(Acting Magazine Contributor, Author/
Distributor of YouMustAct CD Rom Technology)
Find more info on this author at YouMustAct.com
Here are 11 bottom line (absolutely necessary) habitual behaviors that every “pro” actor must possess.
YOU MUST BE ON TIME
If you can’t get anywhere on time now, you’d better learn how before you attempt the “real world” of an acting career.
On a big film, the money is going out the door at about 50 grand every 20 minutes. On a network TV show, the rate is only slightly less.
If you are an actor who is ten minutes late for a job that pays five hundred bucks – you will be heartily disliked by the producer and everybody that works for the producer. People will scream at you. If you are late for an audition, the casting director will worry that you won’t get the job on time.
Because the reality is this: if you’re late for a job, that casting director will also have people screaming at her. Understand? NEVER BE LATE.
YOU MUST BE ABLE TO WORK A LONG DAY
There is no such thing as an eight-hour day in an acting career. In forty years, I’ve had about 23 eight-hour days. And two of those were because somebody died. If you cannot work a long day, you are unsuited for success as an actor in professional show business. IT’S LO-O-NG HOURS.
YOU MUST BE AN EARLY RISER
I know it’s nice to laze around in bed when you’ve got a day off, but this is a habit no actor can afford. Grasp the idea that if you want to be in the movie or television business, you must be the kind of person who can get up at five in the morning. All the time. Period. If you work in the theatre, your early rising will fall about 10 AM – because you work into the night. But if you plan on working in “the industry” or “the business,” you’d do well to make early rising a life-long habit. WAKE UP THE ROOSTER.
YOU MUST BE A PLEASANT PERSON UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES
Early starts and long hours mean that you will be spending (on average) about half your life with co-workers. If you are a pain in the a@# – you will be heartily disliked by other people who are also working 12 hour days. Word will get around. It will be harder to get work. BE NICE.
YOU MUST LOVE THE WORK
You have to keep your “creative juices” flowing during the entire 12 hours. If you don’t love acting, being ‘on’ for 12 hours is impossible. Don’t forget why you are doing this. LOVE.
YOU MUST BE WELL-GROOMED AND CLEAN
You are not the part. Even the guys who play bikers and bums wear deodorant. The teeth are clean. The breath is pleasant. Etc. I know this seems nit-picky, but a co-worker who literally “stinks” will get a reputation and lose opportunities because of it. I’ve seen it happen. And when it comes to casting agents, who see hundreds of actors in a week – well, odors are their number one pet peeve – and heavy perfume or cologne both fall into this category. CLEANLINESS IS IMPORTANT.
YOU MUST NOT COMPLAIN (WITH ONE PROVISO)
Those actors on sets who complain about the dressing rooms, the food, the director, the co-star, the costume people, the hours, the script, or pretty much anything to do with the production – are labeled as “complainers” or a@#h*%s – and they are rarely appreciated or tolerated for very long.
Actors near the bottom of the ladder who think it’s “smart” to gripe about every little screw-up, are putting a bulls-eye on their butts. Don’t become one of those actors or you will find yourself near the bottom of the ladder for a long, long time.
Nobody reaches out to complainers. Nobody, including you, even likes complainers. Besides, complaining about circumstances doesn’t work. If you want to be thought of as someone NICE – DON’T COMPLAIN.
(The proviso to this is that you must never let anyone abuse or berate you – in those cases, complain to the authorities – loudly and often).
YOU MUST NOT SPREAD RUMORS
Rumor-mongering is the first sign of someone who isn’t really interested in the job at hand – someone so bored or so shallow that they must talk about other people, instead of concentrating on the acting job at hand. When you hear someone say, “Oh, I worked with (fill in the name of a movie star), he’s a pig.” – excuse yourself and go somewhere else. You do not want to be around this sort of person. 93.3 percent of all rumors are false. The other 6.7% are probably none of your business.
Again, actors who are rumor-mongers are labeled and eventually work dries up. Talk business, talk philosophy, talk about the weather – but avoid the temptation to talk about other people (except in the most glowing terms).
Watch the stars when they are asked about other performers. Have you ever heard a star say, “She’s an idiot.” No, they are always upbeat, positive, complimentary – because they know the rumor mill is a two way street. If avoiding this sort of thing is good behavior for stars (and most behave this way) then what’s stopping you from adopting the same habit? NO RUMORS.
DRUGS, DRINKING, AND SCREWING AROUND
I’m sure you know what people think of people who are more interested in sin than cinema. You will be labeled. People will not forget. Work will be harder to get. JUST SAY “NO THANK YOU.”
JEALOUSY AND BAD FEELINGS
Jealousy is one of the main causes of actors “messing up” on one of these crucial behaviors listed above. Jealousy leads to bad decisions. Bad decisions lead to bad results. And jealousy allows you to blame others for your results. You will begin to believe that things aren’t fair. You will begin to look for “reasons” for your lack of progress. They will, no doubt, be well argued reasons – but an excuse by any other name… is still an excuse.
Jealousy is a bad path – it’s a step on the wrong ladder– you’re on the wrong street – you’re a stranger in a strange land – GET A MAP.
The same goes for other “negative” emotional reactions. Self blame. Frustration. Fear. Anxiety. Worry.
This is business. “There’s no crying in baseball.”
Besides, wallowing in your emotional reaction slows down your forward progress toward your acting success.
GIVE GOOD VALUE FOR THE DOLLAR
When you habitually give 110% of your energy to your acting work – you will get more acting work.
It’s a mortal lock.
By Bob Fraser
(Acting Magazine Contributor, Author/Distributor of YouMustAct CD Rom Technology)
Find more info on this author at www.YouMustAct.com