Hello, again! πŸ™‚ This second vid in our free series is all about the single most uncastable quality (and it’s not what you may think). BTW, do you freakin’ love my facial expression in the still, below? Heh!

It’s something you control, and something you can get straightened out RIGHT NOW, even if you’ve already headed down the wrong path, toward this “uncastable” quality.

Not talented? You can still be cast. Bitter? Not a chance.

Are you headed toward Bitterville? Have you been there and then found your way back? What do you do to keep from letting the *toughness* of this career choice derail your castability? Is there ONE THING that keeps trying to drag you back into bitterness?

Let’s chat about this in the comments section below. I wanna know! What’s your most ninja tip for others, when it comes to keeping bitterness OUT of your creative life?

(To be sure you hear about our final vid — and get a super exciting announcement about a never-before-offered cool thing we’re doing next week — make sure you’re on the mailing list. Pop your info in the box just above the comments area of this post — and check the box at MailChimp saying you want to hear about online instruction. You’ll be all set!)

Hanging out at UC Irvine, yesterday.

Click it for the larger version.

So, beautiful ones, let me hear from you! How can I help you get a flu shot that prevents bitterness, so you can have the healthiest career possible? Hit it! I wanna know. πŸ˜€

Love and rockets,

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

(Visited 507 times, 1 visits today)


  1. lorraine iwan January 25, 2013 at 5:36 am

    thank you bonnie. just what i needed to hear this morning…. :0)

    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Lorraine, my pleasure! Sorry the vid wasn’t working early this morning. Hope you were able to come back around and check it out! We missed you at TTT last week. Hope you’ll join us in May! πŸ˜€

      Sidney, love your post, and commented in reply (at length) on the “Bitter Actor Syndrome” post. Your wife is awesome and I love her gentle reminder to you. It’s a good one!

      Mike, no! It wasn’t your imagination! Apparently when I schedule a post to go live while I sleep, there’s something that gets glitchy with the code (this happened on Wednesday too, but I thought I had done something wrong; now I have enough data points to be sure it’s the scheduling that’s causing the YouTube code to be stripped). I replaced it pretty much WHILE you were commenting, so that’s crazy timing, huh? πŸ™‚ Glad you were able to check it out! And for next week’s vid, I’ll be sure to do it all in real time, rather than scheduling, so there’s no missing code (hopefully).

      Sean, thank you! I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying these new vids. Yay! You’re describing poison playmates (Julia Cameron writes about ’em in “The Artist’s Way”) and they absolutely are to be avoided at all costs. Even if you can steel yourself against the bitterness, just being AROUND them while they grouse, as you’ve mentioned, can affect how you are perceived. No doubt! I have had “Debbie Downer” friends around whom I always try to turn the convo positive. I’ll take whatever they just said and find the silver lining or the thread of awesome that’s in there (there’s always a sliver of awesome), and “Yes, and…” their words with my own upward spin on that jumping off point. It doesn’t always work, and when it doesn’t work ENOUGH over time, I find myself having less and less time to be around those folks. I find myself needing to excuse myself to be anywhere else.

      Definitely with you on the value of “civilian friends.” People who can be thrilled with little victories are essential, and of course it’s good to have people in your life who know the ins and outs of the industry, too, as their perspective can help when you get too wound up about anything. There was a wonderful convo we were having in the SMFA Master Class about the theory that you are the average of the five people around whom you spend the most time, in your life. If that’s true, then you should want — you should REQUIRE — people in your life who are positive and uplifting and strong and successful, as well as people for whom you are that person.

      Eventually, your reluctance to play in Bitterville will make you an uncomfortable friend for those who NEED to do the whole “misery loves company” thing to be around. Good. Play with people who love to celebrate what’s awesome. Don’t ignore problems that need fixing. Don’t keep your head in the sand when it comes to actual issues that need to be dealt with. But wallow in that mess? No thank you! πŸ˜€ Choose better. Not bitter.

    2. Nicholas Chun August 2, 2022 at 12:41 am

      Hi Mrs. Gillespin! I’m glad I watched this video. I was introduced to you from Luis Carazo, after asking why I was anxious of other people being cast on a show and I wasn’t. Anyway, I liked what you said in the video, and I find myself having senses of bitterness or resentment when situations don’t go the way I expect them to, good or bad. Like when I get less screen time in a certain scene, or I get a callback 4 days later than the expected date, and am told I didn’t get the part. I was wondering how one can catch themselves in those moments, and how to mediate those feelings when they come up?
      Also, I understand this vlog is over 5 years old, so I will do what I can to not be bitter if you do not respond πŸ™‚

      1. Bonnie Gillespie August 2, 2022 at 12:44 pm

        The BEST thing you can do to stave off bitterness, Nicholas, is to build up the muscle of ENOUGHNESS — knowing that no matter what happens out there in the world, you’re going to be okay. It’s an inside job, and it makes it so that alllllll the things that are outside of our control (like whether or not we are the ones they cast, ultimately) don’t DING us, make us anxious, cause us to believe we’re not worthy of success, etc.

        I have a LOT of enoughness content on this site, so do some poking around to consume some of it. Just getting a callback — EVER — is a sign that you’re doing good work and you ARE castable. After that, it’s not really up to the actor (unless he is also producing the project, which is something I definitely recommend all actors do… VERY helpful in learning what the casting process is like from the other side).

        Hang in there, Nicholas! You’ve got this!

  2. lorraine iwan January 25, 2013 at 5:37 am

    just what i needed to hear this morning! thank you bonnie!

  3. Sidney Kean January 25, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Hi Bonnie

    What can I say!? Actor bitterness!! Your article I hope, has come around just at the right time, in other words not too late. Bitterness was always the one thing I was afraid of, as being bitter only makes the path much harder and a hell of a lot longer.

    Recently I find I am in the cartegory of looking at others and dwelling, and not looking at them and learning, also not looking at what I have personally acheived over the years.

    I was talking to my wife just this morning about, β€˜I wonder why and who could be stopping me’ Her answer was β€˜Well you tried everyone else there’s only one person left.’ So thank you for this article, as I say it might just have come around at the right time.

    My Best regards


    Sidney Kean Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    January 25th, 2013 at 5:17am
    Oh just to say as an add on…….That is one hell of a bitter pill to swallow!!!


  4. Mike Russo January 25, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Maybe I’m getting senile, but I can’t see the video link. The colums were great (as always), but no, I don’t see the link. Help?!?

  5. Mike Russo January 25, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Never mind, it came up after I commented. Thanks.

  6. Sean W January 25, 2013 at 8:35 am

    This is great, Bonnie! This video and yesterday’s are so fantastic. One thing I’ve found is that it is dangerous to be bitter by association.

    For example, say you have a friend or a couple of friends who are bitter, and talk about being bitter in public settings – at a premiere or an event, at a restaurant, whatever. Someone else overhears the conversation. Although you didn’t say anything, that person assumes that you, too, are bitter, and they remember it the next time you try to audition for them.

    Being around that bitter energy is dangerous. Not only that, but eventually it begins to eat away at you. It’s one thing to get upset every once in a while about something you really wanted that didn’t work out, and to talk it out with friends. It’s another to do that every. Single. Time. Even if you’re not the one who is doing that, if your friends or associates are doing that, it’s not good for you.

    You need to build a more positive support system. If you’re the one who’s always trying to lift everyone else up, who’s lifting you up? This is why I heavily advocate having some people in your life who are not family who are not in the biz, but who understand and support you, whom you can go to when things get tough, who are there for listening and encouragement.

    And it is important to return the favor.

  7. Sara January 25, 2013 at 9:09 am

    I think I’ve done a pretty good job guarding myself against becoming bitter. Ive been working at this for a good 15 years and despite the constant cylce of starts and stops, I can say i remain wuite positive and optimistic.


    The one thing that tests my resolve EVERY. TIME. is the MONEY. It feels like at every turn, someone makes a strong argument for something I *need* to “make it in this business” and whether or not I believe they are right at the time (I usually do a fair amount of research before doing anything), what stings me is how MUCH everything costs!! After a while, this career starts to feel like a gambling addiction – I throw more and more and more money at something that never seems to hit jackpot. Then, I find my financial deficit forces me to get the “joe job” to pay it all back – which begins to feel like I’m actually further away from my goals than when I started! And what keeps bringing me back is the fact that I simply love acting and there is no other career or job I could even picture myself doing for the rest of my life.

    So…HOW does one work smarter and not harder (and to ultimately avoid becoming bitter)?

    Thanks again for your energy and spirit! You are an amazing blessing in this community and on this planet!!


    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 25, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Hi again, Sara. Doing this reply to you, fresh, here.

      Have you read any of Miata Edoga’s work? She advises creatives on getting their mind right, with their money. It’s very common for artists to struggle with this, and the truth is, you DO have to have income while you pursue your creative career, so a survival job that doesn’t suck your soul is a MUST. Most actors I work with tend to juggle *several* survival jobs, all freelance, which of course isn’t predictable, but it’s fulfilling and not at all soul-sucking, for those who can handle the “not knowing” of it all. Keith calls it “the rain bucket” and artists have to trust that some gigs are gonna fill that sucker UP with water, and then there will be other times when you’re scooping from the bucket because you’re in a drought — but that’s what it’s FOR! Yes, that requires trust, and it requires that you money-manage VERY well, when it *is* coming in.

      One of my ninja assistants is brilliant with this. She will put on her list for the quarter, “Take class with so-and-so,” and she knows how much that class costs. She’ll take on an extra shift every week, she’ll pick up some freelance work, she’ll up her hours with me — whatever — and she’ll brownbag her lunch so she can save, save, save. And then she can TAKE that awesome class which ups her game, and she’s not putting it on a credit card or having to work harder in her survival jobs to try and pay for it LATER. I like this a lot, but it takes the kind of personality to be able to DO it and really commit to it.

      Fact is, you DO have to spend money in pursuit of a creative career. (Not as much as they would try to make you think you have to spend, of course, but certainly, there are expenses: headshots, craft classes, union dues, being up on the submission websites, and that’s before we even touch on things like business classes or workshops or attending networking events, re-doing your demo reel, overhauling a website, and the higher-level expenses.) What I’d recommend is that you make a list of what it is that HAS TO HAPPEN (you have to have headshots, you have to stay current on your dues, you have to be on the submission websites) and another list of what is stuff that you WANT TO DO when you can afford it (workshops, higher-end craft classes and intensives, another scene added to your reel) and then another list that’s LUXURY level stuff (media training, private coaching) — whatever — these lists will be your own, so my suggestions are just that. πŸ˜‰

      Absolutely, you can do a LOT in this business without spending a penny. It’s amazing how much information is available — for free — with the SAG Foundation Livestream vids (you don’t even have to be a union member to watch them), with the free orientation at The Actors’ Network, these free vids and columns (dude, I’ve written over 1.5 million words for creatives over the years, and they’re all archived, free, and searchable), the research you can do using Futon Critic’s Devwatch (if you can’t afford an IMDb Pro membership or a CastingAbout membership), visiting the library to read the trades or following them all on Twitter and clicking through to read every article that’s not behind the paywall, to add info to Your Show Bible, which can be maintained using free software like Evernote or even just in a notebook! I mean, this is just me doing a quick list of freebies… and there are SO many more.

      So, for sure, if you’re feeling you HAVE TO spend money, I think making a list of exactly where you MUST is important. And then realizing how much is out there that is FREE is empowering. Budgeting for the few things that are NOT free but that are of value to you (after making that list) will be less soul-crushing to you because you’ll have already done SO MUCH with the free resources available to you, and because you’ll find a way to get the money together FIRST so that you can take advantage of those non-free resources that you’ve decided ARE of value to you, you won’t be bitter about having spent the money, because it’s something you KNOW (because you love to do the research) is going to make a difference in your career because of its value TO YOU.

      As for the “how much everything costs” thing, I can only say that every time I’ve offered a free class, done a free talk, or even offered classes for $50, there’s an epidemic of folks not valuing it. They’ll sign up then not show up. They’ll show up for the first week then blow it off the second week because, “well, it doesn’t really cost that much so I can skip it,” and that’s disrespectful to everyone else who GETS what a deal they’re getting. So, charging more is more about creating COMMITMENT than anything else. I teach what’s out there in my free columns and vids… but when someone pays for our time together, they *really* put in the work. Sure, some will put in the work just using the freebies that are out there (I get emails from ninjas who do it on their own — totally for free — all the time, and it’s impressive how much can be done without any course work), but most prefer the walk-through and the check-in on the “am I doing it right” type stuff. I guess it’s like having a personal trainer. SURE you can diet and exercise on your own and be fit! But many just won’t do it with a gym membership; they have to work with a trainer or sign up for regular classes to really get results.

      So, to avoid bitterness caused by the perception you have that this creative career can be like a gambling addiction, in terms of money going out, I’d say take EVERY opportunity to embrace the freebies, when you start feeling that way. Stay grateful for how much is out there that costs NOTHING but that teaches you a great deal about how to type yourself, how to target your buyers, how to produce your own content, how to pitch yourself (and your projects) like a ninja. The DIY model is thriving and that means there’s a TON of good info available to you out there, for free, and you need to stay grateful for those goodies! Don’t ever feel like you HAVE TO spend money on anything that’s not on your list. Seriously. Make that list. I’m not kidding. It will empower you to have that list BEFORE you start getting swayed by what others are saying you “have to do” in order to succeed in this business. There is no one thing you “have to do.” Nope. If there were that one thing, I’d have written the book that spells THAT out and I’d have retired to my private island, because I’d have written the book that unlocks THE SECRET to success in this industry. Nope. There isn’t one. Everyone has a different road. Yours just may not include as much of the higher-priced options as someone else’s road may include.

      That’s totally okay. There’s a TON you can do for free. And if you’re bitter about what you can’t afford, you just FIND A WAY to afford that stuff… but only if getting to do that stuff will fill you with joy. If all it’ll do is remind you that you had to sell an organ in order to do it and you’ll spend the whole time saying, “This is totally not worth all the work I put in to make all the money to do this stupid thing,” then maybe the Universe is protecting you from bitterness by not allowing you to afford such a thing. πŸ™‚ It should feel joyous when you can afford a class you’ve decided you value, and have worked to save up for.

      And ’til that kind of stuff is flowing through you, just keep hitting the zillion free resources that are available to you — and stay grateful that they’re out there. That’s how you avoid bitterness where “the costs of acting” are concerned. πŸ˜‰


  8. Angelia Formisano January 25, 2013 at 9:37 am

    So awesome! I will not let myself be bitten by the bitter bug πŸ˜‰ I’ve seen it happen to friends! Ahhhhhhh. Thank you, Bonnie!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      Angelia, yes! When you see it happen to friends is when you really wake up, huh? Can’t let it get you, that Bitter Bug! πŸ˜‰ Yes!

      Minnie, you’ve got it. That comparison trap will CRIPPLE you! I am a huge fan of celebrating the success of those around me, for it signals to me that I’m *right there* IN IT, *right there* WITH IT. What’s the option? Hang out with people who are living their dreams, booking, making it happen (and celebrate them) or hang out with people who can’t get an audition, who grouse about their agent, who hate seeing others succeed (and become one of them). No thank you! I LOVE celebrating the victories of those who are achieving beyond me! They teach me it CAN be done! And that’s all I need.

      Holly, I hear you, and that’s actually something we talk about in the SMFA Master Class. Because complaining on Twitter or Facebook, or putting your negative thoughts (which we ALL have, sometimes) can make you uncastable, you have to be very careful where you vent about the stuff that’s not working (and we all have to vent). I have a few very close friends with whom I can (and will) let off steam when something’s not working and I just cannot keep it to myself. But you will not catch me tweeting about it, shooting a rant-filled vid about it, or writing a column about it. I will ALWAYS find a way to turn that seed of negativity into something positive (as a teaching moment), if I *do* put it into some of my public words, my teachings, etc. It’s not because I don’t experience the down side, but because I know that I erode confidence in my brand on the part of the buyers if I rant (i.e., a producer who has never hired me to cast for him may choose not to if, when he Googles me, he stumbles across a rant-filled tirade about the crazy shit actors sometimes do; and that’s no different than an agent not choosing to sign an actor whose latest blog post is a bitch-fest about her current agent). People don’t want to engage that mindset. We ALL have dark times. Choosing to align with someone who celebrates darkness? No. We don’t do that.

      Jeff, your two cents are GOLD. Thank you! I totally agree. Professionalism means being able to compartmentalize and keep creating. Amen!

      Delno, you too. Absolutely, we can think “by now shouldn’t I have…” at any stage in our creative careers. But that doesn’t serve us — or the world. And as artists, that’s why we’re here. We want to create stories and help bring meaning to confusing issues through our work. Refocusing on that makes a huge difference. YES!

  9. Minnie Goode January 25, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I have a lot of friends that get stuck in the trap of comparing themselves to others, which is an immediate drive to bitter town. This always makes them feel bad because you can always find someone who has more than you, who’s doing what you want to be doing, who books more than you. I choose to feel comforted and excited by the success of others, because if everyone around me is working, that means there is plenty of work, and it is only a matter of time and trust before I book another job. It would scare me if no one I knew was working. When I know someone who books a pilot, or sells a script to a network, or lands a role in a huge movie, I am ecstatic, because it feels that much more attainable to me.

  10. Holly January 25, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Thank you! I am staying optimistic and joyful to avoid bitterness.

    I agree with Sara’s comment about how the financial burden and finding the residual and flexible income, in order to pursue my goals as an actress (move to LA), can be daunting and challenge my ability to feel hope instead of bitterness. There is so much pressure to put out only positive vibes and a hireable image that it can be difficult to know who to talk to about it, especially when every close friend is potentially your next working opportunity.

  11. Jeff January 25, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I’ve found that bitterness can infect into any part of life for many reasons. The point is not to bring it into your professional life. That’s actually the point of being a professional; being able to separate your personal problems from your work. Finding a way to release that energy in a constructive, positive, or just any manner (except for the unprofessional) is a way to keep it from hanging around.

    -My two cents

  12. Delno January 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm


    You’re an absolute gem. I enjoy all your videos, columns, and sage advise. Bitterness is something we seasoned actors have to work extra hard to guard against. It’s very easy to become jaded in this business. When I start feeling that way I try and take a step back and remind myself of why I do what I do. And breathe….just breathe. Thanks again.

  13. Jessica Cameron January 25, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Thank you for doing such a wonderful video!

    I try to associate with the level of people that I want to work with. By doing this there are always opportunities that pop up and enable me to be creative in some capacity. Even just having a passionate conversation about film can be fulfilling with the right people.

    I also try to get involved with as many projects as I can that I feel strongly about (even though this means lots of indy film and less tv stuff). This reminds me how lucky I am to be working as opposed to sitting around less satisfied.

    I look forward to more video blogs Bonnie!


    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 25, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      Jessica, again, thanks. So glad you are enjoying this series of vids. YES! Passionate convo is a MUST in this creative career. Feeling great about the projects in which you’re involved… hugely important! Yes! Yes, to all of this. πŸ™‚

      Much love to you, Adriana. Miss your face!

      Ninja Dan, I *love* the Bill Cosby quote. THANK YOU. Yes! And I’m glad you find this advice applicable to folks outside of acting. I mean, really, it is just good, common sense, right? πŸ˜‰ Be happy. It’s so worth it!

      Oh, Michael, being results-oriented is such a trap! That’s why I love the phrase “book the room, don’t worry about booking the job.” Yes, sometimes you’ll do BOTH, but if your goal is to create fans in the room, you can stave off bitterness quite a bit! I’m glad you’re learning how to keep bitterness away, early, in your career. It was absolutely my pleasure to join y’all at UC Irvine yesterday! THANK YOU for having me! πŸ˜€ And thanks for hopping on the mailing list. I hope you’ll enjoy all the goodies! And keep me posted on how things are going for you. πŸ™‚

      Nay! Great to see you! Miss you too! Family pressures can be a whole different set of issues, for sure. You could say I am a “failed actor,” or you could say I’m someone who likes success more than struggle, so chose to do more writing when the money started flowing in for that, which would’ve allowed me to DO more acting, had I wanted to do it anymore. What if you get into writing, start getting paid WELL to do it, and then you can put some of that money back into acting opportunities? Failure? Smells like success to me! It’s all about perception. Bitterness is a choice. Just take a look at that panic, that pressure, that monkey mind and say, “Cool. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I choose to feel empowered by the fact that I can create something today.” And then create. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

      Aaron, thank you! Sorry I wasn’t able to join y’all for the AIPA showcase today. Hope it was amazing!! I’m starting up a new casting and had meetings on that, which prevented me from making the trip across town to see your show. Hope you booked the room, had fun, and feel great about it all. Keep me posted on how it goes for you! πŸ˜€

      Love all this convo. THANK YOU fine folks for plugging in, here. Another vid next week. I hope you’ll love it! XO

  14. Adriana Roze January 25, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    WONDERFUL! Thank you for this. Just what I needed to hear today.

  15. Dan Knight January 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Always LOVE your common sense and directly applicable insight. Thanks for sharing! Bill Cosby has a nice take on this as well: β€œPeople can be more forgiving than you can imagine. But you have to forgive yourself. Let go of what’s bitter and move on.” – Bill Cosby

  16. Michael Huey January 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I remember a year ago everytime I auditioned and never get called back, I always find myself bitter about myself and about my craft. It was easy for me to attract negativity to myself when I never got any parts, and as a result, I became results oriented, focusing too much on not getting a callback opposed to not appreciating the opportunity to audition and gain more experience.. But now when I audition, i just audition just to show the room that I love what I do, this is who I am, and if I don’t get cast, it just mean that I wasn’t fit for the part. I always try to treat auditions as something fun and exciting. I don’t try to compare myself to others, but I always try to tell myself, “I had fun, you rocked. And if you get called back, great! If not, there is always the next one. Don’t stop”

    PS: Thank you for coming to our class yesterday

  17. Naomi Vondell January 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Man, I miss the Master Class!!

    Because of a number of hard realities I’m facing lately, I’ve started to get more excited about writing and new media – tempered with the need to get out of my I-finally-admit-it’s-soul-sucking freelance day job and the need to pay bills. I’ve resisted the idea of being a writer in the past because I love acting too, and I don’t want to be perceived as having become a writer because I’m a “failed” actor. But then I feel so overwhelmed lately by family demands that I “face reality” that – well, I have an audition Tuesday with a casting director I’ve wanted to get in front of for years, and it’s hard to even get excited about it. I’ll just be the character and do the scene because otherwise, I’ll feel bad.

    Am I in dangerous proximity to Bitterville – at least about acting? Or is it just deer-in-the-headlights panic, drawn out over a LONG period with those headlights in my face?

    Great column as always!

  18. Aaron Fiora January 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Awesome video Bonnie!! Hope to catch up soon πŸ™‚ – Aaron

  19. Howard Seth Cohen January 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Hey all… the metaphor of acting (career) as gambling IS accurate. Especially when it comes to the commercial racket in the big markets. When folks ask me if I picked up a lotto ticket for that massive mega jackpot, I always reply, “No, I don’t gamble with money, I’m an actor (artist.) Auditioning for commercials is quite enough, thank you.”
    Be ready, stay positive, AND WORK YOUR CONNECTIONS! A happy new year card to the show runner you know mentioning how much it means to you that s/he has her CD call you in will get you that next audition. And when you are right for the gig, you WILL book it.
    But what are you doing to stay happy? Are you writing and performing your own material? Working with a troupe/ company?
    However, a cautionary note here… I know that you (Bonnie) have a decent following outside of the major markets… Do you have ‘it?’ Or do you just want ‘to be an actor?’
    It is not an easy life. Especially when you have ‘it.’
    Break a leg, Howie

    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Great points, Howie. Thank you! Yeah, I regularly tell folks starting out that if what you want to do is ACT, you will do better in an itty-bitty market, doing community theatre, because you’ll be on stage ALL the time, vs. the amount of time you’ll spend acting, should you try to compete in the majors. What we do in the larger markets is pursue work WAY more than we get to do the craft we love. Finding balance for that, finding ways to feed the artist while keeping a good business head about you, these are things that need to be a part of a foundation for long-term success.

      I love suggesting that actors reach out to their targets, their connections, their relationships when everyone else isn’t. You can imagine what the inbox for a top casting director looks like on the day a breakdown is released or a news item hits the trades about a new show that got picked up, to which she is attached: PACKED with solicitations from actors who want to be in front of her. What does her inbox look like on the day the old show gets another Emmy nomination or the microbudget indie she cast during hiatus gets shortlisted for a jury prize at a film festival? THAT is when ninja colleagues reach out and say, “Way to go! I’m cheering you on.” And THAT goes a long way, vs. the throbbing toothache that is the parade of actors who are popping on her radar ONLY when the newest breakdown goes out.

      Ninja Cracker Jack, amen to all of that. Amen, amen, amen!

  20. CrackerJack January 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Bonnie, THANK you for posting this vid. I love where I’m at in my career right now, but all of us creatives have a little of the “delicate flower” in them so I learned that taking precautions against bitterness is always helpful. “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!” (as Mad-Eye Moody would say)

    Howard, I use the lottery analogy to my non-industry friends all the time! That’s so funny.

    It really helps to know that everyone deals with bitterness from time to time. Something that I really take to heart is a quote (and I’m paraphrasing here) that the only person you should compare yourself to is Past You. Not another actor your age or type, not someone in your circle of friends, not someone whose career you “should” have, but You from the Past. Are you learning and growing? Then you’re totally winning.

  21. Janet Urban January 26, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I love how you explain things.

    Be in it for the joy of it. Not so focused on what you want to get out of it, but to contribute to this amazing industry and focused on doing great work.

    The actors I work with on set have developed into superb people. Many have done lots of plays, are super positive, and a joy to be around.

    I’m sure they aren’t born with this sunny attitude. I suspect they’ve worked on it. I have worked on my attitude and perspective as well. But that’s a journey worth traveling. Attitude is the one thing that has gotten me into the industry and helped me grow my business to the level that I’m at today.

    When I took the focus off myself and what I wanted, and started focusing on my own growth and genuine connection with people, it felt so much better, I’m so much more relaxed and the work has come flooding in.

    Thank you for this wonderful video. I am always in such awe of how well you communicate!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      Janet, THANK YOU! I was *just* thinking about you yesterday! So glad to see you here and to know that you’re thriving, doing what you love, and feeling connected to every step of it. SO much love flowing your way!!!!!! πŸ™‚ I know this vid was a long one, so big thanks for watching it. I think the next vid is a little less rambling, but we’ll see! Hee! Well, it’s all on-brand, as I like to say.

      Thrilled to hear your students are making amazing connections on set and having FUN! What a delightful journey! XO

  22. Jen Ponton January 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Bon, another winner-winner-chicken-dinner! You KNOW how I feel about this. πŸ˜‰ The most important tool that I’ve found? Creating a super-close-knit circle of actors that love and inspire each other, all of whom keep accountability for others and who keep morale insanely high as a group. Focusing on the journey, not the next step; recognizing the little victories; knowing the difference between inner critic and an actual issue; feeling pride and joy as an artist and having living proof around you that it’s about creating connection! A community of amazingness! (Oh, and major career/purpose education by ladies such as yourself and Dallas Travers.)

    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 26, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      Goodness, yes, Jen! Having a support system is HUGELY important! One of my favorite things has always been (and will always be) surrounding myself with the best people on the planet, making sure they know each other, and then standing back while they create amazing things. This is part of that, for sure. Just creating a community of people who love to share their toys, who encourage one another, who celebrate one another’s success, and who are absolutely LEGIT reality checks for whether — like you said — something is monkey mind or REAL, that stuff is GOLD in terms of long-term success and the ability to keep bitterness OUT.

      Love you, lovely lady! Thank you for always being a ray of light! XO

  23. CrackerJack January 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Jen: you condensed so much insight into such a little paragraph! yes yes YES! In comparing myself to last year, I have made leaps and bounds of progress. and it’s all thanks to the people I surround myself with. Including, of course, all the actors/writers/producers/hyphenates full of awesomeosity that I have met through the Ninja Circle. I feel so blessed!

    Bon, THANK YOU. <3

    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Ninja Cracker Jack, I love that you compare yourself to YOU, a year ago, rather than to anyone else. This is YOUR journey and I’m so happy to get to walk along side you for a bit of it. Thank YOU for being in our lives!

      Barry, you’re welcome! It’s my pleasure. πŸ™‚

      Victoria, I love that you’re already working on issues of mindset, this early in your career. That’s ESSENTIAL and I’m very excited to hear more about how it goes for you! Stay positive!

      Ramble all you want, Chandra. You know I adore you. Yeah, losing friends (poison playmates) as you refuse to wallow in bitterness is a toughie, but as soon as you realize that the vacuum is filled by other, more positive, more grace-filled folk, you celebrate. πŸ˜€ Been there! Whenever I forget about the whole “success is not a destination” thing, I ask myself, “What if this, right now, is as good as it gets? What if THIS is all the *it* that I get, in life? Can I be okay with that?” and the answer is always YES. I’m so lucky, right now, today, here. This life is pretty dang awesome. Sure, I want other stuff! Sure, I have goals and ambition and a gameplan for movin’ on up. But right here, right now, I am whole and I am happy and that is truly badass. That works for me!

  24. Barry January 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Bonnie – great information; thank you for sharing!

  25. Victoria Marie Kolos January 27, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Bonnie you rock gf! Thanks you for such an insightful video. I’m very new to the industry (just over 6 months) and already I can see how this bitterness thing can rear its ugly head. Your video is a great reminder to keep things in perspective meaning others’ successes and worry more about what your own goals are and what’s happening for you as no two actors will travel the same path. You are wonderful.

    Victoria πŸ™‚

  26. Chandra January 27, 2013 at 6:10 am

    I love this video. πŸ™‚

    This has always been one of the topics that’s hit me hardest. This is something which has been a struggle for me in every aspect of my life for a long time. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I really started trying to tackle it head on so that I could develop habits or things to help me deal with feeling like life isn’t fair. I started tackling this issue head on while living in L.A. during the height of the recession during a loooooooong stint of unemployment.

    For me, the key has been grace. Having a ton of grace with myself and with others. I realized the core of this feeling for me was knowing what I want to do and not having all the resources to do it, or having some resources and then running out. I like to be able to get into a routine, plot a course and then stick to it.

    I’ve been learning how to plot a course, except when it doesn’t go right, reroute and let go of the old course. This has been one of the greatest things for me give up bitterness.

    Starting to embrace that “Success is a journey and not a destination” has helped as well. It’s taken YEARS of working at it, thinking about it, trying things and trying some more things for me to start to feel like I finally might not be as bitter as I used to be.

    But I will say, now that I don’t tolerate it in myself and am working SO hard EVERY day to stay positive and believe in good things, I have very little tolerance for those who don’t. It’s really more because I feel like I’m in “recovery” from a bitterness addiction more than anything and I don’t want to sabotage that recovery by being around people still stuck in the addiction. πŸ˜‰ That hasn’t been easy for me either as it’s meant leaving some distance between very close friends. But I tried last year to be positive for two, and it doesn’t work if both parties aren’t willing.

    Man, I’m rambling. Anyway. Great video, as always, great reminder. And I hope this inspires great talent to stay positive, the more of us out there, the better our industry will be.

  27. Joan Blair January 28, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Morning Bonnie,

    Thanks so much for a great video!
    It was a positive dose of important wisdom.
    You know me, I always try to be positive.
    So, I find that, I will make decisions that make my acting life less fun.
    So, even when we’re not bitter, if we make wrong decisions,
    it can make our journey more negative.
    And, I’m talking about small things, that can make a big difference.
    So, in our journey to not be bitter, we need to be smart, at every turn.
    So that, staying positive is much easier.
    Have a great week! Xoxo Joan

  28. Bonnie Gillespie January 28, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Love you Joan! Yes! We were just talking yesterday in SMFA Master Class about the “small things” and what a big impact they can have, and how we really do need to honor those small things (and keep ’em positive) just as much as we do the bigger things.

    Thank you for being here! And for being YOU! πŸ™‚

  29. Scott R. Wright January 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Bonnie,
    Thank you for “telling it like it is”. I have to admit that I’ve come close to falling into the bitterness pit a few times, but realized that such a fall could turn from bitterness into bottomless with no way back.

    Staying the course, keeping a positive attitude, and enjoying the ride in this crazy, wonderful (and unpredictable) business keeps me motivated and moving forward.


    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Love it, Scott. I think we *all* come perilously close to driving into the ditch from time to time. It’s just a part of being a creative soul. We’re sensitive critters and sometimes it gets a wee bit dark. πŸ™‚ Glad you spend more time on the UP than the DOWN. πŸ™‚ That’s important!

  30. Bryan Patrick Stoyle January 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I’ve been sharing these videos with a Facebook group I’ve created, “Western New York Actors Helping Actors”. Many had responded positively on there. I’m hoping a few of them will make their way over here to continue discussions with you, Bonnie. Thank you again for these wonderful videos!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie January 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Ooh, thanks, Bryan. I hope they do too! I’d love to meet ’em. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!! Yay!

  31. Kim Burns January 30, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I read this article from my alma mater and it inspired me and reminded me of this vid…
    β€œWe live in a painful world, no doubt about it,” wrote Jeffers. β€œBut let me tell you this: The ONLY disability in life is a bad attitude. … When you play on Sunday, let it not be to win a division… Let it be a dedication to that simple yet powerful notion that life can be conquered with the right outlook.”
    Thanks Bonnie! <3

  32. Timeca Seretti January 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks Bonnie…….This is so great to hear because, I am so trying not to go this direction. Makes it hard when I think about that fact that I’m 0-4 in this new year. I’ll just have to keep reminding myself not to go theere and to stay positive no matter what the outcome! I am in the midst of writing a short that I want to shoot, and I just got cast in a theater production where I get to sing! #grateful

  33. Bonnie Gillespie February 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Kim! Thank you for that. Great. πŸ™‚ I love it. Miss your face!

    Timeca, don’t even look at “0-4,” but instead, “Yay! I’ve been out four times!” You posted this on 1/30 and I bet there are many actors who hadn’t gotten four auditions in the first 30 days of the year! Celebrate THAT.

    It’s not so much that you *have to* be positive all the time… I get down sometimes too. The key is to saying, “Oh, I’m low right now. But I know this is temporary.” πŸ™‚ If you start the spiral of the blame game, that’s when you’re on the road to Bitterville.

    You’re doing great! Congrats on the short and on getting to sing! Yay! XO and keep rockin’ everyone!!

  34. Grace Gordon February 16, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Hi Bonnie!
    You are wonderful and your video is just what I need to get out of my “no-work-stright-out-of-theatre-school” slump πŸ™‚ Sometimes a little reminder not to get bitter and entitled is all that I need. However, my agent has a girl on her roster who is almost a direct conflict with me and has booked a lot more than me, how do I stop getting so consumed when I know she’s being put out for the same auditions as I am?

    1. Bonnie Gillespie February 24, 2013 at 10:27 am

      Hiya Grace! One thing I know for sure: Keeping your eye on the “competition” is a ticket to Bitterville. Besides, how do you know she’s being put out for the same auditions as you? Perhaps she’s going out for bigger (or smaller) roles than you would go out for. Perhaps you’re not being put up for some of the parts she is. And vice-versa. Unless you’re sitting in your agent’s office, WATCHING the submission process and HEARING the pitches, you have no idea what’s *actually* happening and, besides, a lot of her heat could come from work she’s doing outside of her relationship with the agent y’all share. She could be hustling at networking events, doing workshops or showcases, self-submitting, postcarding, building relationships via social networking, you name it! To assume the ONE thing y’all have in common (being on this particular agent’s roster) is THE factor that has her booking more than you is myopic. There are all SORTS of things that could make the difference, and you’re not privy to ’em because it’s her journey, not yours.

      So, my number one piece of advice on this would be for you to shift your focus to what YOU can do. Every time you feel yourself wanting to compare your journey to hers, start shifting your thoughts from her CAREER to, say, her love life or her family relationships or her diet and exercise regimen or her religion or her socioeconomic status or her political leanings. Seriously, make yourself feel RIDICULOUS for trying to compare just ONE sliver of her life with yours. You’ll quickly realize how futile that is and put your eyes back on your own paper. πŸ˜‰ Good luck Grace! I’m pulling for ya.

  35. Tiffany H April 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Bonnie, I just joined your mailing list and came across this video on your blog. I am blown away at how much this applies to my life. I have been bitter for a while now, which led to depression and anxiety and fear and a rut that has been hard for me to get out of. When I graduated theatre school I had no idea that I’d be performing in musicals, which is the industry I’ve been in for the last 8 years. Fortunately, for me, I have been able to stay employed and loved it when I first started out. But then I began to feel stuck, I began to doubt my ability to do legit theatre and tv/film. Honestly I became so scared that I stopped trying. At a point where I’m seeing my friends and people I’ve worked with excel to the next level in their careers, while I haven’t moved anywhere. Although I am happy and excited for them, it’s starting to effect my current working relationships. I’m not the person people want to be around…I’m moody and antisocial and sometimes quick to anger. And worst of all, it’s hard to be around my coworkers, and just people in general, who are talented, happy, and loving life. I get mad and jealous and, honestly, I’m tired of feeling this way but I don’t know how to pull myself out of it. I guess the first step is to realize that that’s what it is…bitterness.

    Thank you for this video,

  36. CrackerJack April 2, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Hi Tiffany!

    I’m so glad you found this video too. You’re in a tough position and I wish you the best of luck. I (and I think most actors at one point or another) have been there. One of the most important things you can do is to forgive yourself and decide to try something new. Do what makes you happy! I promise you, it’s not too late.

    Here is some mindset-related reading if you feel the urge:

    And some encouragement, because I think you’re awesome:

    On behalf of Team Cricket Feet, I wish you the absolute best of luck. <3
    Ninja CrackerJack

  37. Bonnie Gillespie April 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Great “yes, and…” Cracker Jack. THANK YOU! πŸ™‚

    Tiffany, I celebrate you! Just being able to identify that you DID go bitter is a huge win, and it’s definitely the first step out to a brighter tomorrow. πŸ˜€ AWESOME!

    I’m glad you hopped on the mailing list, I hope you’ll check out those links CJ provided, and make sure you’re getting on board with the iTunes goodies too: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-work/id420337807 — let me know how I can continue to cheer you on as you turn this boat around!


  38. Brenna D December 31, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I think a previous comment-er said it before, but this was the perfect video to pull me out of the “straight-out-of-school-why-cant-i-get-cast” feeling. I just feel like the “no’s” are far outdoing the “yes’s” lately and let me tell you, that is a tough reality to be facing! Definitely hard to not feel down in the dumps when all I want to do is work and tell magnificent stories!!! I loved your advice to always remember how beautiful it is to be a part of the storytelling business” Thanks for the motivation with the entire Get in Gear countdown πŸ™‚

  39. Bonnie Gillespie January 3, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Thank YOU, Brenna! So important to stay positive especially after leaving school where you are often told you can do it all. Sure, you CAN… just not all at once and probably not the way you thought you might be able to, at first.

    So glad you enjoyed “Get in Gear for the New Year.” What a fun free course!


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