Pilot season is the time when everyone around you is seemingly booking roles and the pressure to join the rat race is at an all-time high. It’s when many actors engage in self-sabotaging behavior and become their own worst enemy, especially if they’re in the majority of those who don’t book a pilot.
Maybe you’re probably wondering why you didn’t move past the pre-read. Or how your friend booked yet another pilot. Maybe your thoughts are spiraling into the territory of, “Am I not at the same level as my peers?!” This is self-sabotage talk. If it sounds familiar, don’t fret! I’m guilty of doing it, too.
Self-sabotage is an inner critic that will keep growing if you don’t put a stop to it. But you can end the cycle by following a few simple strategies.
1. Acknowledge you’re on a journey.
Actors are both blessed and cursed with heightened self-awareness. You take stock of where you are in life multiple times a week—if not multiple times a day. Just because you’re not where you think you should be, doesn’t mean you’re not in the right place at this moment. Maybe the play you’re doing is exactly the thing you need to grow as an actor. Maybe that weekend you spent auditioning for a master’s program didn’t go your way but you proved you can face the fire, walk through it, and come out the other side alive.
Didn’t book a pilot this year? So what. Join the club! Unless Hollywood shuts down tomorrow, you’ll always have a shot. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you’re on a journey with many ups and downs. Your time will come. The journey is what makes an exciting story.
2. Recognize your accomplishments.
Why are humans so quick to jump to the next thing? It’s a tragic flaw. But we possess the ability to compensate for it with the power of retrospection and introspection. Take a moment to realize how far you’ve come in your career. Think about everything you’ve accomplished outside of pilot season. I bet you’ve done some incredible things to be proud of.
3. Rethink your jealous behavior.
Look, you aren’t human if you haven’t been jealous of another actor’s success at some point. If you’re jealous, you’re recognizing something in another’s life that you feel you should be doing. For example, if there’s an actor writing a script and you seethe every time they are part of yet another amazing writing event, don’t get mad—write.
Jealousy is actually a by-product of fear and the thing we fear most is usually the thing we most need to do. Consider why you’re jealous and then take action!
There is never a good time for self-sabotage. With these strategies you can silence that inner voice while you continue to audition. You’ll notice how the moment you stop being desperate over that one thing, the thing you so desperately wanted comes to you!
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.