By Nicholas Feitel
First of all, the title is a misnomer. Disappointment is a feeling; feel all your feelings. Squashing them down just lets them rule you in my experience.
But that said, this is a story of getting disappointed and then not being bitter. Or taking action on that disappointment or something like that.
I was (and mostly still am) a struggling comedian/actor washed out of film school and struggling to figure out what to do with his life. In my confusion out of film school, where I had acted in my own and other peoples' movies, I made a spec commercial with some friends that I wrote and starred in for a company I admired, thinking maybe people would hire me to make commercials.
The insane commercial was for an iPhone case company called OtterBox, where I try to destroy my phone after getting rejected from several job offers only to be glad when my phone still works (due to the case's durability) and I get a call for an interview. It didn't get me any gigs as a director but weirdly got me my first gig freelancing with a big agency as a commercial actor.
I was so nervous and unready. I got appointments and had a lot of fun being weird in audition rooms which the casting directors enjoyed and I got a lot of callbacks but didn't book. Later, I would find out those casting directors loved me and would think of me throughout my career. At the time, not knowing better, I assumed all casting directors hated me if I didn't book the commercial.
My agent stopped answering my insecure emails. I stopped getting sent out.
I took a well known class on commercial auditioning because I still believed I was good at it and hoped to get an agent out of it. The people running the class seemed to love me but the showcase came and none of the agents seemed to like me.
I was despondent but one of the teachers of the class came up to me after and told me how much she liked me. I was bitter and sad but she sounded honest and kind so I resolved to always be nice to her since she had made me feel good when I felt bad and to stay in touch around holidays.
Out of film school, a friend of mine was a casting assistant and needed a replacement a day she was sick. I filled in for her and talked to the casting director in a friendly way. When she found out I was an actor, she offered to have me meet a manager who I started freelancing with.
I started getting auditions, maybe 8-12 times a year for commercials. I didn't realize it at the time but the places I would get called in would be the place that remembered me from when I had an agent and the woman in class who told me she liked me.
I also started working on a small alternative public access TV show. The show was popular on the underground scene but I sat behind a plant and assumed no one knew who I was.
I didn't book a lot but just let it slide. My job was just to show up and be myself and be silly if it was called for. I just went on the auditions and did my thing.
Two years later, I get called in for an audition I think I'm wrong for at one of the places that likes me, everyone else auditioning is 10 years younger than me but I go in and do my thing, that's my job. I find out late the day of I have a callback, I citi bike furiously and show up sweaty as hell! I almost get turned away at the door.
I go in the room, do my thing and leave.
I get a call that Friday from the teacher who told me she liked me two years earlier that I booked it! She told me it was a big national campaign. I hadn't even looked because I assumed like all commercials, that I wouldn't get it and it was just my job to show up.
My manager calls me in to sign me and introduces me to an agent who says he loves me and signs me for legit as well as commercial! Yesterday I was signed with no one for nothing!
I came on set and met the director for the campaign I booked, a comic hero of mine, and it turned out he knew me from the cult show where I sat behind a plant!
Later that week, Clint Alexander who I'd met on a lark at AGR calls me in for a pilot! My first pilot audition and it's for a series regular role! I assumed even though it seemed like Clint liked me I'd never see him again.
The next week I get called in for another network pilot at Telsey, the first place I ever auditioned and also audition for a major movie! They remembered me this whole time!
The moral of this story is this:
At any time over the past three years I could have gotten depressed or flaked out. I could have been shitty or weird to casting directors who liked me because I didn't know how the world worked. I could have not shown up to the auditions in my mind I'd never get and barely went on. I could have been bitter or disappointed. But I showed up. I stuck around. I even still had negative thoughts but didn't let them stop me from showing up and just trying.
Now remembering how I've succeeded so far, I'm trying to meet even more casting directors who may become my champions some day. I try to be kind to others. I make sure I'm still making content even if I think it's dumb or inconsequential because you never know who will like it.
So that's my advice: don't get disappointed. Or don't let those feelings stop you from showing up and not being a douchebag.
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