The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is given to the less talented as a consolation prize.Robert Hughes
No matter how much we try to inure ourselves from it, that bastard of an inner critic can sometimes get very raucous indeed. Once again, the research shows us that it is young, emerging professionals that are the most vulnerable here. I’ll reference here a story told by David Bertholdt about his friend, the great and late Nick Enright. Nick died in 2003, but right up until the end he remained stalwart beast of the theatre, a respected industry mentor and major figurehead within The Biz. As a playwright he wrote A Property of the Clan, Blackrock, Good Works and an adaptation of Cloudstreet which he co-wrote with Justin Monjo. He even wrote the libretto for The Boy From Oz. To top it off, in 1992 he was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay in George Miller’s film Lorenzo’s Oil. The moment that nomination came in, Nick was flooded with film offers and phone calls from A-list directors. He had to dedicate an entire table in his house to a mountain of scripts commissioned by every major American film studio you could think of. He was killing it. It was at this time that Nick turned to David and said:
“One day, they’re all going to wake up and realise I’m a fraud.”
It doesn’t matter where we sit in the industry hierarchy, self-doubt is always lurking. Acknowledgement will always be the first part of defeating that demon. After that, we can go on the offensive. As a pre-emptive strike on that voice of self-doubt, I whole-heartedly recommend reading the biographies of well-known actors. Nearly always, you will find multiple instances of insecurity, self-doubt and hardship. But because these stories are being told retrospectively, we now have the healthy advantage of being able to see exactly how these actors dealt with the obstacles that the industry threw at them. We especially encourage you to make use of your chosen industry mentor because, like all seasoned pros, they are already ahead of you on this road. Self-doubt will remain an ever- lurking beast for any actor and the entirety of this resource is at your disposal to help you combat it. Weaponise the tactics you have learnt thus far and bring them to bear, should that niggling voice of the bastard inner critic start to get a bit too loud!