So here goes. I’m actually doing this. I’m announcing the top ten things that terrify me about acting or are my reality. My truest secrets, and what I think to myself about overcoming them. I wonder if any of these resonate with you.
In no particular order…
I’m terrified every week that people will think I’m a fraud.
You know it. That feeling every time you go into a casting and say your agent and name as part of your ident. You freak out thinking – what if they wonder how the hell I got an agent, little alone this agent. What if they think I’m no good.
I actually want the fame.
Fame by definition means “the state of being known or recognized by many people because of your achievements, skills, etc.” Of course I want to be known for my skills as an actor. I want people to know me for my work cause that’s gonna get me more work. I rarely believe people who say they don’t want it [fame].
I have no fall back plan.
Yeah every actor gets asked…what will you do if you don’t make it. Well, the answer is I have absolutely no idea. This is it for me. And if I stop loving it then I guess I will just have to find something new to love doing instead.
I worry that I’m too old and all the young chicks are going to kick my ass.
It’s hard not to worry when you see the wonderful and silly sketches like “Last F****able Day“, or hear of Maggie Gyllenhaal being too old to play the love interest to a dude 20 years older (WTF). I constantly worry that every new Emma Stone or Scarlett Johansson is going to take all the roles. But the reality is, people always age. There’s always some other new little whipper snapper heading my way. So I may as well just deal with the roles I can play and get firmly stuck in. I mean, humans haven’t yet perfected the way to keep us from ageing. So I guess that means I get to play the 30’s roles, and then the 40’s and 50’s roles until they do.
I’m scared my mates think I’m crap cause I’m not in a major TV role like Idris Elba in Luther, or Lena Headey in GoT.
So what can I do about it?! Annoying as it is, there’s a million of us who didn’t make the GoT cut. But there’ll be so many more television shows I have to keep on going until I get picked up for one of them. Small role, or no role, I need to be the first to stop judging myself for not being a known TV actor yet.
“What if I’ve done the biggest roles I’ll ever do and only my parents saw it!”
Bloody hell. As an actor I literally feel the moment coming when someone says, “oh an actor hey. Cool. What have I seen you in?” You know it. It’s the first sentence uttered by a non-actor, typically cause they’re in awe that we would give up a life of regular corporate work for the constant reassurance that there is no reassurance. And typically its followed by a look of utter terror that flashes across the actor’s eyes and is gone in the blink of an eye. Their mind quickly maps their Spotlight CV…do I mention this, or that, or this? Hmmmm. Will they know the role? Probably not. What about that film. Nah, not likely either. Oh the joys.
Well ladies and gents, there is no answer to this one other than, what you’ve already done is already impressive. You. Are. Doing. It. You don’t have to have a series regular role on television to be doing a good job. It’s okay to be earning income as an actor from tonnes of other roles. Soldier on. One day, you might just get to say, “oh yeah I just finished a role in a film with Brad Pitt.”
Acting is enough.
Everyone else thinks there needs to be more. That they have to be all things to all people. But to me, acting is actually enough. I don’t fancy myself as a producer, director or composer. Sure I write films and stuff but none of those have been made so I’m not a writer in the professional screenwriter sense (yet). To me, acting really is enough.
There is no guarantee anywhere else either.
People in full time careers no longer sit in one spot for a decade or two. Having a job doesn’t guarantee security like it used to, especially after the GFC. So if there are no job guarantees then why not follow your passion. And let’s face it, we all know this is a good motto for life in general. Sadly though so many choose to be miserable cause it’s easier than the fear of something new and exciting
I hope you wake every day thrilled by the possibility of what your day will bring (even though it can be terrifying too).
If I put on even an inch of weight the world will judge the crap out of me.
Oh come on, don’t act like you don’t feel it too. A little extra pudding or cheese over the festive period. Maybe some more cider than usual. And before I know it, I think I’ll never get cast in a role again. I totally blame the universe for this one. As soon as Scarlet Johansson became a huge star, the next week she looked like she needed a decent feed. Emma Stone looked the same in Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight. One star who I triple appreciate for not succumbing is Jennifer Lawrence. She is a girl who looks like I could take her to meet my Greek family and they won’t try to fatten her up. She’s perfect and normal as she is (and still charismatic as hell).
I’m ultimately terrified I won’t “make it”.
The biggest one of them all. No matter how much yoga or meditation I do, there’s still a little voice in my head that beckons me to the darkness, to ponder this possibility. It calls me at my lowest times, like just when I find out I didn’t secure they highly coveted role. Or just after I have eaten that bacon and cheese sandwich. Or just when I have had gallons of wine. Or just when I don’t get recalled for a part I want.
Well people that dirty dark side ain’t a good place to live. And I recommend very strongly that you spend as little time as possible considering the what if’s.
Goodness, that was cathartic. I think I need to skip my detox now and go and have a hot shower and whiskey.
What’s your dirty dark fears? What terrifies you about being an actor that you dare not share? Feel free to add your comments below.
Oh and thanks for listening.