I remember being a new actor filled with excitement prompted by an upcoming audition, no matter how big or small the role. That feeling never left. However, it has been joined by a sense of frustration after a long period of numerous auditions and very few bookings.
Today I discovered a positive way to look at my severe shortage of bookings in the last couple of years. It came from a term I heard today in an adult Sunday School class. The term is “divine interruptions” and refers to ways we may be pulled off the path we’re on, even temporarily, during our journey in life.
Difficult times are a constant threat for any actor. A slow period with few auditions or bookings affects almost every single one of us sooner or later. Yet these challenging weeks/months/years can still bear fruit, so to speak, if we see them as an opportunity to grow and learn.
A few days ago I had a meeting with my agent to express my concerns and found the experience to be very helpful. While she couldn’t provide any concrete answers about why I’m not booking, she did introduce the idea of reevaluating my current headshots. I’ve been using a couple of them since fall of 2011 and a couple of others since a year ago.
A fresh look might help renew interest in me. I do manage to audition for commercials and industrials a lot so my headshots must be working on that side of the business. Unfortunately, my opportunities to work in film & TV are far less frequent. In fact, when my agent rattled off the names of more than 10 film & TV productions casting in this region, I realized how many roles I have been submitted for but not asked to audition for.
The first step for some actors in this situation may be to shoot new headshots. In this case, my agent asked to see existing ones from previous sessions. So I spent some time that evening looking through more than 100 to select 14 unused ones. I sent her a link to those 14 on PhotoBucket.
Another step I can take during this time of Divine Interruption is to edit a new demo reel. My commercial demo reel will be challenging to update since I have not done much commercial work in the last couple of years. Instead I will focus on my film & TV demo reel. The existing one is fine at best but not highly memorable, and there’s no point of getting someone to actually watch a demo if it’s only adequate.
A third step to take during “slow” times is to learn a new monologue. I just gave this advice to an actress today. She’s been so busy with auditions and bookings lately that the idea of having nothing on her calendar in the coming week is frustrating. Learning a new monologue can help her shift focus from auditions and bookings for a few hours, beginning with the time it takes to find one online, in a book of monologues, or by carefully considering which film character roles offer monologue options for her type.
Efforts to enhance our value as actors are not the only ways to respond to a delay or interruption of forward momentum. Efforts to enhance our personal lives with a renewed interest in family, friends, and hobbies can be a productive alternative to a allowing lingering feeling of frustration to remain. Acting opportunities come and go. Learning to live with ourselves in between those opportunities is a lesson that can pay off for a lifetime.