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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Slump

So, as of right now, I have no summer projects lined up.

I have other plans. Exciting plans. Travel, and concerts, and baseball games, and theatre outings. I mean plenty to do.

But no acting gig.

The hardest part of this prospect is the fact that I have been auditioning for summer work for the last 6 weeks. And have had at least 10 auditions. Not a staggering number, but enough that at this point I can't help but feel frustrated. And I'm not one to say I had a really great audition, but some of these have been some of my best. Others, not so much...but so it goes in the world of auditioning right?

After spending 8 months (voluntarily) away from acting over the fall it became crystal clear to me that that turn of events simply can not happen again. And the key here is to just keep auditioning of course. Something will come my way, right?

But it sometimes gets harder and harder to want to go out and go through the whole audition process when you keep missing the mark. I am trying hard not to fall into what I like to call "the slump". "The slump" is that place you get to when you've auditioned for all kinds of things all over the place, packed your schedule, driven yourself minorly insane to audition for everything you can, and you still find yourself gigless.

Self doubt and that part of your brain that says "what the fuck are you doing?" starts to kick in. I find myself comparing myself to all the other actresses at the audition. My mind races through my material to make sure I know what I'm doing. I get really disappointed with every callback/role I don't get. I always try my best to let the rejection roll off. Just keep moving on. I will be exactly what someone is looking for somewhere along the line. And I have a lot to offer. I know this. But when "the slump" gets a hold of me, it all heads out the window. It is not a productive place. It is low energy, low motivation, low self-esteem. Things I do not take to well.

So how do I combat this? Do I embrace it in order to let it go? Do I focus on the other things I do have to do? Do I find other outlets? Some combination of these? I'm not really sure. So far I haven't been able to find any better remedy than finally getting cast in something. Which is validating, but I feel like there must be a way to use the slump it self to help dig my self out. I just haven't worked out the how quite yet. So for now, I will keep auditioning (mostly for fall gigs at this point), give it the best I can give it, and enjoy my summer with time for the beach.


  1. Come study with us in June Mary-Liz! Chekhov, Meisner, laughter, screams, tears... Best remedy I know - short of getting your dream gig...

    Also people are asking me to run a one or two weekend audition workshop in late May/early June. Interested? Come!

    If neither of those ideas float your boat, well, then I suggest starting an independent project. Cast yourself and just start working!



    PS: The above suggestions assume heavy drinking is not in your book of options. If on the other hand it is, well then ...

  2. Oh, how familiar all this sounds and feels! I'm coming slowly out of "the slump" at the moment myself -- unfortunately, I can recommend no "cure" but the eventual "getting cast in something," which, as you know, gets increasingly hard to believe in during those months when it's just Not Happening. Meanwhile, though, putting your focus on a class, or on organizing some other small project, can be a good way to stave off despair and keep motivated, even if it doesn't feel like it ultimately solves the problem.

    Also, perhaps this is a bit forward of me, but -- as it happens, one of the projects I started while Slumping is a small "playwright's workshop" at Flat Earth, which is currently in need of a couple more actresses. It's pretty low-key playing-with-text of a work-in-progress -- send me an email if you'd like to join us! cora(at)flatearththeatre(dot)com.

    ~ Coriana