4 Tips to Working Well with Castmates
Building your acting career can often seem like a solitary pursuit. You are responsible for your own skills. Even with a parent’s help, or manager’s, or agent’s, it is an actor’s individual capabilities that drive their careers. But when you land some roles and head to a real set for the first time, the chances are that this will change. Some auditions even take place with other actors, so it’s critical for actors to learn to work with others in a constructive way.
But collaboration in show business can often inspire feelings of jealousy and competition. Both of these feelings can sabotage not only your happiness, but in some cases, your career prospects. To make sure this doesn’t happen, here are four important lessons to understand when you have to work with castmates on a set.
Comparison is the thief of joy. It is only natural, when working with another person, to think of how your performance compares to theirs and vice versa. But this mindset will only hurt you in the long run. Your focus should be on yourself and how you can improve your skills and further your career. If you spend all your time on set thinking about how your castmates are doing and how your performance lacks in comparison, you won’t learn anything, and you certainly won’t enjoy the experience.
Don’t give in to jealousy. This secret, as with the previous point, is all about managing your attitude and expectations. That is the key to a positive on-set experience. Harboring resentment for your castmates because you wish you had their skills, or their role, or any aspect of their experience, is not helpful and certainly not valuable for your career. Not only will jealousy cause you to learn less, but it can create rifts in a professional environment that can truly hurt your career. Jealousy reflects poorly on you in the eyes of other on-set professionals, and you might get passed up for future work because of it.
Keep it positive and kind. You should always bring a positive and friendly attitude to any set, audition, class, and so on. There is no reason to ever be rude or unkind in your career – and making friends can have a huge impact on your future. Castmates are not competition; they must work together to create a stellar production. This isn’t to say that every castmate will become your best friend, but you should always encourage an amiable relationship to make your days on-set easier and happier. Being a pleasure to work with has no downside.
Know that both you and your castmates are here to learn and grow in your careers. No matter what your role, age, or experience levels are, every cast member has been hired because they are skilled and have potential. And none would have taken the job if they didn’t want to be there to work and grow. Remember this as you head to your next job: You are all present for the same reasons. Respect that, and do the best work you can.
Your priority should always be to grow as a performer, but acting is never a one-person job. You can encourage growth in others by having a kind, positive attitude free of jealousy and conceit while on set.