As an actor, you’re probably brilliant at making up stories. In fact, you may be so good at it that it’s actually killing your career.
“But aren’t we supposed to use our imagination and bring stories to life?”
Yes. Of course you are...onstage or in front of a camera, not in your life.
Here’s a great example: You’re in the room and you’ve just given what you thought was a great audition. You’re feeling really good about it and then you get the dreaded, “Thank you” from behind the table. All of a sudden, the great work you just did doesn’t mean a thing to you anymore because every actor knows that those two words really mean, “No thank you, you’re terrible, that sucked, you’re untalented.”
Once you hear “thank you” in the audition room, your brain starts to flood with times you’ve heard it before and didn’t get the part, further proving that your “‘thank you’ really means ‘no thank you, you suck’” theory is actually true.
But the fact is that in any other situation when someone says “thank you,” you usually say, “you’re welcome” and accept their kind words as appreciation. “Thank you” means just that. Period. Any other meaning or expletives you give it are your own.
And it doesn’t stop there. Here are six of the most common career-killing stories actors make up. How many have you told yourself?
READ: How to Become an Actor
1. “That casting director doesn’t like me.”
How do you know? A casting director’s job is not to like you, it’s to assess whether you are a fit for a particular project. Don’t collapse the two notions.
2. “I suck at auditions.”
I can promise that if you constantly tell yourself you “suck at auditions,” inevitably, you will. The brain can only believe what you tell it. Why not fill it with an empowering declaration about auditioning so the next time you have one, you feel excited and ready to walk in and wow them.
3. “I didn’t really want to be that part anyway.”
This is another big story some actors tell themselves as a way to protect their egos when they don’t get cast in a project. If you didn’t want the work, why did you audition for it? At the very least, respect yourself and the people behind the table enough to not go to an audition for a project that you really don’t want to get.
4. “They can’t tell anything in only eight bars.”
Actually, they can. Have you ever sat behind the desk at an audition? If not, I highly encourage you to find a way to get in on an audition. You will be shocked at how quickly you can tell if someone is right for the project in eight bars or less.
5. “I heard the role (or the show) was already cast.”
This is a story that begins to fly when no one seems to know anyone who is actually getting called back. And it’s another way to validate yourself when you don’t get the part.
6. “That person behind the desk is probably just an intern.”
Your job is not to question if the person on the other side of the desk has the experience to recognize your great talent. Whoever they are, they are the gatekeeper for that audition and you should give them your very best work no matter what.
How many of these have you said before? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. And now that you know what they are, you can avoid these phrases and replace them with more empowering ones.
*This post was originally published on July 10, 2018. It has since been updated.
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.