Staying ahead in the game is always important. Keeping your ears sharp about what’s going on and watching out for opportunities (and being prepared for those opportunities) is ‘The Business of Acting’ 101. However, this determination to know what’s going on spawns a breed of actor that very few want to have dealings with.
Yes, everyone knows one. The person whose eyes turn ‘shark black’ when you mention some good news, maybe a recent job you’ve landed. They barely acknowledge your success and immediately want to know how you got the gig, who’s on board, can they get in on it, the contact details of people involved and… here come the endless questions.
When a wonderful voice over contract fell into my lap and I told an actor that I know of my recent good fortune the first thing he said was, ‘Is it worth me sending my reel in?’ No, ‘congratulations’, ‘well done’ or ‘that’s great’, just straight to the point – What’s in it for him? Upsettingly when my client then asked me if I knew a great male voice over artist I didn’t contact him, even though he would have been perfect for it. I didn’t want to give someone a leg up who was already standing on my shoulders.
We are all determined, we are all struggling but my God, it’s NOT ALL ABOUT YOU YOU YOU.
I now understand why agents, casting directors, producers, directors, writers and everyone else that we have to work with get so sick of us. We are like vermin who follow them around and thrust our resumes into their faces at any opportunity we get. Great work speaks for itself, concentrate on creating great work so you don’t have to wave your arms and shout ‘me me me’.
Lesson: If someone you know lands a big break, be genuinely happy for them. They did it themselves and it’s something to be extremely proud of. Your day will come if you work and prepare for that opportunity, and spend your energy bettering yourself. Those of us who are becoming established have made our contacts one by one and learned all the things we learned one by one. Don’t be that energy drainer because no one will want you around.