Acting : Negative Nellies by Mary Dallas

Mary Dallas

Negative Nellies

Hello, my name is Mary Dallas & I'm an aspiring actor. My question is, how do you deal with the negative Nellies? Some of my family members are saying things like, "You're wasting your time." & "Nobody ever makes it." At first I tried not to let it bother me but, now, it's starting to get under my skin. I've done 3 short films & a major rap music video so far, & they think it's "No big deal" I've also been on about 20 auditions, I have an agent AND I'm taking acting lessons. Should I just stop sharing my progress (or lack there of) with them? Have any of you ever faced this dilemma?

Robert David Kelso

I think you will find everyone has faced obstacles like this regularly throughout their careers. The only thing you can control is how much it affects you. One of the only things you can guarantee in acting is you are going to hear the word no. It isn't a negative it is the nature of the beast. Don't let people around you dissuade you. I am sure in time when they realize how serious you are and how good you are they will change their mind.

David Wayne Smart

Great feedback Robert. Mary, you have already started the healing process by recognizing that you are being affected by what they are saying and better yet, you are voicing it to others. This is a great site for doing just that, remember you are not alone in you're struggles, that their are others who are going through the same things you are. I'm actually going through the same thing, people ask me what I'm doing for work. I tell them I'm a writer, I write scripts. Their response " No, really what do you for work?" I laugh, because I know how hard I work to put a script together and I realize there are going to be people who don't understand what I do, and they may never understand. That's okay, I know what I do and I love it, it makes me happy.:) What about those people that always come back and say " you should " For those I expanded on the Quote " Should've, could've, would've " I say to them Should've, could've, would've-didn't, so @#$% off! then laugh. Do what you want and enjoy the happiness it brings you.

Mary Dallas

Thank you so much Robert & David! I will continue to live my dream, no matter what. I've never been this passionate about anything. Your words of wisdom & encouragement, made this a very happy Easter for me! It always helps knowing you're not alone! Robert, I am finally getting used to rejection....& you're right, it's part the process. I love acting. It gave me wings! David, those are the same people that will say, "I new you could it!" LOL Thank you again, guys! I wish you both luck & success in your careers! =)

Richard Gustason

I am facing that right now myself. I just keep doing my thing because I KNOW there are those out there that love seeing me go after my dreams. THOSE are the ones who I keep close to my heart. And use that part about it getting under your skin as motivation to keep going. Because honestly the only way to prove someone like that wrong is to just succeed. :-) You are going to be fine. Keep it up. Just keep it up.

Aaron McKenzie

Being an Actor is YOUR Dream , Not Your Families Even thou they may contribute to Some of it . But at the end of the day Everybody is going to have something negative to say about what you do in life its just what you chose to do or how you take in the negative Comments ... My Word of advice to you is to Keep going with your career and focus on you .. Use the Negative Comments as Fuel to your Success . Goodluck !

George Albert Munoz

I second what Aaron said. You almost have to develop a thick skin in this business. If acting is what you want to do then do it. If you start letting the negative stuff people say get to you, youre going to start believing it. Keep going as Aaron said. Much luck to you!

Maitely Weismann

Yes, use it to fuel the fire! This is also a great opportunity to build a habit of finding your strength in the deepest reason why you pursue this career. Sounds like the negative nellies are focusing on material needs, and maybe your priorities are a little different from theirs. Know your why, find positive supporters & mentors, keep plugging away at your passion and you'll eventually prove all the rest of them wrong. :-)

A AA

ooh I LOVE this question! I am going through some of it myself, and it's funny how your friends and family respond to your "short films" and "auditions" that you told them about. The fact is, they are truly ignorant, and I don't mean it in a bad way, but they are the popcorn munching public, who's only measure of success they know in this industry is major network television or big Theatrical releases. I get excited about EVERYTHING and ANYTHING I do, because at the end of the day, I'm ACTING, and because I am doing what I want to do, I am loving every minute of it! I try now, not to tell my family or friends about my progress, because it only confuses them and makes them question the steps I am taking. Try to surround yourself with POSITIVE people, people who are goal oriented, who have a little bit of unrealistic pursuits, and who have the fire within them. Your fellow classmates and other actor friends are also some people who you can relate to, discuss your progress with and get valuable feedback. Don't get discouraged, chin up and be strong! Live life for YOU :)

Mary Dallas

You guys are so awesome!! When my brother said, "You're wasting your time!" My first though was, "Brother, I'm gonna make you eat those words!" Unfortunately, I just stood there like a hurt child & said nothing....I will succeed because, I'm putting my heart & soul into my performances and, eventually, it will pay off. They don't get me. In my eyes, success equals independence. To be able to support myself while doing what I LOVE? That's success. Thank you all for your kind words! It means the world to me!! XOXO

Peggy Fields Richardson!

Hello, Mary Dallas! The best thing I've found to deal with "Negative Nellies" (or Neds) is to cut them off at the pass by expressing your excitement with your progress, the pride you take in the work you do, and how hard you're studying to portray the very best of the characters for which you are cast. I agree with Annika in surrounding yourself with positive people, and most especially others in the industry. I am 2 weeks short of being 59 years old and I'm a Southern Chubbette who has lived nowhere except Tennessee. Imagine the reaction of my extended family when I announced to them that my husband and I are moving to LA for ME to pursue my life-long dream of acting.... at long last. Do I mind that they think I'm nuts? Nope. Not a whit. Because I DESERVE to live the life I imagine, I DESERVE to have my dream... And so do you, my dear. You go for it! And best to you. Feel free to follow my blog at www.NeverTooOldToChaseADream.com if you'd like. peggy!

Mary Dallas

Hello Peggy! You put a big smile on my face! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it so much!! I think what you're doing is awesome!! It's never too late to follow your dreams! I'll be 50 this year & it doesn't bother me a bit! After all, 50 is the new 40! I wish you all the luck & success that Hollywood has to offer! You will do great things, my friend! Of course I will follow your blog! Again, thank you & break a leg!! =)

Sydney Cuthbert

Step one, don't pay any attention to the negative nellies. A lot of what you're getting is misplaced jealousy. You're following your dream and for some reason that seems to bring out the naysayers in droves. I went through this also. When I was younger, many ages ago the standard comment was: "Get a good job first, and do that as a hobby." You can probably guess how many hobby-actors have had any kind of success. Keep on keeping on and do what ya gotta!

Lolade Leigh-Thompson

Hi Mary, People and yes even loved ones will always have negative things to say no matter what you do? Look at the A-Lister actors they still get a lot of criticisms. You have got to follow your dream and passion. I read an article where Harrison Ford said, he wasn't necessarily the best actor, but he stayed the course and didn't jump off the bus when others did, He followed his dreams. You do just that, at least you have the courage to follow your dreams and that on it's own is living life. I used to be bothered about the NOs' I got at auditions and the nay sayers but now it just fuels me. Keep honing your craft, keep believing, shut out the negativity and that one Yes that will make a difference will happen for you. Acting is not a sprint, it's a marathon. Go Mary Go. Team Mary and fellow creatives out there. Cheers Lolade

Celia Quillian

I think you have to remember that people measure success differently based on their world view, and if you are content with the things you are achieving, then it's no one else's problem.

Robert David Kelso

I read Lolade Leigh-Thompsons reply and found it quite good. I though I would share with you a video I watched at a very low point of my life which was a very big internet hit at one point by a man called Randy Pausch. It is worth a watch and even though he is describing his life it can be likened to what you and most aspiring people want. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo Let me know what you think about it.

Christopher Soucy

Art has always been and will always be one of those easily dismissed essentials. People think that you can't eat it, wear it or take shelter in it and therefore it is pointless and self indulgent. But they are wrong, art nourishes, not only the artist but the audience, it envelops and warms us, and it is the most potent shelter from ignorance and isolation. The actor serves one of the greatest functions in society. Where the normal person hides their emotions, the actor expresses them. Where the normal person keeps their dreams to themselves, the actor acts them out larger than life. Where the normal person surrenders to the thought that there is no wonder or beauty left in the world, the actor sacrifices privacy and anonymity to carry the burden of wonder and beauty right to the normal person's regular life. What you do is extraordinary, whether it is for a million dollars or your own satisfaction. The world needs actors, writers, painters, dancers, and anyone who has ever dared to express themselves where the normal person cannot. We are the spirit of humanity, and while the body may function on concrete and dollar bills, we function on dreams. Do not fear the naysayers and for goodness sake don't listen to them.

Mary Dallas

Wow. I'm overwhelmed by you all. I've always been passionate about everything I chose to do in my life & I just realized, after reading all of your heart felt & inspiring comments....I'm in good company! Actors are beautiful people! Christopher Soucy, you're words touched my heart & my soul, my friend! I can't thank you enough for that! I know now that, no matter what, come rain or naysayers, I will make a difference! If I can touch one life by a performance, I will have succeeded. Thank you all so very much! XOXO

Charles Tentindo

I coach people to get over this and connect to a great power within. Web based, Skype, One on one coaching and acting lessons from a professional acting coach and award winning director. I would love to be your coach! Discounted rate to 32ers: $45 for 30 minutes. www.myactingstudio.com

Brenda Adelman

I have found that when people say things like "You're wasting your time?" or "No one makes it" they are people who haven't fully given themselves over to their dreams and regret it. Often they mean well but they are unconscious and living from a state of not enough and rule playing. It's true you need a thick skin but I also wouldn't share my actions with people who are not supporting me. They are dream stealers. I also believe that we are all one in the big picture so in that way- they are just outward reflections of you. In other words you're unconscious limiting beliefs are projected onto them and that's why you are hearing this from them. I find as I shift into a higher vibration energetically by doing my inner work and connecting to the Truth-that there is so much abundance (an abundance of roles, an abundance of ways to act) then almost magically I no longer have people sharing their fears and worries about the industry with me. Hope that helps.

Lolade Leigh-Thompson

Thanks Robert for sharing this link. I woke up 3 am this morning, tossed and turned but couldn't sleep so I decided to turn on my computer and I saw your post. Very inspirational video, I am even more motivated and determined.

Royce Allen Dudley

Families and close friends are the worst- they either don;t believe in you, or, equally bad, they have unrealistic praise of all you do and seek to do. Either one gets in the way of your goals. You never know how fast you can run ( or learn to run faster and farther ) without a running partner at your side... you need just one or two trusted people who can encourage you and also give you honest constructive feedback along the way. Don't tell the naysayers much. It will keep them from responding as much. All creative pursuits in entertainment are challenging, and the idea that the odds of fame and fortune are stacked against you has truth... BUT... if you don't reach for it you will regret not having tried. Most actors will find that somewhere between here and the dream lie some greatly satisfying experiences , regardless of the size of the project or the audience it may reach. Ignore the naysayers and enjoy the ride. It's about THE RIDE.

Mary Dallas

Brenda, you nailed it. 'Dream stealers' describes them perfectly! Your post helped very much, thank you! Since my original post, I no longer share my progress with them & that seems to bother them. Makes me laugh. When they ask how my career is going, I simply say, "I'm leaving it in God's hands." That shuts them up real fast! LOL ;-)

Heather Pierson

Find a muse - someone who encourages you no matter what.

Richard Gustason

"Leaving it in God's hands" has got the be THE perfect comeback for that question. I will use that more often. Have a fantastic week Mary.

David Chase

I say keep on trying. If you don't, one day you'll be 70 and you'll say, "I wanted to be an actor when I was younger, but...." Nobody has fun talking about those things.

David O'Hara

Don't discuss it with them. If they can dissuade you, then they are correct -- you don't have what it takes to succeed in something as competitive as acting. Why is "AND" all caps? You make it sound as if working to improve isn't a necessity. (NOT a good sign.)

Mary Dallas

Actually David, I put AND in caps because they kept saying that I'm not doing enough so, I was emphasizing how much I'm doing, just in case they happen to be reading....I will continue my acting lessons forever. The learning process never ends. Thanks Richard! You as well!

Daniel Johnson

Hey! Don't remove them from your life - I'm sure many of these people love you and are close to you. You just need to remember that these peoples lives are very different. They had dreams they didn't follow, didn't believe are possible. And they're taking that out on you. Definitely create some distance from them. And don't feel the need to always update them. It ends up creating a need in you for their approval, which will probably never come! Also, try to remind them it's not about 'making it', you're following your passion, creating art. They think the goal is getting rich and winning oscars, but for you it's different I'm sure - it's about doing what you love. Explain to them that this is what drives you :) Good luck!

Mary Dallas

Thank you Alle & Daniel! I actually have to work with them so, there's no escape until I get a good part & can support myself. WHEN I get that great part, I'm probably going to flip them the bird & hightail it out of there! Putting them in my rear view mirror will be sweet! The best revenge is success. I thank you again! All my best, Mary =)

Mary Dallas

Thank you so much, Tina. The negativity from some of my family members is suffocating. I wish I could get into my car & just keep driving! What keeps me going, is that bright light at the end of this tunnel. Your story gave me hope! I will do what it takes to live my dream. I will never give up. I'm so happy for you on your success! People like you are very rare! Thank you again for taking the time to comment. All my best!

Mary Dallas

Alle, not only do I get what you're saying but, you practically described my life! I'm Greek. I've worked in my family's restaurants my entire life. 10 years ago I went through a painful divorce & went to work with my brother & sister-in-law, thinking I would be in a safe & loving environment....Boy was I wrong. They treated me like an employee in my own restaurant. My brother was horrible. After 5 years of hell, it all came to a head. He attacked me. I went to leave & he pushed me so hard, I was airborne. I came down, with all my weight, on to my wrist & it was shattered. I had to have surgery & they used metal plates & pins to put my wrist back together. I sank into the deepest depression & I never thought I would be able to pull myself out of it. I ended up losing my house & had to move in with my sister. I've recovered from all that but, I cannot support myself financially unless I continue working for the family. I've thought about quitting, moving to L.A. & living in my car until my acting abilities land me a gig that will solve all my problems but, the thought of that is scary. Although, I haven't ruled that out. I have faith that, as long as I put my heart & soul into my talent, my dream will come true.

David O'Hara

SAG estimates about 7,000 people each month move into LA to try an make it as an actor. About the same amount leave each month having been served with a solid dose of reality. Living in your car is an act of desperation and casting people can smell desperation. Do you know casting directors regularly get 1,500 to 3,000 submissions for just a single one line part in a TV show . They might call in 10 to 15 actors (mostly actors they already know) to read -- 3 to 6 of those might get their audition tape sent to the director and producer, ONE will get the job. That's roughly one in 2,000. Not really the true odds for a beginner. Remember, most of the audition slots are already taken by actors the CDs already know and trust. Of the better roles, top-of-show guest star etc, most are OFFERED to NAME actors -- there maybe NO auditions for these plumb roles. If you are older than 25, you are expected to have solid credits on name shows and/or films to get any good agent or manager no matter how spectacular you might think your talent is -- and that you won't really know how good you are until you have to compete with the best and they are in LA and NY, hoping to make a living from acting. You best have a way of paying the bills before "my acting abilities land me a gig that will solve all my problems". That is delusional... just ask the seven thousand who are leaving this month.

Mary Dallas

I'm well aware of the odds. Thank you for pointing them out, though. Living in my car would be the last resort if my situation with my family took a turn for the worst. It was more hypothetical than anything else. I certainly wouldn't be going on auditions if that happened to me. I would have more pressing matters to attend to. My acting career is barely out of its diapers. I'm a realist & a dreamer, if that makes any sense. I am not delusional. Although, I do have hope & I do believe that 'if' the opportunity arises (right place, right time), I will be present, calm, in the moment, & ready to put my best foot forward. I will never give up.

Heather Pierson

We all know the odds are against us, but it's kind of like the lottery. If you don't buy a ticket, then you don't even have a chance. Keep on trucking.

Mary Dallas

Thank you Heather! Amen to that! I think going on as many auditions as I can will get my name out there. Not with the general public but, within the industry. I've already been on over 20 & they keep getting better. Like I said, I'm still learning. My acting coach/teacher/agent is giving me all the tools that I need. When that life changing opportunity arrives, I will be ready!

Mary Elizabeth Bell

Wow does that sound familiar Mary. After 12 years of acting,singing, commercials, etc. I still get that from certain people. Just follow your dream and don't give up!!!!!

Mary Dallas

Thank you Mary! My mother's famous words are, "We'll see". I'll be up for an Oscar & She'll say. "We'll see". Lol. I'll never give up. The only time I feel alive is when I'm acting. Since my post, I've stopped sharing any news about my progress. I made the mistake of saying, "I think I'm going to get this one!" & they never called so, now my family thinks I'm wasting my time...Oh well! I'm learning the rules as I go. Something's gotta give! I wish you good luck & great success!

Mary Elizabeth Bell

I'm very lucky. The only one in my family that doesn't "believe" is my Grandpa. Everyone else is 100% behind me. But it's funny how that one person can affect you.

Mary-Helen Norris

Hi Mary! From one Mary to another, I have to say, first off I'm sorry your family isn't supportive of your dreams. I was fortunate that when I decided that stop pursuing a degree in a "sensible job" my family supported my decision. At the end of the day, you have to look at how you worded it. You said you feel alive when you are acting and that's what matters. I've learned that you cannot make everyone happy but you can make yourself happy by doing what you love. How to deal with negative nellies? You smile, you take what they say but don't take it to heart. Follow your dreams, follow your heat and I wish you the best of luck.

Mary Elizabeth Bell

Oh you're speaking to the other Mary

Mary-Helen Norris

Sounds like there are a few of us. :)

Mary Dallas

Hello fellow Mary's! That's great advice Mary #1! I appreciate you taking the time to comment! My plan is to execute everything you just said. It's so much easier to smile & walk away rather than stick around & engage in negativity. I will never give up, no matter what! Thanks again! All my best to you! =)

Rick Sutter

This is very common when dealing with non creative types. Stay positive and don't give up on your creative dreams. . . . :-)

Mary-Helen Norris

Thanks for mentioning that, Rick. That's something I'm learning a lot lately. And you're welcome for the advice fellow Mary :).

Neva J Howell

Mary: It has helped me in the past to remind myself that a person's comments come from their own filter of life experience and usually have very little to do with me. Not taking it personally isn't always easy, especially with friends and family, but for me it was key. Also, I heard a great line on "Reba" the other day where Brock was telling Van how to deal with Cheyenne's negative moodiness. I'm paraphrasing but it was something like "let it bounce off ya like bb's on a Buick ... ping, ping, ping.

Madeline Romine

I was going to post the very same question a while back. my family is behind me but my husband is a little skeptical. he seems to think that he might lose me.but I just keep reassuring him that he is not.I am going to keep following my dreams and not look back

Richard Gustason

If I may say about the losing part Madeline, I think we all have heard that. I heard that when I told everyone I was basically leaving Colorado for Los Angeles to pursue this crazy dream of mine. People were afraid they were going to lose me to the fame and fortune. I explained to them that 1) that really is part of the entertainment game and 2) what did they mean by "lose" me. I heard all sorts of different responses. I think that all of can agree that just going forward and not backward is the only way we can get to achieve our goals and dreams.

Mary Dallas

Thanks for that, Neva! Made me smile! =D

Mary Elizabeth Bell

Good for you, Madeline!!!!!

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