Please stop talking
This is the wonderful moment where you tell me EVERYTHING about yourself and I listen. I sit patiently and I nod at the appropriate times and I listen to whatever the f&@% you are saying about yourself because I can hardly even remember what you just said because it’s been so long since I’ve taken a breath cause I’m trying to see how long I can hold my breath for because even that is more interesting than listening to you rattle off your Spotlight CV for another fifteen minutes or longer.
PLEASE STOP TALKING ACTORS!
Honestly, I don’t even know how many times I’ve brought it up in other posts, on twitter, to friends, or with my clients. I am tired of telling people (oh the irony in that statement hasn’t gone unnoticed). You are not the most interesting person in the room. I repeat. You are NOT the most interesting person in the room. The sooner you realise this as a human, and take a breath, the better.
If you want to talk about yourself all day, start a blog (ha!). You can talk about yourself as much as you like. Or start a podcast and get people to listen to your dulcet tones all day long. Or get a voice over agent and do voice overs so people can hear you every time they put the radio on.
But talking at people about every acting job you’ve done, is not going to win hearts, jobs, or favours. What you will do is alienate yourself.
Casting Directors talk all the time about calling actors into the room for an audition and asking them what they’ve been up to recently. When they do this they are not actually asking you to share your most recent acting jobs with them. They’ve already perused your CV before they brought you in. What they ask for is for you to share something interesting about yourself. This acts as a distraction to help make you feel more at ease, while at the same time giving the Casting Director a chance to see who you are as a person (rather than the character). It seems so simple and yet actors struggle with it all the time.
The same goes for directors and producers and other actors. Unless they’re your BFF, why are you subjecting other innocent humans to your nonsensical babble about your acting pursuits. 9 times out of 10 the director or the other actor hasn’t even asked.
I worked with a young lady a few months ago on a very simple corporate job and by the end of that session I knew (along with everyone else booked to work on the job) what she had been working on for the last six months and more. She name dropped every famous or semi D-list actor she professed to know, and she bored the tears out of the other actors with her so-called ‘experience’ on other jobs. And the worst bit? She wasn’t off book when she arrived. I was furious.
I am still furious. Please get a grip actors. If you are insecure and you know that this leads to a tendency to overshare, then consider what you could do beforehand to calm your nerves.
Perhaps start meditating. Maybe ride a bike so you take the wind out of your pipes. The key is to learn to talk half as much as you listen. If you can master this then I promise you, the world will start to appear in all sorts of beautiful hues you never saw before. It’s absolutely tremendous. Because when we stop talking and start listening, we truly connect with another human being. We effortlessly relax into a state of pure bliss having conversations about interesting things that both people have in common. We empathise and laugh and exchange and share.
It is the most marvelous thing, this listening business. And it really does bode well for you in the future too, when you’ve learnt so much about the other person that you can ask them how their holiday, dog or husband is when next you see them.
And finally, just in case you’re still nervous about going into the room – think of one interesting thing you can talk about when you get in the room. If you do this while you’re outside you won’t have a mental blank when you walk in and freeze and start going into auto-pilot about your previous acting jobs.
Try listening sometime. It’s bliss.