I’ll be honest. I’ve dated my share of losers. I bet you have too. I once had a long term relationship with a guy who moved in with me, then proceeded to be jobless for eight months. He would sleep half the day away, wake and bake, then sit around playing shitty rock music with his dumb friends drinking beer until two in the morning.
He was, by all accounts, a total loser. And I was the dummy who loved him (or at least I tolerated his crappy behavior).
And as long as I chose to say with this guy, the longer I’d stay miserable, unfulfilled, frustrated and disappointed. But the thing is, I was making the choice to settle for less than what I wanted.
It’s really hard to meet the right person when you insist on staying with the wrong one. There’s no room in your life for something better to come along.
And the same goes for your acting career.
I see a lot of actors treating their career like it’s their loser boyfriend.
No standards. No boundaries. Accepting whatever comes along, even if it makes them miserable.
Have you ever said yes to a project you knew you didn’t want to do in the first place? There’s a price to pay for settling. It sucks your energy away, takes time that could’ve been spent doing something you productive or enjoyable, and takes up so much mental space. If the project is bad enough, it can lead you to hate acting altogether.
We all go through times of doubt (in relationships and career). We question our worth, ability, and can feel like we always come up short. And that leads to making decisions for the wrong reasons. If your decision-making is coming from a place of fear, you are in big trouble.
So how do you know when to say yes to an acting project and when to say no?
Be clear about your goals. What specific credits, experience, reel footage or projects do you want to accomplish in the next six months? When you know what you want to do, it’s a lot easier to weigh your options. Just like when you know what kind of person you want to date, it’s easy to say no to the people who are all wrong for you.
Set standards. What kind of working environment do you want? How would you like to be treated by the production? What are your deal breakers? What can you be flexible about? Most “loser boyfriend” scenarios occur because girlfriend has no standards. Or bends all her rules and regrets it. The same thing happens when you agree to work on a project that you know in your heart isn’t right for you.
What’s the ROI? ROI is your return on investment. Every project you choose to participate in takes time, energy, effort and hard work. It takes up space in your life. Every project you say yes to means you have to say no to something else. Not every project is going to meet all of your standards, so measure if what you get back is going to be worth your time. You may not be paid, but will get exposure as an actor? You may not be the lead, but will get to work with a director you are a fan of? Be honest with yourself here. If the ROI is worth it to you, then by all means say yes! But if the ROI is going to take more from you than you are going to get back in return, do not be afraid to say no.
The myth of work begets work. Work does beget work. But it usually begets the same kind of work. Just like a loser boyfriend tends to have a lot of other loser friends that are just like him! If you want to get to the next level of quality, visibility and satisfaction in your acting work, you have to be willing to stick to your standards and pass on projects that don’t meet them. You’ll be keeping the space open for something better to come along.
You teach the world how to treat you. Ditch the losers in your life and career. Treat yourself with integrity and respect, and you will attract others who automatically do the same.
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