|John Irvin on actor having thick skin|
There are certain traits an actor has to possess to be successful.
- A true, deep-seated love of acting is one of them.
- Secondly, to follow dedicated and proactive efforts, followed by the knowledge of the fact that only you can make your career happen—all this wrapped up with a teeth-gritting determination are bare minimum essentials for success.
However, one trait that we haven’t talked about enough is the necessity of possessing “a thick skin”.It is absolutely crucial to have thick skin—to an extent that one’s success in show business truly depends on this. I cannot tell you how many times I have encountered or worked with actors and thought, “Wow, this guy, so talented, but just doesn't have the stomach for this business.”
- Yes, get into your head once for all-this is a tough business not an easy pleasure game!!
These are often actors who need more hand-holding and cajoling who worry more about what people think, who spend hours on why they were not selected or brood about friends who they think never helped them.
I know some highly sensitive (thin-skinned) people have somehow managed to forge lasting careers in Bollywood for themselves, but in today’s highly competitive environment where thousands of aspiring actors are struggling against each other, such thin skinned people are in minority.
Remember, When you “make it as a known in the market actor or as a star," you open yourself up to even greater scrutiny". I have seen actors spoiling their career because of careless statements like why they hate XY or Z or behaving weird on social events or having an absurd and angry argument on a set.
- The point is that if you don’t have a thick skin, and when you get to some level of success, and you react or brood or leave in the middle of a shot, on smallest comment on your performance, things you hear about you from third sources, failures, rejections, then for sure you will NOT be going any further from this “some level of success”
- Having thick skin truly does revolve around your ability to say “screw you” or “go to hell” in your mind about what others think—even if you look like an asshole or a joker...even if your closest and dearest friends say, “Listen, when you did that thing, you really looked a total mismatch and like an idiot.”
- You need to be able to commit to yourself that whatever you’ve done (or are going to do) is best of your abilities and appropriate and let everyone else masturbate and enjoy their act judging you, calling you an uncultured, misfit, fool, calling you a talentless hack, calling you desperate, or seeking attention, or mentally defective.
One way to help develop thick skin is to regularly do things that take you out of your comfort zone.For example
- Start dancing freely alone and then in front of your friends. Let them comment on your mess up.
- Do five minutes of stand-up comedy like Kapil Sharma, in spite of audience maintain a poker face.
- Make friends while on Mumbai locals. Don’t bother about getting a cold response.
- Read joke books and share joke with friends and watch nobody laughing.
- Do street plays and see people laughing at your miserable performance.
The best part about this exercise: the worse or shittier your performance in doing the above activities, faster you grow a thick skin. Why? Because you’ll probably see the looks of pain, sarcasm, horror, disgust, or pity that flit across peoples’ faces. And all those looks will be the result of something you did.
At the end of the day, you’ll realize that the worst responses to whatever you’ve done are when people don’t respond at all—when you’re ignored or dismissed or treated like you don’t exist. And those might be the moments when you develop the thickest skin.
Based on source
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Acting coach, Actor, Short Film Maker, Film Story Writer, Blogger