now when, after all the networks go away, when there are no more auditions and the industry is nothing but ancient history, actors will remain. Actors are necessary. You remind us of our humanity and we need that now more than every. It’s bigger than the industry.
Actors act. Picture it: You’re in the desert. The blazing sun beats down on your neck. You’re thirsty. In front of you is a tall glass of cool water atop a small table. “I’m so thirsty,” you say to yourself. You lose yourself in the feeling of thirst. Your throat feels like sandpaper. The glass of water stands full in front of you. Waiting for you. You don’t drink. An hour goes by. “Seriously, I just want some water. I am SO thirsty.” You don’t drink. The glass of water remains full.
“ALL I WANT IS A GLASS OF DAMN WATER!” Why am I prevented from having water!?!!”
The glass remains in front of you, full, untouched. You want to act. So act. It’s right there in front you you. Write, shoot, distribute, collaborate with other artists, create art. Don’t wait for the industry to tell you to act. Act. Be your own industry. Success and fulfillment happen in the doing. So do. And technology is such that it’s never been easier to create and distribute art. You can’t choose to not act and then get pissed off that you’re not acting. Ah, but you want to act within the classic industrial model that requires an agent to work for you, a casting director to vouch for you, a director to invite you, and a studio and network executive to pay you. You want it easy. And this success isn’t easy.
We get it. You feel like you’re on the outside. But remaining in that place keeps you small. Movement out of that place- getting out of the black hole- happens when you know why you act, know that your acting matters, and then go out and act no matter what it takes. Being in the practice of knowing your why, knowing the importance of your work, and then doing it shatters illusory notions of “inside” and “outside” the industry within your own mind and does the work of attracting the industry. If there’s a path to success, that’s it.
Join us at The BGB Studio and get deep in the Work. Classes are here!