When you feel attacked or put on the spot it’s great to have a good comeback answer.
Even a simple, common question from a fellow actor can throw you off.
If you meet colleagues every day and answering the usual questions puts you down that makes for a long day of hard work getting back up.
It’s culturally popular to put other people down to put yourself up. A fellow actor’s question such as, ‘Are you working?’ seems innocuous but if you’re not working it can sting. Answering, ‘No, nothing these days.’ can put you down.
An answer to that common question could be, ‘My auditions have been really good.’
Having a learned phrase at your disposal when confronted with the usual question or greeting is a useful practice.
Repeating the practice makes it your habit.
How to greet a movie star the first time you work with them? That threw me off for years. Then I came up with, ‘Congratulations on all your work.’ That kept me in good stead for years. Now, partly because using the planned response freed me from some of the pressure of the idea of a movie star, I don’t use the phrase but just say, ‘Hi.’.
‘Did you book that job?’. There’s another question that is actually uncultured but asked anyways. Your answer can be, ‘I liked my work in the audition.’
A fellow actor asks you, ‘What are you up to these days?’ and you feel the need to explain or answer ‘honestly’ and say, ‘Not much. No auditions. I don’t know…’ and down you go. Answering, ‘Good. Doing some writing these days. How are you?’ keeps you up.
That will end the exchange right there - then the other person will start talking about themselves. You just saved yourself going into a hole.
Your answer is true – you are writing - and it is going well because you are doing it.
Having an answer that ends with a positive, inclusive offer to your fellow actor is good. Something like, ‘Doing yoga, keeping active – you know what it’s like.’ includes them, makes the commonality - not the contradiction.
We’re in the same boat.
These pre-planned answers should be ideas that are true and that you can stand behind. Giving a response that is above and beyond you can make you feel uncertain.
Simple phrases that you learn and repeat on cue strengthen your conviction.