There’s a phrase that I have been using since I was a kid. I heard it from an older actor in a waiting room, I have no idea who he was, and it has proven true over and over again:
I have no scientific evidence, but a lot of anecdotal evidence. As an actor you can track it. Next time you book a job, whether it’s a play, commercial, movie, musical, whatever; things just kind of blossom. You’ll get more auditions, or maybe direct calls to work. People talk about you, you’ve got the heat, and the next thing you know you’re booked for the next six months!
It might not last forever, and it may peter out quicker than you’d like (OK, it always peters out quicker than you’d like) but for a while all that nose-grinding, ass-kicking work you’ve done to get there pays off. And even if the dividends diminish, it takes a long time for them to go away completely.
And it comes in cycles. Sometimes you get so many offers it can be hard to fit it all in, and your brain will try to find a way to do it because you never know when a dry patch will come up. When you’re young it isn’t much of a problem, but as you get older and start to think about being away from your family suddenly being booked up can be a scary proposition.
The thing to remember when it comes to this is finding balance.
You just made a face and said, “Duh!” at the screen, didn’t you?
Yeah, I could hear it from here.
And the face palms.
I know this isn’t wildly original advice, but the reason why this advice gets brought up so much is because people, lots and lots of people, choose to regularly ignore it. Personally, I’m the king of over-booking. If it weren’t for Rene making an effort to keep my schedule sane I’d have to be in two different places right now and experiencing all of the embarrassment and stress that goes along with over-committing yourself.
And it’s REALLY easy to get caught up in that cycle when they’re paying you! I have hired, worked with and remember BEING the actor who would say yes to everything, no matter how much it overlapped. I think sometimes as performers, no matter what discipline you practice, we get so used to starving for work we over do it when people start offering it to us. Like starving yourself and then hitting a Vegas style buffet. It sounds like a good idea at the time, but you go home feeling sick and tired and everybody – you, the restaurant, everyone you know – is unhappy.
So, yes, this advice isn’t new or radical but do your work. When you work, more work will come. When the work comes remember it’s not the only thing. Keep it in balance.
For what it’s worth.
See you next time!