(sigh) Here we go.
We need help.
Who? Me. Us. Your non-working actor friends. Specifically, your non-working parent-actor friends. We have been out of the business for awhile. Sure, we’re dipping our toes in the water here and there, wishing we had time to do more. Some of us are out of “kid-jail” and are trying to get back in. Not me, personally, but I know a few. And the way the pandemic is panning out and how the industry is behaving, I gotta tell you, morale is low. It feels hopeless. That mountain is too high! New headshots, new materials, new audition equipment…holy Sondheim, it’s overwhelming!
But still, we want to work. We ache to do a show again. It hurts not to. And sometimes it’s hard for me to ask for help. So I don’t ask for help and I end up resentful and jealous. But that’s not your fault. I’m emotionally mature enough to know that my more successful friends are not to blame for my own shortcomings.
Also, how would you know what we need if we don’t ask? And how would you know what to do if we don’t tell you what we need?
Here’s how to help us.
1. Acknowledge our pain.
Show us compassion and let us talk about our feelings without trivializing them. We trust you with our frustrations, all you have to do is listen. Maybe give us a hug, too.
2. Respect boundaries.
Before offering advice, ask us what we need. We are in a very confusing place, and it may add to our frustrations if you encourage us to do something we aren’t ready for yet.
3. Encourage us!
Let us know when we are doing something right. Share any auditions you find that you think we would be good for. Even a quick note like “Saw this and you’d be great! You should submit!” can be very encouraging.
4. Review our materials.
Help us pick out new songs or monologues that are better for our age range. Suggest characters we should study. My book is bursting with ingenue material and I need to replace it with material from some of these characters.
5. Help us rehearse!
You could help us run lines, rehearse sides with us, or go over our audition song cuts. If it’s been awhile, we won’t be confident that the cut we choose works.
6. Share helpful resources.
Any new casting websites, headshot photographers, coaches, teachers, books, videos…anything that has come up in the last five years would help so much. As fast as this industry is moving, we have definitely missed out on a lot!
7. Refer us!
Drop our names. Talk about us in the room where it happens. Remind our mutual network that we still exist!
8. Celebrate with us!
When we do book something, cheer us on! Or even if we achieve a small goal like getting new pictures taken, give us positive feedback!
9. Remind us how much fun this is.
In the beginning, it’s gonna feel like so much work. Our first audition back will be so nerve wracking.
10. Keep in touch.
Check in with us once in awhile. We will have been isolated from our artistic network for so long that coming back will likely bring about “impostor syndrome.” Let us know we still belong.
Thank you for caring enough to read this far. Let us know you empathize with us and encourage us to move ahead in the career we left behind.