Why comparing your journey to the journey of others is a bad idea.
“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” – Iylana Vanzant
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.” – William Blake
“The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick
Do you get it? Do you understand what I am getting at and what I am about to dive into?
Comparison = NO!
In the most simplest terms, don’t do it! The acting industry is one of the most unexplained career paths where chance and luck play over 75% of your success. This world has no direct recipe nor no guarantee that just because you went to school and work hard at your craft, that you will book the role. Trust me, it can be extremely frustrating when your countless hours of dedication don’t directly mean you get work.
The worst part, almost always, this rational is out of your control.
There are countless reasons as to why you don’t get the gig. From your height, your beauty, the colour of your hair, or that you happen to remind one of the producers of his ex wife – therefore he will not want to see you everyday on set – the list of let downs can be endless.
One reason I didn’t get a role once, was because I was too tall for the leading male. This is very common when the leads have already been cast, as now casting is trying to hire actors that will support and enhance number one on the call sheet. Usually that translates to : you can’t be taller, prettier, or have the same hairstyle.
Your competition has a larger social media following which is therefore free marketing and advertising for the film or TV show. Influencers are joining Hollywood faster than you can say Hamlet’s entire ‘Speak the Speech.’
That other actor happens to have a connection to the production of the project. Whether they have a relative who is an above the line higher up, or the director and them go way back, personal connections usually are the leg up that will also cancel out your incredible audition.
I hope by now the number one rule of ‘do not compare yourself to other’s success.’ is starting to make sense. There is so much out of your control and even more that goes on behind the scenes, rarely ever informed to you.
But what you can do, is your damn best. I know that sounds cliche and ‘duh I always do my best.’ I am not saying you don’t but the film industry already has a plethora of discouraging factors, that comparison will only destroy your dream that much more. We all have to keep going and keep pursuing. Please refer to one of my past articles about ‘How to maintain your passion for acting’. Specifically the factor : This is a marathon, not a race.
Whenever you feel discouraged and find yourself comparing your journey to other’s success, remind yourself about your why. Why did you decide to become an actor to begin with? What about acting fuels your passion? What are your favourite characters to play? Why?
Another way you can turn the blinders on to what others are doing is to create your own work. This is the most liberating and rewarding thing you can do. Don’t wait for the opportunity to finally show itself, for your 1% chance of booking the role. Instead, take control of the stories you want to tell and write a script surrounding topics meaningful to you. What lessons do you want to share with the world? What characters do you want to embody and bring to life? You have so many resources available to you, all you have to do is decide that this is your path, and no one else’s. Only you have experienced your unique life and only you can bring your unique self to every word you read off of each script.
Stay focused and clear with your vision. And when others get the part, cheer them on. When it happens to people around you, that means it will also happen for you. Perhaps not in the same way, but in the way meant for you.
Now, go tell your story.
Written by Therés Amee