10 Tips for Beginning Actors
10 things every beginning actor needs to know…
(By Javier Guerra)
If you’re new to the business, welcome! You’ve chosen an exciting, and sometimes miserable, profession.
There are lots of potholes on the road to a successful acting career. To make your ride a little less bumpy, take a moment to read these ten tips for beginning actors.
#1: Expect a wild ride!
This is a wild business! It’s wild in the sense that there are no hard-and-fast rules for how to become successful. What works for one actor may not work for you, and vice versa.
Knowing this should be a little discouraging. But it should also be exciting because it means that there are many different paths to success! It also means that you are always one audition, one meeting, one chance encounter away from superstardom.
#2: Forget about fame
As the late Philip Seymour Hoffman once said:
“Study, find all the good teachers and study with them, get involved in acting to act, not to be famous or for the money. It’s not worth it if you’re just in it for the money. You have to love it.”
Or as Emma Thompson put it:
“Don’t ever desire to be a star. Fame is a byproduct of what you do. It’s just an accident. What you do, you must do because you love it.”
Bottom line: you cannot control fame. It’s a miraculous occurrence. Keep your mind on your craft, not on becoming famous.
#3: Seek mentors
(Photo: Rodnae Productions | Pexels)
As a new actor, you’ve got lots to learn about this business. Things like:
*Who are the major players?
*Who are the scammers and bad people to avoid?
*Where’s a good place to get my headshots?
*What’s the proper way to approach an agent for representation?
You can choose to learn these basic lessons on your own. But for faster – and less painful – results, find a mentor and pick their brains. If you can’t find a mentor, read lots and lots of books as a substitute.
#4: Expect ebbs and flows
Be prepared for the highs and the lows, the hot and the cold. Be prepared for the peaks and the valleys. Be prepared for the ebbs and the flows. Whichever cliché you prefer…
Your acting career is likely to have short bursts of plenty, followed by long stretches of drought. It’s truly a feast or famine game. No actor quits during a feast. It’s the famine that can kill your dream, if you’re not prepared for it.
#5: Stay in class
(Photo: Cottonbro | Pexels)
Stay committed to training. Don’t assume that you no longer need training because you graduated from a great performing arts program.
You always need training to keep your skills in tip top shape. So, keep training. Always!
#6: Your path will not be linear
Your career will not go up in a straight line, the way it does in other professions. So, you must never develop a sense of entitlement just because you land a role on a TV show or in a national commercial.
Successes don’t always build on themselves in this business. Just because you land a “big one” doesn’t entitle you to more.
#7: Build relationships
(Photo: Fauxels | Pexels)
A big part of your plan should be relationship-building. This is a business of “what you know”. But it’s also a business of “who you know”.
The best actors don’t always get the job. Actors who know the right people have an easier path to success than those who do not.
#8: Don’t take “No” too harshly
Do you realize how many actors have been told they’ll never make it, only to go on and make it? Do you realize that some of your favorite actors had terrible auditions and looked like horrible actors to the casting director who was viewing them at the time?
Being told “No” is not a permanent indictment of your talent, in this business. It’s a momentary assessment that can easily become “Yes” in the future, if you keep working hard at your craft.
#9: Create your own content
(Photo: George Milton | Pexels)
We don’t live in the 70’s and 80’s anymore, where an actor’s only hope of working was to seek opportunity from others. Today, we live in a world where actors can CREATE opportunity for themselves.
And bonus, it’s not that expensive to do it! How much does it cost to write a funny scene, film it with your l-Phone and broadcast it on TikTok or YouTube to thousands, even millions, of people? Over time, you can build your own fanbase and even make a living at it.
Some actors who have done that have gone on to achieve amazing success. They made their own success by creating their own content. You can do it, too!
#10: Never give up
This business is HARD! You can’t just quit when you hit a rough patch. You’ve got to be willing to endure. Even when it’s difficult. Even when it feels impossible.
If acting is what you believe you were put on this earth to do, then never, never, never give up!
You Might Also Like:
The Power of Positive Thinking