Bitter or Better?



Bitter or better,

What’s it gonna be?

What you gonna do?

Bitter or better,

The choice is up to you.

The lyric above came floating out of my subconscious mind as I was reading Markus Flanagan’s book, One Less Bitter Actor. The book was sent to my partner because she’s an acting teacher.

As an invited participant for her advanced acting class audition sections, I am always interested in the latest book on acting—especially on the business of acting, where most of my experience lies. I am of those who has sat on what’s known as “the other side of the table.”

Flanagan’s book is an easy read, full of wise and earned-by-experience advice. Some of my favorites (paraphrased) …

An actor doesn’t get paid for acting. We do that for free. What we get paid for is all the auditioning and all the waiting.

What a great way to look at it! Everyone has to invest in their own career. Everyone. Actors more than most. In the beginning of an acting career, 90% of one’s time is spent looking for work, and an actor considers herself lucky to work 10% of the time.


Your biggest and best competition is yourself. Don’t compare.

Oh, yes, comparisons, to quote that obscure philosopher Fortescue, are odious. As an actor, you never know why you didn’t get the part. Any part. The reasons are legion and very rarely have anything to do your acting ability. Comparing yourself to others is simply self-defeating. Do something different.

You’re not a diva until they start to treat you like one. You don’t get to determine your diva status on your own.

Darlings, really. The Golden Rule applies on a set, in a television studio, on a stage, and in your life. Be nice to everyone just because it’s easier. Diva status is all about spin, hype and other intangibles which ultimately mean nothing. Don’t play diva—even if you are one. Play gracious, mannerly, timely, elegant.

Markus Flanagan has been a working actor for two decades. There must be a reason for this. Talent, of course, but also affability, easy to direct, mannerly. He’s writing to make sure that young actors don’t get bitter.

I’m still with songwriter Jana Stanfield on her album, Brave Faith.

Bitter or better?

The choice is up to you.

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About peacecorso

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Dr. Susan Corso is a spiritual author, speaker, and counselor. An omnifaith minister and the author of God’s Dictionary (Tarcher/Putnam 2002) and The Peace Diet, she has had a spiritual counseling practice for more than 25 years. She has been an intuitive since childhood. 
Susan’s blogosphere writing may be found at Seeds for Sanctuary, Ode Magazine and The Huffington Post, and Beliefnet. Her website is 

One of her favorite occupations is writing spiritual fiction. She is the author of The Healing Mysteries of Mex Stone under the pseudonym Shulamith Burton. The audiobook of the first in the series, Oklahoma! Hex, came out in September 2008.
Susan is the founder of Sanctuary and ten-year author/publisher of a free e-newsletter, Seeds. As a professor at the accredited College of Divine Metaphysics, she teaches and ordains ministers.
Susan has been published in magazines, online magazines and newsletters including Business Ethics,, Ode Magazine, Science of Mind, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, New York House, Q-Spirit, Self, and Winning Ways. She is the author of several tape series. Susan also writes for the theatre: The God Show, I Would Never, Fight or Flight, and PeaceWomen. 
For many years, Susan was an organizational consultant and motivational speaker guiding nuclear scientists as well as entrepreneurs into their life purposes. Some of her former clients include Westinghouse Hanford Company, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Gila River Casinos, and the American Nuclear Society, among many others.

Today she functions as Chief Spiritual Officer for corporations. She lives in one-sixth of a Victorian house outside of Boston, with her beloved spouse, director/actress/teacher Sheriden Thomas, and the spirit of her familiar cat, Charles of the Ritz. 
Her mission in life is peace.