Taking a Break
It's important to take breaks from time to time. I think anytime you start to get that frazzled, desperate, or hopeless feeling in this business, you owe it to yourself to take a step back. It doesn't have to be a long period of time. You could just give yourself the day off, or a mere couple of hours when you aren't submitting and auditioning, networking and marketing, dreaming and scheming. People in other careers do that often. Some even give themselves two days. It's called a "weekend". And I hear it's wonderful.
But as actors we are so terrified to step back, even for a minute, for fear that all our hard work will come to a screaching halt, and we'll be forgotten. But what's worse? That you continue grinding away, even when your mood could use some improvement, and you come off as an overextended stressball? Or would you rather take a moment to decompress and re-evaluate from a slightly removed perspective so that you can return refreshed?
Now I didn't say it would be easy. I have a vacation planned with my family, and I've had serious anxiety about taking time off. I even had to turn down a CD who called to offer me a job with no audition! When does that ever happen??? (Full disclosure: If the pay/project had been more attractive my vacation would have been abbreviated. I'm no dummy.) Still, it was painful to decline, but I know it was the right thing to do.
It's been a bittersweet couple of months. I've been getting out a lot more recently, but we all know that auditioning more is a double-edged sword. More auditions can mean more bookings, but it can also mean more rejection. I don't want to sound ungrateful. I am far from it. But I've been placed on first refusal/hold a few times in the last couple of months, and as awesome as that is, being released can sting. The pain of knowing that you almost booked a job can sometimes trump the sad notion that you never had a chance. It can deflate you if you let it. And I don't want to let it. I want to see the first refusals on those big jobs as signs that I'm still moving in the right direction.
So I'm taking a break to walk on a sandy beach somewhere far away from the audition room. Someday soon I hope you're able to do the same.
(The picture is my own.)