Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
In the acting life, there is also a falling shadow, and it comes between the gig and the screening. Between the filming and the airing… Theater is different, of course, but for now let’s stick to the world of screens. After you walk off set for the last day, there’s a good chance you won’t see your work for months, if not even years, or if ever.
As the performer, you feel the high of the role just completed, and expect that everybody should know what amazing work you’ve just done. They won’t. You may have been diligent in posting and tweeting about your work (always careful to clear these matters with production, of course), but nobody can possibly know if you’re just beating your chest or whether you did, in fact, do something special.
Assuming you are genuinely pleased with what you just did, there is a natural letdown. Your mind irrationally expects offers to come pouring in commensurate with your new standing. You can’t believe you’re still getting auditions now clearly beneath you.
This is one of those times when you have to balance ego and reality very, very carefully. You still need to keep busy, of course, but you don’t want to follow up something with lesser work. The quickest course of sanity and career well-being is to put the ego aside. Be careful what you do, of course, but don’t start acting like you just won an Oscar and can’t possibly accept anything less than a co-starring role with Meryl Streep.
It’s also a time to practice patience. That will serve you well in all aspects of life, so dig in and watch the wheels go ‘round and ‘round for a while if you have to. The shadow only falls if you’re staring at the ground.
Edoardo Ballerini is an actor and a writer. He has appeared in over forty films and television series, including Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos and the indie hit Dinner Rush. He was last seen on Theater Row in New York in “Honey Brown Eyes.” You can reach Edoardo on Facebook or Twitter.