When I look at all my clients who have achieved mega success—who work regularly, have the respect and admiration of their peers, compete for parts in top projects, and who win awards—there’s one thing that sets them apart from others, aside from their talent and work ethic.
It’s their natural sense of affability. They exude a friendly confidence and warmth that makes other people want to be around them.
This is an industry of strong personalities that can translate to psychotic producers, abusive directors and diva actors.
When people come onboard a project that are easy to work with, a delight to be around and who roll-with-the-punches of production, they help take the edge off a truly high pressure world. And that ability is priceless.
We’ve all been on dates with people who are completely self-absorbed. They are completely content to sit across from us at a table and prattle on about themselves, never once making an inquiry about the interests of their dinner date.
These people seem to think that the date is simply a time to showcase themselves under a spotlight, not considering that it’s a bridge between two people. Don’t be that person at auditions, in class or on set.
Cultivating an ability to look past yourself and your own circumstances will help you connect better with others, and help develop your own self-awareness, something that will contribute to your acting arsenal as well.
Look past your own nose.
Don’t forget you work with other human beings who have their own struggles, tragedies, betrayals, shortcomings and pain.
If you’re in a room with other people for an audition, call back, on-set, etc., ask them how they are, and mean it—people deeply appreciate authenticity and genuine concern in this business, largely because it can seem like a scarce quality at times.
Don’t act like you can’t deviate from your focus or your preparation for a minute to inquire about someone else’s health. That’s a green mentality.
In fact, getting your head away from the fact that you’re about to perform can freshen your work and forge camaraderie among your peers.
Understand that it’s not about you.
Even when you’re booked for a role on a project and are currently on set—it’s still not about you, but what you contribute to the onset environment and the collective artistry.
You’re a collaborator. You’re not there to give some rote performance that you practiced on the phone with your mom, or recreate the version you rehearsed yesterday.
You’re here to work with others and take adjustments from the director, producer, writer, and/or cinematographer, and react and respond to the living actors around you, adapting to their strengths and weaknesses in the reality of the script.
You are a bright, shiny cog of the onscreen machine—an important cog. But you are not the entire steering axis.
You’re going to have bad days, days where you hate acting, hate the business and wish you had gone to law school.
During some of your bad days, you’re going to be mingling with other people also having bad days. During times like these, when it’s difficult, you still need to reach down deep, to the depths of your own kindness, and treat people with warmth and respect.
All the most successful actors I know do this regularly, even when it’s not easy, and I have no doubt that it has helped to solidify the open road of their career paths. Your responsibility to your career and your continued success is not just about the talent and insight you bring to the role.
You’re an active member of the industry, and you must contribute to a positive environment wherever the industry takes you.
If you pro-actively infuse positive behavior and a basic sense of awareness on-set, in every acting class, audition, and waiting-room, you will attract enormous benefits into your career.
This article was originally posted on Backstage