Self-aggrandizement is but one of the working actor’s many professional survival skills, just as it is in other lines of work I guess, particularly those that offer as little job security – meaning none whatsoever – as theatre does. It’s all about me at auditions, all about me when I’m chatting up the people who hire, or the people who influence the people who hire. And if I give the impression that I’m interested in what you’re saying about you, it’s only because I hear in what you’re saying an opportunity to say something even more interesting about me.
We shift out of this gear with difficulty, some of us, sometimes with great difficulty. The wolf and the sheepdog spend their cartoon workday trying to kill each other, but part friends when the whistle blows. “Good night, Sam,” says one. “Good night, Ralph,” says the other. That’s not us.
Because I’m aware of these tendencies in myself, I try to keep them in check. Because I’m aware of these tendencies in others, I try to be tolerant. But there are times when the best I can do is grit my teeth and walk away.