"the actor is trained to wait, whilst oftentimes sinking into quiet despair"

Both stage and screen actors experience fears that plague them. Fears about their ability to show up along with fears about  their ability to show up as well as others that they see as competitors in the relentlessly high-octane arena [of film]. The acting world is impossibly competitive and all the more so because it is achingly desired by so many. It is not unusual for me, casting in the Pacific Northwest to receive 300 submissions per role. 

The idea of being immortalized on the silver screen is, for some, an existential prerogative.  I’m not just talking about professional actors, I’m talking about actors who act for a hobby. The urge to be on screen particularly in the U.S., with Hollywood being the nerve-centre for all things film, is HUGE. 

In the digital age, visibility, ten minutes of fame, streaming content, reality tv and so on, mean that a person is literally a send button away from being seen around the globe (or simply one's own country), resulting in the possibility of instantly going viral or "becoming famous". And so it comes as something of a surprise, perhaps, that actors who do this for a living, (versus your average YouTube influencer), can experience the most debilitating anxiety doing something they love. This anxiety can stymie their best efforts to find success in their chosen profession, which, like a capricious lover tosses them impersonally and carelessly from almost making it, being very close, “on hold”, “on avails”, to an immediate sense of loss and despair when they are “rejected”.

Few other professions toy so easily with our emotional sense of well being,  And in no other profession is 98% of the workforce unemployed at any given time. Yet actors go back time and again hoping for that one moment when it could all change overnight. 

And that's the problem ...

 ... because the actor is trained to wait, whilst oftentimes sinking into quiet despair. They wait to be ready, when what they should be doing is readying themselves for when the wait is over. The wait, in tv and film, or what I call the in-between times can feel like an impossibly long road. As they wait they often begin to lose a sense of confidence and a sense of what is possible for them as actors. 

While it is to be expected, rejection just once a day, 7 days a week, 20+ times a month year round, can become exceedingly wearing on the soul. Additionally most actors don’t know why they are not being cast because deadline-driven casting directors rarely, if at all, have time to offer cogent feedback.  

And so the actor bears a load greater than most employees and artists in their attempt to find work.  As the wait is prolonged, along with the pile of rejections (whilst ones colleagues/friends appear to be booking everything that comes their way),  the actor begins to accrue sets of anxieties and associated behaviours that become lodged in the body, over-taxing their nervous and emotional systems.

Eventually these fears and anxieties, with their attendant sets of behaviours, start to impact the work and the relationship that the actor has to their craft.

This book [The Actor's Way] is for screen actors  who want to explore and discover ways of overcoming their self-sabotaging behavior and deep seated fears. Actors who find that they seem to lose a sense of who they are and what they are doing when they step into the audition. It will also be very useful for theatre actors, because the book starts from the position that an actor is an actor  with a drive to perform, never mind the medium.

Sometimes it is hard to put a finger on why it is that we cannot find the energy or the verve to commit to what we say we love doing. If that is you then this book will look at some of the possible under-lying causes as to why we self-sabotage, particularly with something we profess to love.  Alternatively it may be that you have considerable and consistent success as a screen actor and have no hang ups! I would question if that is wholly accurate, but if it is then this book will deepen your understanding of why that might be so and allow you to expand your success and consciousness as an actor, so that you can attain even greater fulfillment within the craft.  

Mostly this book is for screen actors who desire to identify and work with their own pains and struggles in life (as opposed to feeling hopeless in the face of those struggles.)  Actors who are keenly aware of how their art mirrors their life in some way, actors who are drawn to the craft and are curious about how to navigate out of the morass of fears; how to deal with the dark nights of one's soul and use the elements of pain-story that make up who they are.  

I can think of no other profession in which one's personal emotional history, along with their being can so smoothly dovetail into the most horrific stories, or the most enchanting and uplifting ones. We are literally our art.  And this can  be wearing on us if we don’t develop a fuller, healthier relationship to the environment that is inside us, along with the environment that is outside us

 ... (excerpt from a draft of The Actors Way, by Nike Imoru, PhD)

Q: If you are keeping a personal diary or journal, consider how you cope with the "in-between times". What is the longest period of time that you have gone without acting on stage or screen?

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