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Thursday 6 September 2012


People don't become writers or directors or actors to get paid. Sure, most of us see the end result as being one where we're paid handsomely for our talents. But it's not the driving force behind our choices. If it was, we'd be bankers. We're here because we want to do something that satisfies our souls. And I don't even know what a soul is or whether it exists; but there is definitely this place inside of you, or just outside of you, that soars to the skies when things goes well and empties you out cold when things go bad. It's a place you can't tangibly touch or feel, and you only ever feel it when your dreams get closer to you or further away. 

And it's not just about rejection and being accepted. It's not as simple as that. There are a million different places in between, and you never quite know where you're going to land. 

The rejection story of, 'you were their second choice!" sounds like a great achievement when you hear it, but when you're actually in that second place, the unchosen one, it's so painful. Because you're so so close to your dream, the thing you've worked throughout your whole life to get to, and they snatch it right away from you. After that, you're no longer in second place, you're back with everyone else, sitting at home wondering what you have to do to get back in the game. 

It's hard. It's really hard. It's not just about employment. It's about more than that. You can be happily employed and earning money when another opportunity comes along -- maybe an audition for a Broadway play, or a chance to get your movie made in LA--- and you can get so close to it. Somebody is reading your script, somebody is watching your audition tape---- you get closer and closer. 

And then they don't want you. 

If you get cast in the big Hollywood movie, or you get hired to write the BBC drama; you're set. At least for a while, you've nailed it, you've landed. Sometimes it's a drawn out process--- you're under consideration. They want you, but the producers might go with a known name, or the production company are considering another project instead --- they just keep you hanging there and hanging there. 

And then they take it away. It's just like that. 

There are no prizes for not being selected. You were second choice to write that movie? You would've been cast in that flick if Jude Law wasn't available? This stuff means nothing when it comes down to it. 

Of course, it does mean something. Ten years ago you'd never have dreamed of getting this close. It's like that famous quote about people quitting right around the time they're about to succeed. 

It's just that most people don't understand how hard it is to work in this industry; because every time: it's a risk. It never gets easier for an actor to walk into that audition room to impress strangers. And it's always terrifying when you hand your script over. You are putting your dreams into the hands of other people. You're saying "I'm an artist!" and they have the power to say "ummm, maybe, but we're gonna go with the other guy."

Often the job is perfect for you. The job was made specifically for YOU. But you don't get it. 

That's life. That's the movies. 

This is a common thing in the life of the actor. And this year I've discovered that it's pretty common for writers as well. I'm writing this blog post today because I think many of you who work in the industry will relate to it. And it's good to not feel alone right? It's good to remember that these heartbreaking rejections are a result of AIMING HIGH. You are doing everything you can to follow your dreams, and that's amazing. That's living!

Today; I didn't get the writing gig I was, I thought, destined for. And one of my best friends fucked up an audition that he was really keen on. I sent him a text a bit earlier tonight, saying that we're lucky. Because some people never experience these excruciating lows, because they're not even trying! They're not risking it! 

So we're going to sit around and mope for the rest of today. Maybe we can drag it out over the weekend. 

But by the time Monday arrives, we'll be chasing the dream again. 

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Sorry you didn't get that gig but yeah, don't stop chasing the dream.