I’ve always had the dream to being a working actor. This is actually quite impossible living in the Midwest. There just isn’t enough opportunities. I’ll be honest, 2017 was one of my best acting years in 17 years, I booked about six gigs, and still, I only made about 10 grand. Then subtract all the gas I spent driving to Minneapolis, and the hotel rooms, and the food, and I’m left with a fun hobby that I make a little bit of money off of.
I recently went out to LA, and I had dinner with an old friend of mine that has had a modicum of success in the acting world. I toyed with the idea of trying to get an agent out in LA, but he assured me that it was no small feat. Basically, when you meet with an agent, their first question is, how many Instagram followers do you have? And if you don’t say 100,000 plus, they point to the door.
(I have 0 followers, FYI, so, shit outta luck).
And yet still, I can’t quite give up. I don’t know why. Well, I know why. It’s because, when I’m on set, there’s no other place I’d rather be. I truly love the whole process. I even love auditioning. I see it not as an opportunity to get a job, but as an opportunity to act. Acting gives an actor the opportunity to pull a part of themselves out in the open, and if they’re lucky, make some money out of it. There is no bigger thrill than doing something you absolutely positively love, and in the end, get paid for it. I’m way passed now acting for free, because it’s usually a lot of work. Acting ain’t easy. Memorizing lines is usually a pain in the ass. Nobody likes doing that. But when that’s all done, and you’ve figured out how you’re going to play the part, being on set can be a blast.
Recently, I had a string of parts I didn’t get. I was feeling a little down about things. Right at that moment where I thought, you know, I had a good run, maybe it’s time I hung up the hat, took a bow, and said adios, and got a “real job”, I got an audition for a commercial shooting in Omaha. When I first saw the email from my agent, I thought, uhhhh, I’m not going to get it. And then, right after that moment, I thought, what in THE HELL am I talking about? This is a LOSER MENTALITY. I’m not only going to audition for the part, but I’m going to put my heart and soul into the audition, and work my ass off to do whatever I can to get the part. You want me to drive to Omaha for the audition? Hell yeah. Let’s go. I’m going ALL IN.
It didn’t matter that I ended up getting the part. You know, you lose most, and get maybe a few. But what was important for me is that I didn’t give up. I didn’t let that insecure thought get the better of me. I fought hard against it. And I’ll admit, sometimes you have to fake being strong. God knows I’ve felt like shit before after the 30th received rejection. As a matter of fact, I have literally auditioned over 100 times in the last year for voice-over gigs, and I have not gotten a one. But do you think when I get another audition, I’m going to think, oh I’m not going to get it? Oh hell no. I feel blessed that I’m given the opportunity to audition for it.
We all have to deal with rejection in this life. Some maybe more than others. But here’s a tip: the moment you feel like giving up, know that in that same moment, many others decide to quit as well, and do. Push through that moment, and double-down even harder. You might not get that opportunity you’re going for, but you can at least be proud of yourself for not giving up.