Several years ago, I experimented with facial waxing at the most inopportune time.
I was about to take my biggest client to New York to meet all of my bond trading partners. It was a huge deal and I wanted to look professional.
So, naturally, I searched high and low for the perfect outfit and waxed the hell out of my upper lip.
Aaaaand, it turns out that while my outfit kicked butt, the lip wax...not so much.
I ended up with inflamed hair follicles which meant that I sported a screaming-red, pimpled mustache on the trading floor. Take that, Wall Street!
Sadly, there are no photos.
And here’s the frustrating part.
I KNEW this about myself; I tried waxing my legs once and had the same problem. So why did I throw that experience out the window and think this time would be any different?
It was the “If I Just” syndrome in full effect. In my case, it was probably “If I just get rid of this pesky barely-there hair, I’ll really impress my client, the traders, my colleagues...EVERYONE! Everyone will love me and I’ll get promoted!”
Or something like that. And it doesn’t just happen to newbies on Wall Street.
It happens A LOT to us actors and it may sound like, “If I just colored my hair, “If I just booked this one job, or “If I just had better reps...it would change everything.”
It’s okay to vent of course. But blaming your situation on external factors is often the “If I Just” syndrome in disguise.
Because then, what you’re calling “venting” is actually one part passing the buck, two shots of procrastination, a pinch of desperation and a whole lot of not taking accountability for you who are and your own actions (or inaction).
So if you are looking for representation and the “If I Just” syndrome sounds familiar to you, then it’s a good thing you’re reading this.
For many actors, having the “right” agent or manager feels like a necessity. And so we give them the power. They are the reason we succeed or fail. And if we’re not booking, guess who we blame?
And sure, there are some crappy reps out there a la this quote from an actor I know, “... I called and emailed my agent about a possible opportunity, but, as usual, I never heard back. It’s so frustrating and emotionally draining.”
But then, here comes the reality check: If the relationship is so discouraging, then get out!
You wouldn’t stay in a romantic relationship that was frustrating and emotionally draining, right? So why would you stay with a rep you don’t trust and who crushes your spirit?
It’s time to take back the control.
It’s imperative that treat your relationship with your reps like a 50/50 partnership because that’s what it is!
But before you go through the rep search process, there’s some self-discovery that MUST happen first; You need to figure out who you are at your core, what you want and what you won’t stand for.
I hate to admit it, but I learned this the hard way.
About a year ago, I began my search for LA representation. I was so excited to get a response back from a manager that I jumped on the first one who emailed me. My sights were full of rainbows and unicorns, but I ended up with crickets and one barely there audition.
The fact that I’d made a mistake hit home when I reached out to the manager with very normal questions about things like my castability, whether I needed new headshots, and his communication preferences.
And I never heard back.
Oh, the irony.
So I dropped him, and I’m gearing up to start the rep search process again. But this time, I’ve done my homework.
I haven’t just researched the agents and managers I’d love to work with. I’ve also gone through a self- discovery process so that I know exactly how to position myself, what I need out of any relationship, and what kind of rep I’m looking (and not looking!) for.
It has been a pretty empowering process and I want that for you, too. So, I’ve created a double-good freebie for you because it’s two awesome (and free!) downloads in one. Woohoo!
The first download is the Magnetic Actor Method Action Guide which will walk you through 5-steps for identifying who you are at your core so you can banish audition room fear and get into your character’s skin in a totally new way. Even the creepy ones...
The second is a Rep Reality Check(list). It’ll help you distill what you learned in the Action Guide (the why you’re awesome part) to map out what you need and want in a rep and what you won’t stand for. Boom!
This career is hard enough as it is, so you owe it to yourself to be choosy. Knowing what you won’t stand for is just as important as knowing what you want.
And just like you should do a test on a small area before you wax your face for the first time, do a test run with your rep, too.
This blog was originally published by working actor Ajarae Coleman of Acting Resource Guru. Acting Resource Guru is a one-stop-shop where actors can get reviews on workshop studios,
acting schools, agents, managers. Plus weekly acting tips too!