Door keepers are the actor’s natural enemies.

Do you believe that? Do you believe that casting directors, agents, executives, managers, production assistants and office personnel are often standing in your way? That your career would be far different if there weren’t doorkeepers?

If you do believe that, I’ve got some bad news for you. You are making a crucial error in your plan to be a professional actor. This belief can set you back years in your career. Indeed, this common belief is often one of the culprits causing a lack of forward progress in many actors’ careers. This can lead to frustration.

Those people, whom so many actors darkly refer to as “doorkeepers” — would be more accurately called — “career assistants.”

In fact, almost nothing helps a career in Hollywood (or on Broadway) more than good “word of mouth” (inside the business). That kind of talk usually happens between casting directors, agents, managers and executives – even production assistants talking to assistant directors. And don’t kid yourself, receptionists have influence – because they’re in the office every day. Even a runner can pass along your picture. I have seen it happen more than once.

You know this is true. If a casting director likes you and talks you “up” to a director, or a producer – or even to another casting director, guess what? You take another step up the ladder. Even if it doesn’t result in an immediate booking, you will get your chance — if these people are talking about you, in glowing terms.  Unknown actors do it every day.  Harrison Ford got his big break because of his personal relationship with Fred Roos — a casting director who bothered George Lucas with his constant pitch for “the carpenter.”

Do not ignore this reality. As Buddha put it so clearly, “The obstacle is the path.”

Where did this “door-keepers” mentality come from? Simple. Actors frequently associate the rejection they have to endure (and it happens to every actor) with casting directors, agents, executives, etc.  This sort of emotional association makes it easy to see THEM as the problem. Thus, name calling. “Doorkeepers.”

What’s wrong with this point of view? It just doesn’t happen to be the reality.

Your career problems are more likely to be a result of, well — you.

My advice? Stop portraying other people, with other jobs (in YOUR business) in a negative way. Especially to yourself.

If you begin to believe this common canard, (that their job description is “doorkeeper,”) you will never develop any real relationships with those people in the business – who ARE working. Starting at the receptionist’s desk.

In reality, if you make up your mind that the doorkeepers are the problem, you will probably remain in relationships with other wannabes who believe the same thing you do. That may result in any number of bad decisions.  For instance, thinking that you can buy a casting director’s friendship at a workshop or by giving expensive gifts. Or putting your life savings into an Equity-waiver production of Two Gentlemen of Verona. Or just quitting because the frustration is getting life threatening.

Stop. Admit to yourself that your REAL GOAL is to work with Steven Spielberg – or Stephen Sondheim. Admit that what you really want to do is MOVE UP. It is likely that your immediate goal is “acting for money.” So I think it’s reasonable to assume that you should be listening carefully to the people who can help you achieve that goal. The people whose job it is to “screen” talent.

They can be your allies or your enemies – it’s really up to you.

Your attitude towards them will probably determine your results.

The real first step toward your goal is to have a good relationship with these people – who WILL be your co-workers – when (if) you start working. How do you do that?

Come on, you know. Smile. Listen. Say “thank you.” Stay well groomed, bathed and ready to work. Be prepared. Be nice. Remain professional at all times. Don’t screw up any one else’s day with your problems. Don’t beg. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be late. Treat everybody as you would like to be treated.

Work at these things.

Want better results? Learn some new strategies.

Remember, the reality is simple: show business (more particularly acting) is not really “competitive.” It just has more workers than jobs. Because of this reality, it is only the “above average actor” who does well.  But, what is “above average?”  Actors who have gotten past “the doorkeepers” and are getting paid for acting can reasonably be called “above average.”

What’s your goal?

If your goal is to make money as an actor, you had better drop the attitude and be willing to become the sort of actor the “doorkeepers” like and respect.  This is a reality: SOMEONE has to think that paying you to act would be a good idea.  You won’t accomplish that very often if you can’t (or won’t) see and treat your co-workers as individuals. Don’t make the mistake of treating them like a “class” of people in our business – erroneously called “doorkeepers.”

You can spend your time blaming other people for your results – or you can observe reality, adjust your thinking (belief), work on your working relationship skills – and move up.

It’s your call.

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