Advice for Actors: Ask Charlotte
Charlotte Armitage is ready to help our Mandy members with any questions. We want Mandy readers to reach out and ask for help and tell us about the challenges you are facing. Please send your questions to [email protected]
Mandy member: I trained professionally and have some decent work under my belt but lately I've not been getting any of the parts I've auditioned for. I'm feeling really down about it and am sick of the waitressing job I feel stuck in. How can I get myself out of this and turn things around?
Charlotte: It sounds as though you’re feeling down at the moment. The first thing to think about is making changes that you can to help to improve your mood. I would advise you to consider sourcing alternative employment which provides flexibility as there are plenty of other options out there. If you aren’t happy in your job, which takes up a huge part of your life, it will have a negative impact on your mood which will consequently affect all other parts of your life, including your acting career. Being relaxed and competent in your audition is vital to enable you to give your best performance but that is very difficult to do if in the back of your mind are thoughts such as; “I need the money” or “I can’t cope with waitressing anymore”, or “I’m so fed up”. If you’re happy in other areas of your life, it will help you to approach auditions with a different mindset and will hopefully help you to land the roles.
To ensure that your career as an actor doesn’t have a negative impact on your self-esteem, it’s important to manage your expectations so that you don’t feel too disheartened when you don’t get the part. More often than not, when working as an actor, when going for mainstream work, you won’t land the part, that is considered the norm. Statistically, on average, you will secure 1 in 16 jobs that you audition for, that’s 15 auditions that you attend and won’t get the part. There are so many reasons as to why you aren’t getting the roles, it could be that your physical features don’t fit with the rest of the family that have already been cast or that the director preferred someone else’s accent or the way they delivered it. There are hundreds of reasons as to why you aren’t getting these parts and it’s very unlikely that it will be because you weren’t good enough, please keep this in mind when you are feeling negative about not securing work.
**Reflection is one tool that you can use to help to develop psychological resilience. Having resilience to the auditioning process is vital if you are going to have longevity in your career as an actor.**
At YAFTA we use a model of reflection to teach students to reflect on the audition process. This helps them to learn about what went wrong, why it went wrong, what went right and what they would like to improve on next time, this process is cathartic in itself and encourages processing of what has happened. As disappointing as it is that you haven’t secured any work recently, you can use these auditions as learning experiences by reflecting on them. Additionally, you should always see auditions as networking opportunities, be proactive and send a follow up e-mail to casting directors that you have met so that they have your details whilst you are still fresh in their minds.
Good luck with making these changes. If you feel like your mood is getting worse, please ensure that you seek professional help via your doctor.
Charlotte Armitage is the Managing Director at Yorkshire Academy Of Film and Television Acting (YAFTA). She is also a psychologist and helps people in the film industry with mental health issues. Read our exclusive interview with Charlotte.