What on Earth does it mean to be a working actor? This is a question I have asked and struggled with since moving to the Bid Apple. I have always thought that it meant I was on Broadway, playing to a packed house every night. This is not really the case, merely a fantasy. This is still a goal I intend to achieve, mind you, but it is not the definition of what I think a working actor is.
I recently attended a free seminar presented through Reproductions. The casting director and life coach Peter Paula Rose was our host, and boy did she help to open our eyes. (Yes, her first name is Peter. Get over it.)
She said that 100% of actors are working their asses off. Every actor who is attending auditions and attempting to further hone their craft is essentially a "working actor." However, this can then be broken down even farther. Only about 10% of that initial 100% are working in the biz, while the other 90% are (much like me, dear reader) struggling to get by. Why? A HUGE factor is mentality.
An actor who is desperate for a job will come off desperate and needy. A Casting Director wants you to succeed, but they also want you to be ready for the job the instant you walk into the door. Being confident (not cocky) in your audition and knowing that you are right for the job is key. Nail the crap outta your audition and they will root for you.
As Peter was talking, I had a revelation. I am in that 90% right now. The auditions that I have been going on, while I feel decent about the work that I did in the room, I can tell you that my mentality was not where it needed to be. Because I have been struggling lately, I have taken it mentally upon me that I am not good enough and thus perpetuating a cycle. I walk in thinking ala Chorus Line, "God, I hope I get it...I really need this job." The show may be great, but that is THE WORST MENTAL MANTRA YOU CAN HAVE!!! (that was in all caps for me...cuz, you know, subtlety) If I am looking for approval, they will see that. This is something that I have been doing ever since I returned from tour. I walked back into NYC from the road with a pep in my step and a stone of need around my neck.
Everyone wants to attain some level of success in whatever they do. It is perfectly natural and if you're not striving to succeed at anything you're either a fool, lying, or running this country. All politics aside, I have had it with me being in my own way.
I have made it my solemn vow to be on Broadway by the time I am 30...and I am turning 28 in just a few months. So, what must I do? First off, I need to stop feeling sorry for myself. If I screw something up, as Anna says, "Be pissed for a day, then move on." When you've lived most of your life looking at the positive for others and at the negative for yourself, that can feel line an insurmountable task. However, I know that I have resources that will help me through literally anything I have happening in my life.
Secondly, I need to be more aggressive abut what I want. I tend to be a very timid individual. I think that to over compensate for my size, I should let people roll over me. No more, Mr. Pyfferoen! From this point on, I will be working to stand my ground and say what I need.
Finally, I need to remember that this is a matter of when and not if. Thinking the latter leads to doubts and further digging myself into a mental hole. The former will allow me to take any failure that I have in stride rather than in strife. So you didn't get that particular show...it must mean that something else is waiting for you.
My point of this mini-manifesto is to get it all out there. Spiritualists often say, "If you put it out into the universe, it will come back to you." So I pray to whomever is listening out there. I have the strength already inside me, I just need to recognize it and then use it to my advantage.
So, buckle you seat-belts folks. It's gonna be quite the ride.
On a different note, I will be doing more posts in the months to come, so stay tuned.
Finally, I wanted to give a huge shout out to a great friend and mentor Lindsay Mendez and congratulate her on recently winning the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Congrats to you, my dear!
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