Keep the Drama on the Stage: How to Get Along with Your Fellow Actors

dallas_traversWritten by Dallas Travers, CEC

What do you do if your longtime actor friend gets her big break before you do? You’re happy for her, of course, but it might bring up major feelings of “compare and despair” for you at the same time.

Obviously, it’s not always easy being friends or roommates or lovers with another actor. There’s some ego involved. Sure. You’re only human. And this industry has an undercurrent of competition flowing through it.

So how can you turn those debilitating feelings into ones that help you progress both in your relationships and in your career? I’ve got 3 suggestions for you.

1. Set Boundaries

I heard a story once about the famous acting couple, Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, and how they survived living in a tiny New York apartment. Their secret was hats. They each had a hat they would wear when they needed some space or time alone.

The other person knew exactly what that hat meant and, if they saw their partner wearing it, they would not bother them until the hat was off. It was their own little secret language to get things done or just take a break from each other because their physical space didn’t allow for escape to another room. Genius.

Jessica herself once said, “It’s hard sometimes…but we always manage to give ourselves space. We don’t live in each others pockets. We don’t take the play home with us. We do make suggestions to each other, and if we don’t agree we respect each other’s views.”

So, what are your boundaries? Do you want avoid talking shop when you’re out socially? Or maybe you want to set rules around complaining. Perhaps for you, boundaries look like setting office hours for your acting so your life feels more balanced.

Whatever they are, get clear about your boundaries for yourself and then share those expectations with the other actors in your life. And while you’re at it, remember to treat your friend with the same respect you do in a strictly professional relationship. They will thank you.

2. Turn Your Creativity into Creation

If you really want to get along with your fellow actors, staying grounded and focused on your own journey is key. But let’s be real… jealousy and a little competitiveness are often a natural side effect of the business.

Use the feelings of jealousy or envy you have as fuel to create more. Work on your one woman show, write a blog post, pick up the phone and ask for a meeting with your ideal agent. Rather than wallow and wish things were different, take action. You don’t need to wait to feel better to do this, just take action and your feelings will shift.

Action is the best cure for jealousy, confusion or all around stuckness.

3. Celebrate each others successes

One tactic for harmony between actors is to give each other kudos whenever possible. It may be hard to do, however, especially when your peers are working and you’re not. But, sometimes, taking the focus off yourself can actually help free you up for more opportunities to come in.

Try taking the high road when you need to and express your joy for your friend’s success, even if you currently feel less than successful. This support will greatly strengthen your relationship with a fellow actor. You could actually promote their gigs. Maybe interview them on your blog or post your pride on Facebook. And, if you need to, ask your actors friends to do the same for you.

In the same way that you need to make a plan for your career success, you can plan to navigate how you will handle your fellow actors’ successes. Set clear boundaries, get creative, and celebrate each other’s successes for harmony on and off the stage. Actor relationships can have happy endings, you just need to be an active participant in the plot.


The leading expert on business strategy for actors, Dallas Travers teaches the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her groundbreaking book,
The Tao of Show Business, garnered five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival and the London Festival and a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Award. Through her workshops, Dallas helps thousands of actors increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation and book roles in film, television, and on Broadway. She is a certified life coach and entrepreneur with over a decade of experience implementing marketing and mindset strategies that work. 

For more information about working with Dallas, visit http://www.dallastravers.com.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/sir-ben-kingsley-talks-about-the.jpg
Sir Ben Kingsley Talks about the Unique Way He Voiced His Character in the Animated Film, ‘The Boxtrolls’ (video)
I could listen to Sir Ben Kingsley talk about acting and.. well, I could listen to him talk about anything. He’s starring in the new Laika stop-motion animated film, The Boxtrolls, and he and some of the cast (along with the director) joined in on a Comic-Con panel about the film. The Boxtrolls is about [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/bill-hader.jpg
Bill Hader: “I kind of fell into acting” (video)
Bill Hader, starring in the soon to be released The Skeleton Twins, talks about the film and how he fell into acting and then got “crazy lucky” in this quick video from USA Today.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/director-john-carney-narrates-a.jpg
Director John Carney Narrates a Scene from ‘Begin Again’ Starring Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo
Director John Carney (Once) narrates a scene from his new film, Begin Again. Starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, the scene shows the first time the two characters meet. I haven’t seen it yet but I’ve heard it’s great.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/holler-if-you-hear-me-gma.jpg
Watch the Cast of Broadway’s ‘Holler If You Hear Me’ Perform ‘California Love’ on GMA
The cast of Broadway’s newest musical, Holler If You Hear Me with music from Tupac Shakur, performed on Good Morning America this morning. Singing ‘California Love’, the cast (including the teriffic Christopher Jackson – read our interview here), show why they’re the most energetic and inspiring group of actors on Broadway. Holler If Ya Hear [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/behind-the-scenes-of-dawn-of-the.jpg
Behind the Scenes of ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ with Performance Capture Actor Terry Notary
Actor Terry Notary is 1 of 5 actors playing the apes in the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. “When you see armies of apes,” he says, that’s “five of us.” Check out the video where you can watch his performance capture work.