I was very deep in a post yesterday about what I do before auditions. At some point I will post that too.
But mid-sentence my creative brain took a back seat to my analytical brain.
What gives me the right to tell people how to deal with auditions? I haven’t had an audition in weeks. Who am I to share my “life as an actor” when I haven’t been on set in 2 months.
The word “fraud” kept flashing in my brain like a Bud Light sign at a liquor store.
I can handle this mental tornado now much better than a few years ago. I have to actually let my thoughts go there and then bring them back home. I can snap out of it and remind myself how lucky I already am, my successes, my great life, my future to come, etc.
Yet I always feel a little less than satisfied with my self-validation.
Validating a creative career feels like planting a tree.
Don’t laugh at my apology, have you ever planted a tree? It always seems like a great idea and you do all the prep and find the perfect spot and take a picture so you remember what it looked like so cute and small!
And then it takes for-freaking-ever to grow a god damn centimeter. And if you look at that f-ing tree every day you don’t see anything happening to it.
And you wait and look and water and wait and look and water. And yes, duh, life happens in between. And you actually wonder at some point if you got the dud and if it will ever indeed grow into anything that matters more than just letting the lawn mower take it out.
I think that’s what this feels like.
Sitting with myself with this “actor” label on my head and this website I made to help people (and myself) while not actively auditioning and filming all the time feels like I got the dud. Like I am looking at this thing every day and watering it and waiting and from yesterday to today I feel like I haven’t grown.
How can you validate something that takes so long and so much more than people can see?
And this waiting while still calling yourself an actor (which I AM and YOU ARE) can feel like you’re a fraud. That you’re “putting on” this thing/label day in and day out.
Most “regular” jobs have a ladder. And you take small steps to bigger and better positions and you have set tasks that will almost always get you from point A to point B. Of course there are exceptions, but on the whole you have a pretty clear assignment laid out for you. And when you finish that thing you are given the next. And “finishing” is validating.
There is no finish in this career.
There are landmarks of course, jobs that beget other jobs. Big milestones. There is the wrapping of a film or show, the booking of a new one, etc.
But how long between jobs does it take before you’re not allowed to call yourself an actor anymore? How many projects do you need to do before you are ready for the next step?
I wish I could give some solid answers to these questions. I would love to round this out with sound advice on how to actually validate yourself in your creative career.
But I don’t have anything ground breaking here. In fact I am still working daily to answer this question for myself. I think realizing the simple fact that you are a creative person is in and of itself validating. And I think you have to create your own milestones and make points to validate yourself.
And you also have to decide to plant the freakin tree and take care of it. Maybe there are no duds. Maybe just small trees.