Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The actors nightmare=ego.

If someone asked me what the major hinderance to success for an actor or actres was, I would say it is their own ego. Thinking too much of yourself is a sure way to sabotage your career. In my 50+ years of teaching acting, I have seen more young actors ruin their own chances for success by being on some ego trip or other. Recemtly a most tragic story has occurred. A young woman went to NYC to seek her fortune as an actress. She was attractive, but had a very weak resume. She asked me for advice on where to study and I recommended my favorite NYC studio. Just a few weeks after having completed a workshop at this studio, she met a famous NY agent and producer quite by accident. He was very impressecd with her, and she had no trouble getting an appointment to meet with him in his office. He wanted her to get new head shots and recommended his office assistant take them. The price was reasonable and she agreed. But when the pics came back, they were not the best and slightly flawed for really good headshots. Even though the agent thought the pics were ok and was ready to begin working with her, the young lady was so disappointed in the photos that she said she didn't like them and would have a friend of hers take new ones. It took three weeks for the new photos to be ready, and neither were they the greateest as far as head shots are concerned. But the young lady liked them very much. The young lady tried to get an appointment to see the agent with her new headshots but he office manager said that the agent was intereviewing new people and they would call her if they were interested. The young lady was stunned at the coarseness of the situation. She thought that the office assistant would not give her an appointment to see the agent with ther new headshots just because she did not like the photos the assiatant had taken. Only partly true. She had also left the agent hanging for three weeks when he had been eager to get started and work with her. Thus, a golden, perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity, eluded the young lady. And why? Because of ego. Hers and the office assistant's egos. She should not have been so vain about the first set of photos. If the agent liked them, they were no doubt fine, and they would have been cropped or touched up before distribution, but the young lady was young and naive and egocentric. The office assitant who had her photography rejected by the young lady, also allowed her ego to take its revenge. The difference is that the office assistant is out nothing, and the young lady is out in the cold, perhaps out of the buisness. The theatre world is small and it is easy for one agent to mention to another agent that so-and-so is very attractive, but a bit of an ego. The famous man had been ready to start work with her, and she put him off because of her ego.
Aspiring actors, be careful. humility, not ego wins the day. If you have a golden opportunity, do not destroy it. Nuture it, and let it work for you. Never, ever, do anything to make an enemy in the business as word travels fast and it travels far.

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