So, not that long ago I felt really sad. I wasn’t depressed or anything of the sort, but I was just feeling so deflated and down about the lack of acting work in my life. I’m a big believer that you have to work hard to achieve your goals, and that things don’t happen for you if you spend your time sitting on your arse. Working hard is something I’ve always done and I’ve never once expected to be handed anything on a plate without working hard to earn it first.
This feeling started back in July this year. I went up for a casting that, on paper, was absolutely me to a T. I worked so hard on the initial self tape and was called in for the audition. I was kept right to the end after they had culled plenty of people throughout the day and I left feeling extremely confident that I’d gotten it. I knew that I’d done a great job and that’s something you have to let yourself be aware of in this industry. You need to acknowledge your achievements and recognise your success in order to help yourself grow. I received an email not long after the audition to say that I had been unsuccessful because “I didn’t fit right with the group of women they’ve cast.” They praised my acting abilities in the email highly and even said they would love to work with me in the future, which was a positive for me, at least.
However, what really hit me was the word “fit“, I didn’t “fit” right. Now, you may be thinking that this is something that actors hear regularly, but I feel like I hear it A LOT. It honestly does make me question what that really means. Don’t I fit because of the way I look, my hair colour, my height, my body shape? Or is it because they don’t see me gelling with the rest of the cast? It’s extremely hard because I’ll probably never know what the real answer is and that really can start to grind you down. How can I improve on making myself fit in when I don’t know the reason I don’t fit in the first place?
Usually, I’m really great at taking rejection because I’ve grown a particularly thick skin over the years throughout the pursuits of my career. I usually get a bit upset regarding the rejection at the time and then immediately bounce back because, well, tomorrow is a new day and all. However, this one really got to me.
I had a string of auditions and self tapes that followed that audition, all which amounted to nothing, which really didn’t help my low mood. I knew that I’d done my absolute best too, which makes it even harder to deal with. I know that I’m not right for every part but a slew of rejections one after another really can be difficult. As an actor the struggle really is very real. I actually heard a statistic not long ago that said that 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health problems, but for actors it’s 1 in 3. This really does reflect on the difficulties and hardship that the industry can bring and the impact it truly has on an individual. Like I said, I have an extremely thick skin and do bounce back quickly, but for everyone, that’s really not the case. This is why actors really do need support.
When you haven’t had a job for a while one of the worst things you can be asked is a question from a muggle along the lines of “what’ve you been in recently?” or “have you been in anything I would have seen?” The questions that literally fill you with dread and make you feel tiny when you have to answer them. It shouldn’t, but sometimes it can make you doubt your own abilities – especially when you get given a look of pity by someone who then assumes you must be awful at what you do if you haven’t been on the telly.
I know I’ve chosen to put myself through this competitive career path, but in all honestly, I don’t have the passion for anything else like I have the passion for performing. Doing anything else really would leave me feeling empty and unfulfilled and I can’t live my life knowing that I regret my choices. So, I choose to soldier on, stay determined and drive my mind in the right direction – towards my success.
I thought of the best way to get my spirits back up and it was just to stay active in the industry. I immediately started applying for acting jobs myself, looking for workshops and writing new scenes for my showreel. I’ve since booked in a voice over workshop, which I’m extremely looking forward to too.
Another thing that helped me bounce back was remembering I’m really not alone. I had a huge chat with my best friend Loren, who is also an actor. She’s been feeling the struggle too, so knowing we are sailing along in that little boat together, really does bring comfort to the two of us.
Also, upon recommendation I started listening to The 98% podcast. I can honestly say, it is the most relatable thing I have ever listened to and identified with in my entire life. The podcast is ran by two actors Alexa Morden and Katie Elin Salt who literally discuss the realities of the acting industry if you’re part of the 98% of us who don’t make your overall income from acting work. I have never nodded along and agreed with anything more and I highly recommend any actor to listen to it. So massive shout out to The 98% right there!
What this low patch and lull has taught me is never to underestimate my abilities. We all have these awful periods where things just don’t seem to go right, but it doesn’t mean you’re any less talented. Samuel L Jackson didn’t get his first movie role until he was 52 for goodness sake!
I’m still in a limbo of no acting work right now, but I am feeling a lot better about it. I am a huge believer in “everything happens for a reason” and I know that I have to go through many trials and tribulations before I will ultimately reach my goal. I have to stay driven and focused because if I work hard enough, I know my time will come.