7 Insights for Actors

*Don’t read if you’re not down with some cursing.*

I walked by this art installation again today and the way the sun was hitting it was so beautiful. The artist, Liz West, had a vision and she saw it through. She stayed the course and took an idea, a dream that was uniquely her own and facilitated all of the necessary elements to see it to fruition.  Now those of us that walk by and view it,  get to pause for a moment and drink in some color and vibrance.

Of course, my eye is drawn to the purple, and I think of our community at ActorPlaybook. I think of how as actors we all begin with this idea, this dream to act. We have our own individual idea of what success looks like that is uniquely our own. Then we must figure out the necessary elements to see our dream also bloom to fruition. We soon realize there is no clearly defined route and actors who achieve what we consider success all often reach it by taking very different creative paths. This is both one of the magical and incredibly frustrating aspects of our industry. You can be in your 30’s or 40’s and dive into a few classes, be represented and start booking while some actors who have been at it for years are navigating a long lull without bookings  and only crickets from their submissions. The scenarios are endless.

Though there are many variables on this career path as an actor, yet there are a few things I know to be true based on my years navigating it. 

Work begets work.

Being busy is cyclical.

Community is essential.

Consistently working on the craft is key.

Do your due diligence when researching both castings and anyone who wants to take your money for a class, a workshop or to learn “their technique”.

Don’t take directions from someone who hasn’t been where you want to go.

Don’t take to heart opinions from those who aren’t down in the ring with you.

Work begets work.

This is very true. Relationships can often be the jet fuel for forward momentum in your acting career. Do good work. Don’t be a douche. Your work on your auditions, your work on-set, your communication, your preparedness, your ability to follow directions, your flexibility, your professionalism and your individual craftsmanship all are essential to your career growth. Everyone you meet takes note of ALL OF IT. 

Being busy is cyclical. Community is essential. Consistently working on your craft is key.

This first one is a tough one to learn. Especially the first go round. When you are experiencing a flurry of momentum and the auditions are rolling in every week, when you have projects booked, wardrobe fittings to schedule and lines to learn for your upcoming shoot day. This all  feels like dopamine is your new best friend and each day pumps with birthday or Christmas morning energy. Then when it all shudders to a halt and you feel akin to a disheveled host who is left staring at the remnants of your party where all their guests left in a hurry for a different one, but you weren’t invited. You organize your things again, you check your email, you scroll through your social media and try not to let the post-booking blues swallow you whole. This is where your community becomes your life raft. A lot of them have navigated this space before and will remind you that if you continue to put in the work, you will have momentum again. It may not happen as fast as you want it to or exactly how you want it, but it will circle back to you again if you stay the course. Your community will help you keep your acting muscles in shape by working scenes in class together, they will be there to read with you when you want to put a scene on tape for practice, they will remind you what you bring to the table when you’ve forgotten, they will cry with you and they will laugh with you. They become the well that nourishes you amidst a seemingly vast and barren landscape you will often find yourself traversing in this industry.

Do your due diligence when researching both castings and anyone who wants to take your money for a class, a workshop or to learn “their technique”. Don’t take directions from someone who hasn’t been where you want to go.

There’s a lot of shady shit and shady characters in this world. We all know that. What’s really shady and shitty are people who see an actor who wants an opportunity to be seen, to create and to do what they love as someone to be taken advantage of. Please always do your research. See a casting online? Research the production. Ask your community if they have worked with anyone on the team before. See a class or workshop that you think will be the $150 to $1500 answer to unlocking your career? One, that is not an educated plan. Two, please take a deep breath and pause to think before pulling out your wallet. Yes, consistently training is absolutely a must for all actors who want to further their careers. That being said, many of us don’t have a trust fund to tap for every workshop or class we want to enroll in. 

Be strategic.  Want to take a CD workshop? Which CD’s cast your target shows in your target market? Do THEY offer classes? If you don’t know, start researching and getting more focused. Be smart. Want to enroll in a training program? Is it long-term? Does it offer you consistent practice from a variety of instructors and methods? Does it work with your budget? The list goes on. There are many self-named gurus out there who will gladly take your cash and attempt to bestow their vast knowledge and expertise on any and all actors who are new with stars in their eyes or others who are in a lull and dragging around some underdog energy. Ask yourself, “Have they been where I  want to go?”.  Ask your community for referrals to classes that really resonated with them. One-size definitely does not fit all and most often a combination of techniques and classes are what will strengthen your instrument over time.

Don’t take to heart opinions from those who aren’t down in the ring with you.

Read that again. The world is full of critics, keyboard emboldened “aficionados” who have a flurry of opinions to throw without ever actually attempting the very thing they are pouring their personal  judgment all over. It takes a vast amount of vulnerability and bravery to be an actor. To be an artist. To share your work. To post or perform your work  in a public space. Those of us who are “doing”  understand that, respect what that entails and are supportive of one another.

I  hope you hold tight to your vision of what being a successful actor looks like specifically for you. I hope you do your art.

Much love,

Jami

Related Articles

Responses

Your email address will not be published.