An Actor’s Lesson: Learning to say “NO”

I’ve come to a valuable realization. Let me explain.

When you decide you want to be an actor, you are told (somewhat) what your future will look like. You will move to LA (Or New York, London etc…) and you will get an agent. Then you will audition a lot. You will be rejected often, but over time you will build a resume and a reputation and gradually the jobs will become bigger and more frequent and at some point you will be a working actor! YAY!

More or less, am I right?

Here’s the thing: Getting an agent is hard. They don’t tell you that. I’ve pounded the pavement for years and have had many agents. I figured out that the secret to this (other than being outrageously gorgeous and amazing and having killer credits, which if this is you- congrats, bitch) is persistence. There are LOTS of agents in this town. Keep at it and you’re bound to get one.

The BIGGEST misconception that many actors wrestle is this notion that since you have reps, you will get auditions! The cliche actor convo goes something like this:
“Who are you with?” “I’m with Rising Starz Talent but they never get me out. I need a new agent. Do you like yours?” “Nope. I’m looking to switch, too.” Typical.

Then I figured it out: You gotta be your OWN damn agent. They aren’t miracle workers! If you aren’t super unique, experienced, or crazy connected, how are they supposed to have you auditioning several times a week against the big kids? No one tells you this, but even when you have an agent and a manger, chances are, you STILL hustle your ass off. BIG lesson for me.

SO…I started producing my own stuff and somehow MIRACULOUSLY the stars finally aligned and I started auditioning. A lot. Now with that comes another dilemma: Why am I not booking??? Do I suck? Am I fat? Who the F*** is getting these parts?!

It has created a panic in me that had me taking every part that came my way. The problem with this is that not all projects: Pay, are artistically stimulating, are quality products that you want people to see. (REAL TALK)

Suddenly it hit me: After all the hours I have been spending learning lines, driving to auditions and callbacks and then DAYS on set—I could be clocking hours on MY projects (I have several in the works) that WILL challenge me and- not to sound like a complete dick buuuuut- will look better than the vast majority of the smaller projects I audition for.

So here it is: I’ve decided to prioritize, focus and learn to say “NO”. No bitch! I don’t need to do every project that comes my way. I have too much to do. Things I am SO excited about that will force me out of my comfort zone and showcase me in a way I’ve never been showcased before. Projects I believe NEED to be made. Projects I am PROUD of.

From now on, I’m only going to learn lines and audition for projects I am passionate about and will add to my range or reputation, stuff I am STOKED to be a part of.

In college my professor, Tom Bradac, who I truly love said this: “Please, people. One of these days, determine what you’re worth.”

I’ve often pondered this and never completely applied it. All I knew was, I am an actor and I WANT TO WORK. Well today I am deciding that I am an actor, but I’m also an artist and I’m worth more than playing gratuitous sexy roles or appearing in projects that look like they were shot by my cat on an iPhone. Sounds elementary, but I’m JUST getting it.

So please, actors, I encourage you to do the same. Life (not to mention our YOUTH) is too short to let anxiety run the show. Relax. Follow your heart and passion and believe that it will happen as long as you work hard and keep on keepin on. I’ll let you know how it works out for me 😉

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One thought on “An Actor’s Lesson: Learning to say “NO”

  1. Erik Conover says:

    That right there is the truth. We are in a great place right now, there has never been a better time in history to be an actor. All the tools to write and proficient our own content are at our disposal.

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