Everyone agrees that choosing to live and work in a completely subjective industry is at the least daunting (and most often entirely overwhelming). Few people sympathize with talent moreso than actress Colleen Wainwright, has been hitting the payment for over three decades. Colleen would tell you that over that time she has seen talent make the same five mistakes to the detriment of their careers.
Desperation is an extreme state and we can all smell it from a mile away. Talent can smell it on other talent, so of course we as industry professionals sense it coming, too. There are few things listed as a bigger turn off than coming across as needy. (Take dating for example. The good guy rarely gets the girl not because he isn't as wonderful as the bad boy, but because the bad boy just does his thing, regardless of whether or not the girl ends up being "his". When it comes to human nature, being chased is always better than chasing!)
Here, Colleen shares the #1 mistake all too common for the well-meaning talent . . . being needy.
It's no secret that many of us gravitate to this business because we're a little bit wonky inside. For whatever reason, we need more love, approval, and attention than the average civilian, and we think that waves of love from strangers will fill that big, black hole inside.
Well, relax, because I'm not going to try to talk you out of this one. Chances are good you already know it's nuts, and are in some state of working through it. What I'm talking about, need-wise, is the stuff that gets between you and getting the job.
Need is a gigantic turnoff when it comes to moving your career forward. Yes, you need/want the gig, no matter how poorly paying it is. But while that need might fuel you, it gets in the way in the room.
So do what you can to address it. Financially, it may mean a Stupid Day Job that pays well enough or reducing expenses. Physically, it means making sure your body is in good working order. Emotionally—well, that's kind of up to you and your particular mess. Be gentle as you work on this, but work on it.
The one thing that makes my heart sink when I hear a talent say it -- "I really want to get this one!" In a decade of booking, I have yet to see a talent who really wanted a gig, get booked on it. I'm sure one day it will happen, but the reason why a talented model or actor wouldn't book a job they really want is simple. Those nerves that keep you focused and on par in the casting room go on overdrive and then you come across as desperate. They can smell you coming! Learning to approach each opportunity from a level perspective is not something learned overnight. But the bottom line is that you should put the same amount of effort into auditioning for local director Joe Blow's music video as you do when going to read for Steven Spielberg or meet with Tommy Hilfiger.
After all, you may know their name, but they are still just people like you who have worries, fears, and challenges, and are just doing their best to make it through the day and do their job, right?
Are you getting in your own way?