Excuse: v. seek to defend or justify; to attempt to lessen the blame attached to an offense or fault.
Life is full of unexpected events, and frequently we let the weight of financial woes, lost relationships, or someone's doubts get in the way of our happiness. Each time a talent disagrees with something I've suggested, no matter how mundane the topic, there is an effort to justify their actions. Cue our unfortunate friend, Excuse.
On one hand, it's completely healthy to learn to say no when the timing is not right. But saying no doesn't mean you have to offer an excuse. We apologize too often for things that could have been controlled or prevented and the end result is our effort to defend our actions, despite the fact that we know most often we are the responsible party.
Learning to own our choices is a behavioral pattern that will take time to learn, but well worth it for the health of your career in years to come! You have choices -- thank goodness! So when you make a choice, make it confidently!
Are you available for the casting? If you can't say yes, confidently [and politely] say no. Justifying your no with a long story about how your boyfriend needs a ride to work and you have to sacrifice your desires and commitments to help him achieve his . . . is an excuse. On the flip side, saying no and letting someone know you've recently had a death in the family, is a simple answer and alerts the other person to your emotional state. The last thing any agent wants is to send a shaken talent into the casting room and have them fall apart due to a serious personal event.
Excuses from actors and models are commonly car problems, an inflexible boss, headaches, unchecked voicemail/email, etc. All of these things are manageable if planned for ahead of time and should not be the reason you look back on your career ten years from now wishing things had been different. Take control now and be proactive to make your experiences the most positive they can be! After all, an excuse is driven by a sense of guilt. Release yourself from the guilt by planning ahead of time. There will be extenuating circumstances unexpectedly, but you will have done everything within your power and won't feel the need to defend yourself.
It's a known fact that if a person REALLY wants to do something, we will find a way to get it done. Have an untrustworthy car? Learn the local public transit system as a backup. You won't be the first talent to use public transit for reliability! Get headaches from stress? Carry ibuprofen or tylenol on your daily commute. Forget to check your voicemail every day? Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself!
You can work in entertainment without excuses . . . and that fact alone will set you ahead of all your competition! What was the last excuse you used with an agent, casting director, or manager? What can you do RIGHT NOW that will help you proactively overcome it next time?