For someone who makes his living as an Actor and gaining experience as a Writer, not a great deal of either has happened throughout 2014. I have reached the point in my career and endeavours, where I am very philosophical as to why things happen or don’t happen. For reasons that are beyond me it seems to work. I came across a saying today that rings out very true for me. It goes:-
“There’s a philosophical nature to acting. ‘What’s for you will not go by you.’ A great phrase to keep in mind when you don’t get that job.”
That sums up my thinking so well. Whether many actors realise it or not, Acting is a career, an endeavour and a way of life that one constantly fails at. This happens even to the most successful of actors. Let me explain.
One has set their heart and soul on a career in the Performing Arts. You have done your training. You have completed it successfully, now you are ready to take the world by storm. There is nothing wrong with this attitude. It is positive and anyone who has this kind of mental toughness will go far if they can maintain the mental momentum. And they will need to. Every audition and casting you are invited to attend is a job interview. Actors and other performers attend more job interviews (auditions and castings if you will,) than people in many other professions. Very few actors will get every single role they audition for – Indeed some like Actress Tilda Swinton, never ever auditioned for a job. She did her own thing with friends and fellow actors and for many years she worked with the Late Film Director Derek Jarman on many of his projects. So it can be done but for many of us, the audition/casting process is one we will encounter for much of our careers until we are known well enough for our work and career to be invited to a meeting rather than an audition. I digress however.
Acting is not so much a job but a way of life. Everything one does, everything one sees and experience is ‘grist to the mill’. As you live and experience more, you build up an arsenal, a storehouse of knowledge that you will tap into depending on the role you are working on. I say we fail at acting because no matter how good we are at our work, after we have done playing a particular role, we always think we could have done it better. Much better. I have lost count of the number of first night theatre performances where I was nervous as hell, thought I would mess things up (more so when I would be opening the play uttering the first words). And once the curtain goes up (metaphorically speaking,) I got going. By the end of the first night performance, I was so on an energy high, that I wanted to go back out on stage and do it all over again. And I am sure I am not alone in this experience.
The way I tackle an audition or a casting, is I look on them as not so much a job interview but an opportunity to perform and show the people in the room what I am good at and capable of. I found when I have left an audition room or studio, that I never look back or feel pangs of failure. I went into the room/studio, showed them what I can do and what I am capable of. If it is for me, if am the one, that opportunity will not pass me by. If it doesn’t, so what? It probably wasn’t for me or I was not what they were looking for. Life goes on. So do I. Move on to my writing and other matters. The next opportunity will always present itself. I am philosophical about things and don’t panic or get desperate.
Life is never as bad as we think it is. I am currently relaunching my career and have plans to succeed far more than I have in the past. I have had the best part of 2014 to think about things, to write and determine where I want to be.
Like I say, Life is never as bad as we think it is.