Unless you live in a dream world, someone will say something negative about your acting at some point during your career. The comment could be posted online, shared with someone else, or said right to your face. The comment might burst the bubble of perfection you felt about yourself or it might add to the load of criticism you’ve been liberally feeding yourself. Either way, there are really only two responses from which to choose.
1. Get Really Pissed Off
Hey, this happens to a lot of us. You feel insulted and offended. You try to come up with reasons this hater is wrong. You dive into whatever form of comfort you crave. Maybe it’s looking at the heaps of false praise that come your way from people who don’t know how to really evaluate acting. (Your mom’s undying love for you doesn’t make her an acting coach or film critic.) Maybe you attack back, finding every fault you can with your hater.
Sure, it’s hard to ignore someone talking in front of you about you, but what value are you placing on it? If you think random guy’s opinion matters, you’ll end up replaying the conversation in your head and taking away valuable time from actually making yourself a better actor. Admit it, if someone calls you terrible, it’s less of a lie than someone calling you great. If you need some help visualizing this concept, look at it as a scale of 1-10, 10 being one of the all-time greats. Where do you exist on that scale? If someone thinks you’re a “4”, that’s a whole lot closer to 1 than it is to 10.
2. Do Something Productive
Doing something productive could start with accepting you’re not that impressive as an actor … yet. Okay, in time you’ll be wonderful but for now you’re not in high demand. In fact, most people casting projects, especially the good ones, don’t know you exist. You’re practically invisible so as a magician you’d be a star. So let’s look at a few ways to turn negative comments into fuel to make progress for ourselves.
- Ask someone you trust for an honest appraisal of your work or auditions.
- Read success stories (from any field) of those who overcame great challenges.
- Research the business you’re in so you better understand the casting process, improvisation, or any number of aspects of this multi-faceted career choice.
- Find a coach to work with one-on-one.
- Offer other actors help as a reader for auditions.
- Take time to enjoy the performances of others, by watching TV, film or live theater shows.
- Find and work on a monologue that matches how the hater’s negative comments make you feel.
This is just a starter list to generate some helpful ideas for you. You are welcome, of course, to add to it. Maybe “productive” to you is playing bongo drums naked, but that’s your business. No matter what you decide to do, remember you’re the negativity will always exist, especially as you get more successful. The only thing you can control…is yourself.