5 Ways Actors Fail 

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  • 5 Ways Actors Fail

    Avoid these 5 key mistakes

    (By Kesha Tyler)


    (Photo: Mike van Schoonderwalt)

    Do actors fail because a casting director chose a different actor for a major role? Do they fail because they struggle to find good representation? Do they fail because they lack talent?

    The fact is, all actors encounter these same kinds of obstacles. All actors are turned down by casting directors or agents or managers. And although talent can affect an actor’s chances for success, this industry is replete with talented actors who never make it big and average actors who are superstars.

    When an actor fails, it’s usually an internal failure more than an external one. Here are 5 common ways actors fail.

    #1: They quit too soon 


    (Photo: Anete Lusina | Pexels)

    The average actor doesn’t begin their career with a 20-year plan. Most don’t even have a 2-year plan.

    For these starry-eyed actors, success is supposed to be easy. They are pretty. They trained at an elite theatre program. They were the best actor at their high school.

    So, they can’t understand why, after one year, they haven’t booked a single guest star role on television. They soon lose confidence or lose their motivation, and they quit.

    What these actors should have understood is that it takes most actors many years to land the right opportunity, no matter how talented and pretty they are. You have to be in it for the long haul. Expecting success too quickly is a recipe for an early, and premature, exit from the business.

    #2: They fail to change 

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

    (Thomas A. Edison)

    Most actors see failure as a reason to quit. They don’t see failure as a reason to *change*. They see themselves as the reason they’re not having success, so they don’t even bother to change anything.

    But what if they did? What if they saw failure as a reason to get new headshots or a new agent or a new look or to try a new approach?

    It may take time to find your niche in the industry. Maybe you’ll find your greatest success in commercials, even though your dream was to be a movie star. Maybe you’re not the leading-lady-type you thought you were but you’ll end up finding success as the quirky-best-friend-type.

    When things aren’t working, most actors quit, when what they really should do is to change some things to try and get a different result.

    #3: They go cheap 

    Yes, there are many stories of actors moving to LA or NY with only $300 in their pockets, and they went on to become famous. But that doesn’t mean that it was a good, sound plan. They just happened to get lucky. That is, of course, if the story is really true. People have a tendency to exaggerate those kinds of stories, after all.

    Don’t go cheap! Don’t move to a big city without some money saved. Don’t get cheap headshots. Don’t go cheap on getting your demo reel.

    That doesn’t mean you have to go bankrupt. Just be willing to spend when necessary. You’re not bargain shopping for a new pair of shoes, you’re investing in a career you hope to have for the rest of your life!

    #4: They go it alone 


    (Photo: Anete Lusina | Pexels)

    Your journey is made all the more treacherous when you go it alone. It helps to have people who can help shoulder the emotional, financial and psychological burdens of being a struggling actor.

    Seek out friendships with other actors. Enlist the support of your family. Find mentors to guide you. Turn to God, if you are a religious person. Just don’t make the mistake of trying to do it all by yourself.

    #5: They lose their love for the craft 

    Acting school trains you to act. They never train you to handle rejection. There is no “Rejection Class” that you’re required to take in your theatre program. You take that class at the school of hard knocks.

    How many rejections does it take before you begin to lose your love for the craft? How many failed auditions does it take before you stop being the ambitious dreamer and start being the perpetual complainer? You must not let the rigors of the business cause you to lose your love for the craft.

    So, there you have it, folks! Don’t quit too soon, be willing to change things up, don’t be cheap, don’t fly solo and never, ever, ever lose your love for the craft!


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