KEEPING "SANE": IN THE PERFORMING ARTS
I find it hard to put into words the world of performing arts. It truly is like no other. I graduated in July 2018, nearly a year ago and despite I think no year could get any harder, boy how I was wrong. I have been through rollercoasters and roundabouts and many brick walls. I feel like I've been through them all, but the reality is, I've only just started.
I'd like to say that despite all these knock-backs, I have stayed pretty sane - if that's the right word. When I say "sane", I mean I have managed to stay level headed, managed to not let my emotions take over and spiral out of control. In fact, every brick that gets thrown at me proves how strong I really am. Accepting those nasty, hard, painful bricks and throwing twice as much back is the start to finding your inner-strength to survive in this tough industry.
So how have I developed this "fight-back" mentality?
Well here are my tips for you performers out there (or anyone that finds these relatible in any way) that I use on a daily basis to stay "sane" and cope with rejections; whether that be in an audition scenario or in every day living as a dancer, performer, and everything in between.
1. Allow people to get to like you, rather than forcing them to like you.
In an audition scenario specifically, there can be a tendency that you think: the more I smile, the more I laugh at the casting directors jokes, the more energy I put into this routine will result in them liking you and ultimately getting that recall or job. In fact, this is more likely to turn them away and do the complete opposite. They've seen it all before. Understand what they are looking for, be assured in yourself and your ability and I guarantee you'll come across more mature, allowing opportunities for casting directors to taken a liking to you and your performance.
2. Be comfortable in your own skin.
You can't be right for every role. Accept that. Don't pretend to be someone you're not as people will see through it and you will come across less believable. You might not be right for this job, but casting directors work for a lot of shows and production companies - they could have you in mind for another job. Who know's. Just ensure you make every impression a good impression.
3. Change the word "audition" to "workshop", or "dance class".
(this is more for first and second rounds..) This can take the pressure off yourself slightly allowing yourself to enjoy it. When do you get free classes these days! This can also give you peace of mind. After your "workshop", you can go on to enjoy the rest of your day. In other words, don't be constantly refreshing your emails on your phone, calling your agent ten times to see if you get a recall. This is putting your mind under constant stress which isn't healthy. If you get a recall, great! If not, onto the next "workshop!"
4. Find a hobby!
Throughout your childhood, I'm sure many of your hobbies were dancing, singing, acting, performing... Despite these childhood hobbies are still a passion of yours, it is now your job. Find something that similarly makes you passionate and brings you happiness. Due to the unpredictability of the performing world, find something in your life that is tangible, that you have control over. Discover another area of your skillset that still challenges you, pushes you and rewards you. I think this is super important for your mind to not get distracted by the bricks that might get thrown at you but instead allow you to put one foot in front of the other on your road to success.
There can be times harder than others. You feel hopeless, and lost. I can totally relate. But remember to be grateful for what you have unconditionally. Your friends, your family, a roof over you head, and your health. Everyone has a purpose in life, it might just take that bit longer for you to find it. But never loose hope or that fight. We will get there in the end!