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I don’t think there’s an actor alive who hasn’t felt hopeless and discouraged at some point. It can drive us mad to not get auditions, not get work, not get an agent, or not get recognition. We can become filled with self-doubt and wonder if the situation will ever change. Even when the work is steady for awhile, there’s always the fear the streak of “good fortune” could change overnight. It’s no wonder so many actors resort to self-destructive behaviors during the course of either launching or maintaining a career.

So if it’s you who is sitting alone quietly right now trying to solve the problems in your head by yourself, remember you’re not really alone. There are a whole lot of actors around the globe, new and experienced, dealing with the same situation. But instead of blaming others for their lack of auditions, bookings, income, etc., many of these professionals are following strategies taught to them.

I have a list of 10 things I encourage you to integrate into your daily and weekly lives when you’re feeling at your lowest. If this is your first time reading my blog, this list will give you a clear sense of how I see an actor’s role within the industry as a whole. Take time to read and reflect on each one before moving on to the next. 

10 Things to Remember When Hopeless & Discouraged

  1.  This line of work you have chosen isn’t about you. It’s about serving others at every level. Ask yourself, how am I serving my industry first today?
  2. When you feel entitled to get exactly what you want when you want it, you’re risking running your business into the ground. Be flexible, be patient, and look for opportunities that aren’t always obvious.
  3. The most direct path to what you want isn’t always the right approach. Some of the most successful actors didn’t book breakthrough roles by acting only. Expand your value by learning other production duties and special skills that could win you the job.
  4. Your breakthrough role hasn’t been written yet. Enough said.
  5. A sudden change in your appearance is not a solution. Changing your hair color or style, for example, won’t solve the problem overnight. Avoid the quick-fix mentality and look for ways to invest in your career long-term.
  6. There’s a reason you have the expectations you do for yourself and your career. Examine how realistic your thinking has been up to this point.
  7. There is no one blueprint for acting success. Some acting coaches tend to believe their perspective is gold and everything else is copper. If you have been strictly following someone else’s advice or teachings and it’s not working for you, consider studying with someone new.
  8. You’ll never understand all the complexities of the NOs you get in this business. Rejection comes for all kinds of reasons and often you don’t get the whole story or you get no story at all. Focus on only what you can control.
  9. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made since starting to work as an actor. We’re really the culmination of all of our choices and we each make some not-so-effective ones at times. While we can’t go back and change a decision, we can learn from it for years.
  10. Take a break. Stepping away from acting for a period of time (weeks or months perhaps) can recharge and renew your interest in the craft. By taking time to invest in other areas of your life, you may find you bring a new approach to building a career that wasn’t obvious to you before.

For the actors from around the globe visit this blog site, I invite you to share this post with a peer who is feeling hopeless and discouraged about their career today.  Send them this friendly reminder that their choices, not external forces, will things change for them. May they feel encouraged to face the obstacles directly and find empowerment in being an actor who brings stories to life to change and better the world.