BWW Blog: The Waiting Game
What's worse than facing profuse rejection in the acting world? In my opinion, the excruciating waiting game for said rejection.
I can't even count the occasions that I've waited on a cast list, a grade, or (in my current case) a decision from summer stock combined auditions and wanted to pull my hair out the WHOLE time. Somehow, no matter the circumstances or how well I can predict the outcome of whatever waiting game that I'm playing, my brain tends to jump to the worst case scenario and I suffer through the entire waiting period. But here's the weird thing once I have the result I'm waiting on, I'm fine, no matter what it is. It's just the WAITING.
It's more than an aversion to suspenseful situations for the entirety of the time I've studied theatre, I've always dreaded the waiting period because it permits a period of time for me to tear apart my own ability to perform.I've always been told by teachers here that to make it in this business, having confidence and perseverance is necessary. It's an ironic thing to practice when our careers are driven by the opinions of others, most of which may be detrimental to one's ego. But for me, the thing that's enabled quite a bit of my selfdeprecating thought process is giving myself the headspace to tear myself apart. Hence, my resentment for the period of time between putting myself out there and waiting to get something back...the more time I'm given to rethink the work I've put up, the more time I spend devaluing all the efforts I've made to put my best work forward. I also despise the concept of the result being out of my control as soon as I walk out of an audition room. I know a great number of actors who feel the same way.
Right now, I'm waiting to hear from StrawHats and NETC (New England Theatre Conference), selective unifieds auditions for summer stock theatre. Other than the constant impulse to refresh my email inbox, I think I'm progressively getting better at being patient. Maybe it's because I've had a good bit of practice by now, having waited on enough cast lists to make me dread the postaudition/application period but nevertheless, here are a handful of things I've learned about not driving yourself crazy during the waiting game.
I think it's important to remember that once you've done the best that you can, you have no control over what happens next. Part of the difficulty of constantly putting up work in classes and in auditions is having to let go as soon as it's over, and that feeling of helplessness can be heightened by having to wait to hear feedback in any form. So do your best in all the work you do, recognize that you did all you possibly could, and forfeit it to the hands of the person taking control of the decision. Make yourself busy while you wait (and try not to spend too much time with people waiting on the same thing), and most importantly, give yourself credit for all you do. Keep on sharing your art in as many audition rooms as you can you never know when your waiting will be cut short by some great news.