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Hiding behind a little veil of fake mediocre middledom

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So you have these wicked friends of yours and they are nailing it…they’re getting the gigs, getting the twitter followers, getting paid for their acting services, getting seen for bigger jobs and more and more and more. And then they see you and all they do is complain about their lack of everything. And you’re stuck sitting there thinking “Really!”

positive in acting
Take over with an army of positive power!

It’s a sad state of affairs when the acting person(s) who is more successful than you at the moment, who
is booking more work than you are at the moment, who is getting better results in auditions than you are at the moment and who is with a bigger agent, is complaining. **Note I said “at the moment”. Eternity is a long time and you just don’t know when your turn is up.

Take stock of this moment. Have a good honest heartfelt think… perhaps you do the same to someone else who isn’t quite as accomplished as you are. Ever considered that? What if Josey-New-Actor-Girl in London is hanging off your every word and she notices when you complain about how quiet the industry is and how few auditions you are securing. Uh oh! Are you doing it too?

You must surround yourself in an environment of conscious thought and words that support how truly wonderful things are going. And if they aren’t going that well, then fake it until they do.

Ever the great believer that what you put out into the world, you get back, I honestly think that if you allow yourself to spend copious amounts of time complaining about your lack of opportunities, agent support, Casting Director meetings, prices of courses and lack of auditions, you will draw that into your circle. And when a friend who looks up to you, as someone they aspire to be like, hears these words chances are they are also taking in that energy.

My agent and I had a meeting recently where I said quite earnestly “well it’s okay, it’s pretty quiet at the moment from what I’m hearing from other actors”, to which my agent replied “Angela, it’s never not busy.”  Queue – shock horror gasp. They went on to elaborate that basically there is always work, just not always work for me, or roles that are suitable for me. I stopped and took stock of this and realised they were absolutely right. Channing Tatum was just here filming as are a number of other huge stars. There are constantly movies, television and theatre auditions. I know of three different groups currently in talks about their television series and concepts. So with that in mind, it probably is best I not be saying that there is no work or that it’s quiet. If the castings aren’t finding me, it’s up to me to find them, or to create opportunities.

Be very aware that every time you say something about the way someone else chooses to go about their business, if it is a negative judgement it can have a very negative connotation for both them and you. I loved when I read recently in a raptitude.com post that there is no such thing as a “realist”. They’re just pessimists hiding under a lovely little veil of fake mediocre middledom (they are my own words, not verbatim). Get out from under a rock. Acting is not an industry where negativity will get you anywhere. It’s just not. If you believe that your little sour faced whining is going to help, you are sadly mistaken. Best you turn that frown upside down. Every actor in life made it, regardless of race, age, size, hair colour, connections or money. You can’t buy consistent success. But you can buy a consistently good attitude. You buy it from yourself.

So next time your successful whiny friend complains about their “lack of everything acting”, rather than giving them a virtual kick in the shins, why not share all the great things you have been hearing about. Get them back in the frame of mind where we celebrate all that is good in the acting world. And if nothing else, you’ll be channeling the mental goodness rather than taking their negativity on board. Surround yourself in an invisible cloak of optimistic gratitude and you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome B.A.B.E.s!

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Photo credit: Dunechaser / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

4 Comments

  • Acting in London Reply

    "If you believe that your little sour faced whining is going to help, you are sadly mistaken" – this should be on posters around town.

    Sadly, more and more actors find that it's getting more difficult to not fall into this trap of negativity every year. It takes some courage.

  • Mark Joseph Reply

    This is a very fine line, and I agree actors find it increasingly difficult.

    When I'm not acting, I teach confidence in men with social situations/dating, and the idea of "fake it til you make it" is definitely present. However, it is in your demeanour, smile, body language, etc. Naturally, you want to present yourself as a happy and positive because that is a lifestyle that people want to get drawn into. It creates emotions that are fun, which is what most of us want from our relationships in the early stages at least!.

    However, with acting I think people are reticent to do the same because it feels like lying. If nothing is happening, no agent, no auditions, etc, putting yet another positive spin on the last CD workshop you paid to attend or the web-series you're writing gets old fast. Even though the truth can be non-productive, not being able to vent anywhere in case someone in the industry sees it is a tough thing.

    Actors cross over from negativity easily, moving from healthy jealousy (yup, I think it's very natural) to bitterness quickly. Also, when I see people make public statements of positivity, particularly on social networks, it always seems to come across like they're trying to convince people, and themselves.

    This is a very important topic. I'd be interested in hearing more about how this positivity manifests when times are tough.

  • Angela Peters Reply

    Hi Mark, thanks for your comments. So true – it is a fine line, and it is much harder to fake it till you make it when times are tough.

    I think the important differentiation between venting during tough times and just commenting on lack of success, is those who are not appreciative of what they have. When you are having a hard time there is absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out to someone and saying "hey I really need to share right now, do you have a moment to let me vent?". Obviously the caveat to that would be if they just whinge all the time regardless… My suggestion is sometimes I find actors are not taking stock of just how great things are going for them compared with a few years, months or weeks back, and they are constantly seeing and being negative around others who are not joining the same amount of relative success. Those are the actors you want to try and step away from as they'll do nothing for your own current state and sometimes might even propel you into a worse place yourself.

    I believe the greatest truth in defining/presenting how we are wired as actors comes out when we are going through the tough times. How do we grapple with no auditions for a few months, no agents returning our calls, no-one booking us for another job? How we react then shows more about who we are then when things are going from strength to strength. And, you mentioned you would like to hear more about this and I would definitely like to elaborate on this in a future post. As hard as it is, if we can find a way that works for us to keep a glimmer of hope radiating through our bodies when we are finding acting hard, the good stuff is always just around the corner.

  • Mark Joseph Reply

    Hi Angela,

    Thanks for the reply.

    The only problem with venting, either publicly or privately, is that it is basically exposing your lack of current success, which I don't think anybody wants to do. I never really vent to anyone for this purpose, and other actors already know the trials and tribulations, so "talking shop" ends up in the same way every time. Even so, negativity or positivity from other people doesn't affect my mental state at all, so that's not a problem for me.

    I look forward to reading your follow up blog, or even chatting with you some time on this topic.

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