Updated: Mar 30, 2022
As actors, we have to get used to hearing "no". No matter how well-prepared, likable, talented and professional you are, there will always be roles that you really really want and don't get. It's hard to live with those "no"s sometimes. It can feel like a judgement about you as an artist or even worse- as a person. It can confirm your worst fears: that you don't deserve this. Maybe everyone was right and acting is just a pipe dream. You're not good enough.
That is some bullsh*t.
First of all, there is no great list of who is deserving and who isn't. What does "good" even mean? You might think Andie MacDowell is a good actor, she might even be your favorite. When I watch her I want to rip out my eyeballs with a knitting needle. Who is right? "Good", it seems, is very subjective.
Making art is one of the great joys of being human. We all have the right to experience that, even Andie MacDowell. You don't need to be Picasso to enjoy painting or Aretha Franklin to experience the joy of belting your favorite song.
It's true that directors, casting directors and producers do have a lot of control. They are often the gatekeepers. But the sooner you realize it's not about them, the easier this gets. I'm sure you've heard the cliche "It's not about the destination, it's the journey."?
While that phrase is often deployed at inopportune moments, there really is so much truth in it.
Your life as an actor - whether professional or hobbyist- is about the work. If you can get joy from doing the craft, the validation is not even necessary.
But it does feel good to hear that "yes"- doesn't it?
How can you find ways to say "yes" to yourself? To find joy in the steps towards your larger goals as much as the goals themselves?
Remember when you were too scared to sign up for an acting class? Remember when you were too scared to go to an audition? Remember when you were nervous at your first rehearsal? On your first set? All of the things that seem so impossible, in time become a daily part of your life. We very rarely stop to take a look at how far we've come.
If you can learn to celebrate those steps both large and small as they happen- then when those "yes"s start coming (and they will come) you can enjoy them without needing them. You can celebrate them as steps along the road to what you are becoming, and not as permission to continue to do what you love.