Getting Over a Booking Slump
It’s Been a While Since You’ve Booked…Now What?
This industry we love so much is an inevitable mix of high highs and low lows. All it takes is one booking to change your whole week, month, maybe even year. But what do you do if you haven’t booked in a while, have lost some traction in your career, and can’t seem to get yourself out of that booking rut?Here are a few things to keep yourself going when that elusive next booking seems perpetually just out of reach.
Every successful person has had to ride both ends of the wave – success and glory, gained from accomplishing whatever task they set out to accomplish, followed by withdrawal or failure as they seek to follow that achievement with another. The truth is that booking slumps happen to every actor.
The successful ones understand that slumps are a part of the game. They don’t fall into a dramatic story. Instead, they take this time to reevaluate their goals and methods, and inevitably decide to keep putting in the work.
Think about what you want for your career and your life. .What’s changed over time? Does this career path still make you happy? Is it still worth the work and occasional emotional anguish? If so, congrats. You’ve reconfirmed your dedication to the work. Keep going.
For those of us still in it, here are steps we can take to move us through this often-frustrating period.
Reconnect with your team
This could be your reps, PR team, career coach, or even acting coach. Get their thoughts and feedback on what’s working and what’s not. Do you need to update your materials? Explore a new class? These are all things within your control.
Your team has skin in the game. You booking makes everyone look good. Take this time to get another opinion on your career while reconnecting with the people who work with you and for you.
Surround yourself with people who support you emotionally
Hopefully, these are relationships you nurture regularly – not just in your career or emotional low points. Don’t skimp on showing your friends and loved ones how much their support means to you and make sure to return that support! It’ll come in handy when you need it.
Hands down, the best way to get the right kind of support is to hire a coach; someone who can provide an expert, objective opinion to point out your blind spots and highlight your goals. Coaches are the perfect GPS system to help you navigate what to do to get out of your booking slump and back on track.
If you don’t have a coach and want a great one, click here.
Learn from successful people
Google actors of the same ‘type’ as you who are working, who have booked the roles you’ve gone out for, maybe even consistently. Where are they training? Who do they coach with? Who do they surround themselves with? What events do they attend? Who took their headshots?
Put some time and energy into researching (via Google, IMDb, social media) what people slightly further along than you in their careers consistently do to see if there is anything worth emulating. You might pick up some useful tips!
Shake things up.
Try a new class.
The quickest way out of a slump is to change things up. Maybe it’s time to try a new class or an improv class. This will get you out of your training comfort zone and bring new energy into your auditions. Tip: Some acting teachers also work in casting.
Not only is it good for the soul and good karma points, but it’s a great way to meet industry people in a fun environment where you’re there to give to a common cause.
If there’s one thing many successful people have in common, it’s giving back. Look for upcoming industry charity events and reach out to see how you can help. It’s free labor for them and free admission to a probably otherwise pricey event for you. Google industry events or follow producers/directors/writers/casting professionals on social media to learn about upcoming events.
Reach out to congratulate or thank your contacts
– Part of our work as actors is just to remind people that we’re here and we’re available to work! Maintain regular contact with people who have the power to bring you in for roles. Sometimes breaking your booking slump can be as easy as getting in more rooms.
– Contacts can be anyone you’ve actually had contact with, or just someone you aspire to connect with.
– Don’t have their contact info? Try researching on IMDbPro, reaching out through contact forms on their website, or, perhaps easiest of all tag them on social media.
– No one ever gets sick of being congratulated for an exciting accomplishment. Mark your calendar for when award nominations come out. Congratulate casting/producers/showrunners/other actors for nominations, wins, anniversaries, show renewals, pilot pickups.
– An easy way is to view Instagram stories, where people tend to announce exciting wins and provide timely updates.
– For class, for an insightful blog/vlog, for this movie/show you created that impacted my life or helped me see issues in a new light, for making me laugh when my life sucks, etc. No one gets tired of being thanked. Just make it genuine. And maybe even make them laugh.
Refrain from negativity and excuses
Sure, dark thoughts come up in dark times. Acknowledge them, know that they don’t define you, and as soon as you feel ready, release them.
Excuses tend to come up when you feel stuck and helpless. They free you from a sense of responsibility to take charge of our careers. After all, if you can’t help or change your circumstances, why take any action at all?
That’s a quick way to turn this temporary slump into a permanent one. Excuses, fear, and lack of self-trust are the enemies of career traction. Think, “What are the steps I can take today, even if I may not see immediate returns?” and move forward from there.
You’ve chosen a very unpredictable journey. But the good and bad news is that it’s cyclical. The high points don’t last forever , and neither do the lows. Keep your friends close, keep building your contacts, acknowledge that the wins are absolutely worth the challenges, and use that knowledge to just keep going.
You got this!