How to maintain positive mental health as an actor

12 May 2017

How to maintain positive mental health as an actor

Actor, director, and AFTT teacher Lex Marinos schools us on how to overcome the fear of putting yourself our there and embrace vulnerability.

health300.jpgIn acting, as in most sectors in the arts, being able to continually put yourself out there is a necessary part of getting your next job.

But with the many auditions and interviews we go through, the knockbacks and rejections can be tough. Learning to deal with the potential rejection that comes with putting yourself out there requires a careful balance between allowing yourself to be vulnerable and developing a thick skin. If you don’t develop this skill, you could be dealing with the situation in the wrong way.

‘It’s a difficult paradox and the irony is that we want people to expose themselves and be vulnerable, yet at the same time there is so much about the business that is hard. The fact that you will go to audition after audition and you won’t get the job and you’ll continually get feedback that you’re not good enough, that you’re too this or too that and you’re not getting the role,’ said Lex Marinos, actor, director and teacher at the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television.

This is an ability Marinos teaches his students in the Acting course at AFTT.

‘You have to be tough. You have to develop a mental strength and learn to deal with rejection,’ said Marinos. 

Fortunately, it’s a skill that can be taught.

Marinos admits that it is difficult to find this balance between sensitivity and toughness. To make it easier he advises people to develop a philosophy where you see each audition as a good audition, regardless of the outcome.

This can also be useful for people outside of acting who are undergoing a difficult job search, or freelancers who haven’t had their pitches accepted.

‘The fact that you don’t get the job doesn’t mean you can’t do it. In the end only one person can. The fact that you didn’t get it doesn’t mean you aren’t good. It is about encouraging people to understand that,’ said Marinos.

The key takeaway for aspiring actors is that you need to develop the right attitude so that you can continue to put yourself out there.

‘I try to remind my students that every morning they get up and don’t do their vocal warm up to be aware that their competitors probably are. So every time you’re not doing it, bare in mind that there is someone else, someone who is going to go for the same jobs as you, who is doing it and that might just give them the competitive edge.’

‘You can’t just sit back and bitch about the fact that your agent hasn’t rung or you didn’t get the job or someone else got it and you think you could do it better. That’s all bullshit. You have to let those negative things go and be positive about it and say, “I’m going to work harder. I’m going to work so hard that I become irresistible.”

Find out more about studying Screen and Media: Acting or Enquire now. 

The Essential Skills Series is brought to you in partnership with Artshub and written by Brooke Boland. 

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