In the rising world of social media (bleh to the thirtieth power), it tends to look like everything in everyone’s world is swell– that we are going to this park today, hanging with these people today, etc. Which is great if that’s really all you got going on, but we all know there is so much more that we do not share or talk about. As actors, it is our job to bring all the dark to the light, and talk about all the hard shit and support each other.
Some days are tough. Some days are so tough, that it is nearly impossible to even get out of bed. Another day of not getting seen, another day of singing 8 bars, another day of waiting for 5 hours and then singing for 10 seconds and it wasn’t great because I’ve been up since 5 and have been waiting for 5 hours: so what do you think I’m going to sound like?!
So, so, so many things can easily get us down, but what we have to remember is just to KEEP. GOING. This career is meant to break us down. It is meant to test us every single day for the rest of our lives. But guess what? When we get that role, or we get that callback or we get seen and it’s amazing: those are the moments we have to keep in our treasure chest, and bring them back when we are feeling stuck.
I (most likely all of us) battle with this darkness every day, and it is not easy. I feel like whenever I have an up, I have a down. If I feel an ounce of happiness, my brain likes to remind me of all the dark feelings I should be thinking about instead. I feel like I am searching for validation from others to tell me I'm in the right field, when I should be finding it in myself. GAH. ALL THE THINGS. But. I had a little minor discovery the other day.
I had a callback for a show, which I was so thrilled about, and it went well! I did not get it, but I felt good about the work I did. I was in my normal clothing and my hair was a mess because I could not get it to look good that day (ugh!). When it was over, I looked up what other auditions were happening in the area, and I went to go see if I could get seen at any of them. I walked over to Pearl and noticed I could get seen for a summer stock season, and so I debated.
“Hmm I’m really not in the right clothing, so I probably shouldn’t go right? Oh I only have the smiling headshot printed, so I probably shouldn’t go right? Ugh, my hair looks super bad and I didn’t warm up really, I probably shouldn’t go right?” But NO. I told those thoughts in my brain to STFU, and I went in and got seen. I showed them myself. My true self. Not in any specific audition attire. Not with any expectation of getting the job. Just my honest, 11:30am, bad hair self. And, I booked the job.
Now, this is not a story about booking a job. It is a story about cancelling all of the things that do not effing matter– that get in our way. Yes, we have to be mindful about what we wear to the audition. Yes, we have to make sure that we are prepared. Yes, we have to be mindful that our book is gorgeen and that we have headshots printed. But above ALL ELSE: we just have to go in there and show them who we are and what we do. If it’s not their cup of tea, great! It will be someone elses BANQUET. And at least we went, did the thing and we did all we could do. Everything else can go away.
We just have to show up, be ourselves, be authentic and leave. What more can we do? We have to start training ourselves to not stew over the things we shouldn’t be focusing on. But instead, just get up, do the thing, show ourselves and then go to the bar and continue living our damn lives. Also, you never know when something is going to happen. So we have to just KEEP GOING and trust in ourselves and the work we do, and the humans we are, and the artists we have become / continue to become.
Don’t give up. In most cases, it is EASIER to give up. We are all going through this hard ass career, trying to make it. We need to show support for one another, share our darkness and just keep getting up every day and working as hard as we can. What else can we do? Nothing. That is all we can do. So why focus on the other shit? Not today Satan.
Ethan Carlson is an Actor, Singer, Writer based in New York City. EthanCarlsonActor.com @EthanCarlson5