Why The Rut You Are In Isn’t As Bad As You Think!

What to do if you are IN A RUT imgreslike the Act Now client  who wrote me this letter…



Hello there, love!

Was hoping I could get your advice on something. I trust and respect your opinion very much, so you’re the first person I thought of.

So, I’m in one of those ruts, Dufflyn. Those “God I suck, what am I doing, why isn’t anything happening” type of ruts.

My commercial agent isn’t sending me out, which is frustrating because the three times they’ve send me out went AVAIL, CALLBACK, 2X CALLBACK so obviously I know what I’m doing. I have brand new (awesome) headshots and lots of comm/improv training, so what gives? And the “Oh your agent should be getting you out all the time, you have a great look, you’re very marketable” comments I get all the time just exacerbate the situation.

On the theatrical side, I could just cry. I see breakdowns for a ton of stuff that are a perfect fit, but no theatrical representation to get me in the door. It’s like these opportunities are out there but I have no way to grab ahold of them. Does that make sense?

I’m just getting frustrated and down on myself and I don’t know what to do.

I know your job description doesn’t include “counselor” so appreciate you reading this far, Dufflyn. Any insight you have would be appreciated. I’ll keep my head down and keep working, keep workshopping, but please let me know if there is anything further I can be doing. Thanks again. xo



Hello lovely,

I often refer to myself as a “guidance counselor for actors.”

This is perfectly within the realm of my job, and I am happy to share my experience, strength, and hope with you.

First, this industry is not what it once was. It is both more competitive and more accessible.

Largely, this is a result of the internet, cable TV, web series, youtube, netflix, etc. It has created a situation where networks must really refine marketing and compete for audiences. A lot of investment is riding on every episode. And as a result the expectations placed on actors are extraordinary. There is also more opportunity than ever before for actors who are willing to create their own material and be more entrepreneurial. But again, we are expected now to be writers, marketing directors, managers, producers, development executives, and mail room lackeys all while maintaining our acting chops and somehow paying our bills until we book.

No easy task indeed.

Secondly. It’s tough to know what producers/casting directors are really looking for when you read a breakdown.

The truth is that many times THEY don’t know what they’re looking for: except that they are ALWAYS looking for someone to come in and show them! (By bringing a part to life). So, though a part MAY appear to be right for you, keep in mind that many things could also happen: the producer decides to cast his girlfriend, they have an offer out, what they meant by “quirky” is not what you think of as “quirky” (or sexy or upscale or whatever), the part gets written out of the script, and so on.

And third, yes, you need a good agent. It’s not the whole picture, but it’s part of the puzzle.

Do showcases, go to networking events, ask friends for referrals, create GREAT relationships with casting directors who might actually give you a RECOMMENDATION to an agent, and yeah, keep meeting CDs and book more parts on your own so that you have some credits. All agents want to see credits. It’s a Catch 22, but that is where workshops come in. Once you get a few credits, you’re much more appealing to an agent because you are a proven commodity.

Finally, this business is no guarantee.

You can be fantastically talented and never make a living. Look at actors like Elizabeth Shue, who has worked on and off for years, but with YEARS between parts. It’s like that for EVERYONE. It’s not personal so don’t take it personally. Just know this is the business you’re in and if you are not comfortable with instability, maybe it’s not for you.


It’s not as bad as you think, because it’s within your power to do something about it. IF YOU CHOOSE TO! 


What I know is this: if you do not give up, and you keep improving your craft and you stay on top of the business side of your business, the parts that are for you will come to you. To some extent it is simple: YOU DO THE WORK AND LEAVE THE RESULTS UP TO THE UNIVERSE.


Do your best not to compare yourself to where your friends are, but to where YOU were a year ago. You are not competing with anyone but YOURSELF!

Comparison is a losing battle.

We always want more. You get that first co-star, you want a guest-star, you get a series regular, you want a film, you get a film, you want an Oscar, you get an Oscar, you want TWO? Don’t believe me? Ask Meryl Streep!

FINALLY, Remember that if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.


EXERCISE: Can you try something new? Make a list of five things you can try. Commit to trying at least one of these things for 30 days. Check in with yourself after 30 days to see how your results look.


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Comment (1)

  1. You are truly amazing Dufflyn, thank you!!

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