Difficulties That Actors Face

Difficulties That Actors Face

This is not Backstage.com! This is not a drill!
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Whether you're a working professional actor or an aspiring one, you were bound to face several difficulties that sometimes seem just too hard to push through. The "business" as they call it is all about dealing with rejection, and handling yourself when you come across a part that you didn't want at all in the first place. It also involves learning about composure, yet maintaining confidence.

But, since you're an actor (or aspiring one), you're also a human being, meaning you have feelings. You get hurt. You get angry. You can get degraded or praised, rejected or chosen. As someone who should know how to be in touch with the regular human emotions, you probably don't need more emotional examples. What I'm trying to say is that as a person in this business, you will come across some setbacks, and it's okay, because you can and will get through them and move forward.

Let's start at the bottom, and what definitely feels like the bottom of this industry.

You didn't get cast. You were so ready for that audition; you were in fact running to it with the ultimate glee and energy that every actor should come to an audition with. You perform that monologue and/or that song you practiced, and the casting director(s) looked satisfied and interested, and WOW, you could get cast. This could be your time to finally perform in something that you're actually passionate about, this is the performance that you will never forget and neither will your family and friends when they come and see you -- what? Didn't get cast?! NOOOOOOO!

It seems like the end of the world. You were rejected, through a phone call, or an email - the most cut-throat ways of rejecting a person. How on earth did you not get cast? The answer will never be found because there is no answer to obtain. There is no "better" way you could have performed your audition piece(s) because the bottom line is simply that the director(s) found another person that "fit" the part better. They had the hair, the eyes, the height, the tone, the aura...and you didn't.

This is a terrible feeling, but it's not your fault. All that training and those acting classes and voice workshops you did are paying off. It's just that this particular play, musical, or film was not your play, musical, or film to be in.

Let's take this a step up now. You got a callback! Wow, what an honor. You might have even received several callbacks for that film or play, and now it's down to you and only a couple of others.

And again, you don't get cast What's wrong with you?!!! Nothing. It's just that they were looking for another appearance, another personality. You can't reinvent yourself, and you shouldn't.

This is exactly the problem that every person in the arts faces. The notion that if your skills weren't the problem, then your persona is. But this is not a "problem." It's just who you are. This is who you have grown into and continue to grow with. This is who you add more skills to. This is who you walk into work/class/auditions as every day, with all that work you've done in your life so far. But you have been turned down too many times now...or it at least feels like you have.

So what do you do? Well, here's what you don't do - change who you are; become someone else. Do you know why you shouldn't do this? It's because becoming another person, maybe that one who keeps getting cast for all these roles, will be impossible. You simply can't become them. They themselves are the only one that can live in that person, that personality. They are the only existing one. You cannot try to permanently change yourself into them, because one day when another casting director wants a person like you yourself to audition, and you're not there because you decided to change who you were...then you've got a problem.

Now let's talk about when you get cast (yay!) but didn't get the role you wanted.

We've all been there. Who really wants to play the tree in the background of the children's show, or the quiet servant character that serves no purpose to the plot except fetching the other characters' tea? Who wants to be given the boring part, the role that literally is no fun at all?

This is just as difficult as not getting cast because now you have an issue with embracing this role you've been cast for. If you hate it so much, you may even get fired from the show because of poor performances. That's much worse than not getting cast at all. So how do you deal with this role you've been chosen for? What if it kind of insults you that you were chosen to play the overly innocent character or that evil character?

When I was little and performing in my first real play ever at an acting summer program, I was cast for the funny role, yet I couldn't help but feel a little insulted by it. The character was constantly described as having "an insatiable hunger" for cookies and all other junk food; so as a young girl, I kept asking myself if the reason behind this casting choice was because I seemed like I ate a lot? Did I gain weight? Oh no, why on earth did he cast me for this?

Another time, perhaps my favorite performance ever, I was cast as the sweet yet stupid main female character. I was so psyched to have this role until I got to thinking about how many people had called me "overly nice", or "too sweet" in general; that bothered me, because many of those people had said it as if it was annoying that I was "nice." Long story short, I somehow connected being this "overly nice" person to also appearing "ditzy" and stupid. Is this true for all the nice people of the world? NO. I'll admit, I was being ridiculous - for both of these incidences.

My point here is that whatever or whoever you're cast as, as an actor, you have to look for the positives. You have to do your job. If you don't, then hey, it's simple: drop out. Someone else will grab your role - gladly - and the rest is history. But that might gnaw at you. That new actor was having fun with all your friends backstage, cast and crew, and replacing you. Why on earth did you give up that role?

Several professional working actors have told me some of these difficulties that all performers face, but experiencing them is entirely different. I'm just a Theatre student, so what do I know about "difficulties" in this industry? Well, for all of you out there who are also studying this wonderful yet tough business, here's to you.

My reason for even choosing to talk about the hard times that actors and Theatre students go through is because of all these insightful and influential articles and stories many of us read from Backstage and other Theatre social media pages. While it's great to hear from professionals, I think it's even better to hear from someone that is mostly similar to you - if you're either a student in Theatre or Film, or a working actor. Here's to all of us for continuing the fun yet arduous tasks that are all part of the world of an actor.


Cover Image Credit: Nickgowman

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.

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So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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