Super Bowl Bum Day: When Casting Calls for Envy

So, the bowls of cheesy, salty snacks adorn the coffee table, fifty inches of high-def screen rests on the living room wall; all the hype, hoopla, and analysis is done, the stage is set as you tip a bottle with your best buds raring to go on Super Bowl Sunday. Then, come the commercials…gotta see those famous, infamous, acclaimed, highly-influential, much publicized, awesome national commercials! And, after all, you auditioned for one of them yourself. And then—hey! There it is…there’s the spot you went in for. And there’s the huge smiling-from-ear-to-ear face of the other guy from the callback lobby—he got the part. That guy won the spot; and you lost it. Who cares now if the Patriots or the Giants take home the trophy. Your day is destroyed.

Someone else is getting the exposure you want, they’re getting a lot of money which you need; he gets to tell his mom and friends of his success, add the gig to his resume—and you’re still struggling.

Actors are prone to career anxiety just as all careers are prone to trigger crisis at times. The acting field is notorious for its erratic earnings and rejection. Actor Hamish Linklater from the play Seminar, on Broadway, puts it this way, “In my ideal world there would be 99% unemployment for actors, and I would be the 1% that’s employed. I hear about somebody getting a job at Starbucks and I get jealous.”

According to Alain de Bottom, author of Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, “It’s a real taboo to mention envy, but if there is one dominant emotion in modern society, that is envy. And it’s linked to the spirit of equality…The closer two people are, in age, in background, in the process of identification, the more there is a danger of envy – which is incidentally why none of you should ever go to a school reunion – because there is no stronger reference point than people one was at school with. But the problem, generally, of modern society, is that it turns the whole world into a school.”

As everyone feels envious at times, it’s important to realize we’re all more than our successes and failures. We’re all a work in progress. So, accept the fact that you’re feeling this way, but don’t give in. Instead, use it as motivation, get yourself out there and work harder than you’ve ever worked. Directors, Producers, Ad Agency suits don’t give actors a big-time national commercial because they’re big hearted; they award you the spot because you audition, you’re prepared, you deliver the lines naturally, you take direction–in short, you’re a pro. That’s how you score a big-time national spot. And make sure you have an up-to-date resume and current headshots. There’s nothing a Casting Director wants to see less than an old headshot. Take care of the business of acting, and the acting business will take care of you. Remember: “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.”

To hear Alain de Bottom speak with witty insight about modern-day envy, click here.

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