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  • Writer's pictureClare Lopez

BEING 'ANY GOOD' AT ACTING IS IRRELEVANT

Updated: Apr 21

When auditions are slow, or our careers aren't quite where we'd like them to be - we often begin to doubt if this career is right for us. We tend to question - "Do I have what it takes to 'make it'?" or we wonder "How do I know if I am even any good at this?"

So I'd like to take the time to address how we navigate moments of doubt - especially when we are considering throwing in the towel altogether.


My offering today, is that it really doesn’t matter if you are ‘any good’ at this craft - so long as you are making art and filled with joy in this work.


REFRAMING SUCCESS


All of this starts with reframing our mindset as we start to reflect on our acting careers.

When we start measuring our value as actors and humans by 'success' it is easy to fall into the trap of unattainable goals. For most people outside the industry, success might appear to look like fame, wealth, and awards. But the truth is: there are many ways to be successful in this industry-- and none of them require any of that.


When we start redefining what success means to us, we are able to grant ourselves grace for all of the things we can't control. Instead of hinging our success on booking gigs, we can start to see success as finding ways to make art. Instead of demanding that we join the union or sign with a top agent, we can celebrate our habits of consistently self-submitting. Instead of seeking awards or fame, we can appreciate all the ways that we connect to the work as storytellers: through training, reading, and consuming art. In each of these reframes - we take back control of our lives. And we honor the work that we are doing to enrich our creative careers - regardless of our audition outcomes.


OUTCOMES ARE IRRELEVANT TO OUR WORTH AND TALENT


It’s easy to question and doubt if this career is the right path for you- or wonder how you can ever “know” that you are ”good enough” or have what it takes to “make it”.


So here’s my humble reminder: the measurement of “any good” is both relative and unimportant.


Define what does “good” mean anyway? Who decides this?


Does it mean naturally talented? We can’t control our talent— we can control our hard work and training.


Does it mean how many bookings we get? We can’t control our bookings and they are IRRELEVANT to our worth as an actor or a human. We can control our process and preparation for auditions when they come up.


Does good mean praised or award winning? These external acknowledgments are so subjective. And ultimately they really depend on who they are coming from. While it will always feel good to be praised and acknowledged - we don't have control over these kinds of outcomes. But we do have control on our self-talk - and maintaining our joy regardless of these external outcomes.


This industry is a marathon - not a sprint. And each actor's journey is as unique as the actor themselves. A large piece of wood might take a year to make a canoe — but take even longer to make into violin; and even longer to learn how to USE properly— our training and our skill are not measurable in any kind of linear way.


The reality is that actors who are “worse” who still work hard and book work there are actors who are more “talented” who are lazy or have otherwise terrible attitudes and rarely work- and when they do- they never get asked back because of their negative energy.


HERE IS THE KICKER: Nothing outside of yourself can measure your worth. Even if Spielberg himself sat you down and said “You are terrible” — if you love this work — and remain committed and hardworking — there’s absolutely no reason that Spielberg’s statement should have any impact on your actual career and trajectory. Like none whatsoever.


STEPPING AWAY FROM ACTING DOESN'T HAVE TO BE ALL OR NOTHING


Actors regularly take breaks— take time off— study other things— travel abroad - get married— have families— or take care of family members. The acting industry will still be here when you get back. The industry isn’t going anywhere. It’s super important not to let the measure of someone’s else’s estimation of you change your perspective on the work. And if it does? It may mean — that you aren’t truly committed, confident, or joyful enough in your life to make this career stick (for now).


The reality is that we none of us can lean on any outside validation. It just doesn’t exist in this industry. At every level of this business, actors must find peace with failure and rejection. Network pilots don’t get picked up— Actor's book a series regular role — and then the show gets cancelled — actors get snubbed at awards shows. No matter where you are in your path, we can't rely on external validation.


REVISIT YOUR WHY


Why did you get into acting? Why do you feel called be an actor? What about this work fills you with joy and excitement. And if those reasons still hold true— why let circumstances stand in your way or get you down? Don’t get me wrong COVID pandemic, the SAG-AFTRA & WGA strikes have really done a number on the industry. These alone are enough to send anyone in the industry want to take a pause- and if at anytime it feels overwhelming or frustrating— it’s totally understandable to take a break. The moment we get jaded or tired— we are much better off getting a reset to recharge — than fighting to stay in it because we feel like we “have to”.


Remember to grant yourself grace during your career's ups and downs. Allow space for your career to ebb and flow - and in the meantime - attend to the work of human-ing.






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