Don’t celebrate until the check’s in your hand and the spot’s runnin’!
I don’t know if you’ve seen Mad Men, but in an episode in Season 3 they illustrate this point brilliantly with the Patio commercial story-line. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AgTnQok3RU
I cannot tell you the amount of jobs I have been hired or on-hold for that have fallen through. Just last week I was posing for the cover of The Wall Street Journal weekend edition and after an hour and a half of work the editors called the photographer and pulled the plug on the story. The photographer hung up the phone and literally came over to the set, unplugged the lights and with a shrug said we could go; I have been booked for a feature film and after weeks of script rewrites and contract negotiations it fell through; I’ve been in a voiceover booth after an hour of recording and had the ENTIRE script re-written, re-recorded and then thrown away because the job was suddenly no longer relevant to the client. If you’ve seen the special features to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind then you will know that Ellen Pompeo was cast as Jim Carrey’s girlfriend. It was a big role and they shot the whole thing. But, when Michel Gondry got into the editing room he realized that the girlfriend story-line was holding up the action of the rest of the film, so decided to cut it. She’s not even credited. I’m sure Ellen Pompeao was gutted! But, as we all know now, the next year she went on to be the lead in Gray’s Anatomy. So it wasn’t too big a loss.
There are absolutely no guarantees in this industry. You can think you have it all and are finally on a roll only to end up right back at square one with nothing to show for yourself, your time, or your talent. Most of the time, you will at least get paid for the work you do. But sometimes even that isn’t guaranteed. Thing is to be aware that there are a ridiculous amount of variables when it comes to producing a print ad, a commercial, a film, a play, etc. They can fall through for any number of reasons. It’s not necessarily a reflection on you or your work.
My good friend and acting coach John Osbourne Hughes once told me that what’s for you won’t go by you. I cannot even explain how much that phrase has helped when it comes to my life in this field. Best thing to do to stay sane (!!) is to show up, do the best job you can and then forget it ever happened. And that applies for auditioning and call-backs too.