These are highly advanced steps that even new and beginner actors can use for their acting career. Proceed with caution. This goes far beyond headshots, networking and basic marketing…
You may be a lot like me when I started out as an actor: learning everything the hard way, not fully understanding of what the industry is really like.
You may be feeling like you should already know about certain techniques and strategies to win auditions and jobs. There are just too many things you didn’t know and wish you could have saved years of time and loads of money and opportunities along the way.
Finally, you may start to wonder what you’re doing wrong. The stark truth is that the answers are available to you. There are strategies to build your relationships and get more auditions and jobs.
Proceed with Caution
This is high-level stuff, so proceed with caution. If you work with any of these strategies, the impact will be long-term, but it may not be easy. Caution ahead…
First, you can’t know what you don’t know… until you really want to find out. It sounds obvious, but it isn’t until you tear the blinders off and see the light. It’s what got you to this page and started you reading this.
You’re like every actor who has found me. You’re now ready to invest your time and money because you experience one or more of four things: frustration, impatience, uncertainty or ambition.
These are fantastic indicators that you are not working at the level that you are capable of, and that you have far more to give.
These are dynamic, positive emotional indicators, even though most actors don’t enjoy them and view them as negative. In business terms, they are your gold.
Let me explain.
Three of these are inherently pain-inducing feelings. Frustration, impatience and uncertainty feel negative, right? Who’s jumping for joy or laughing raucously when they feel uptight, confused or like you’re spinning your wheels?
When you experience seemingly negative emotions like this, you have two options.
Most of us just distract ourselves and self-medicate.
How much TV do you watch? Enough excuses about it being research for staying abreast of the business! You know what I’m talking about…
How much alcohol do you drink or weed do you smoke? Believe me, I’m no teetotaler, but if your ratio of self-medicating to creating work is not 1:10 – let alone 1:2! – it’s time for an upgrade.
This self-distraction path is Option One.
I’d Like Option Two, Please
Option Two is just as easy, but usually undiscussed.
When seemingly negative emotions surface, they are indications that you are constraining yourself in some area.
It’s time to break out of your previous level of ability and jump up to the next level. Even if this is incremental, taking the steps to move forward and change is the healthy, dynamic, and growth-centric way to approach this.
It is also asks you to take a wonderful amount of responsibility and action into your own hands and make things happen. Throw that passivity out the window! Time to find the hang-glider and go for a spin.
Here’s a perfect example.
I had a strange, but not unusual, conversation recently. An actor contacted me because he had plateau’d and was uncertain what the next steps were.
And pretty soon, it became clear that he didn’t want to do the work necessary to run his business. He wanted it all handed to him on a big Baroque platter. He wanted to be offered roles.
I get it! Most everyone wants something totally gifted to them now and then.
However, I also know how the ego sabotages the best of us. I could hear his ego putting up protective armor in the best way it knows how. I love his ego and long stories even more than he does. But it’s no longer serving him.
The best part – and there pretty much always is one – is that he already knew what was necessary, and had the solution.
We discussed how even the most “successful” professional actors who work at the level of celebrity still have to fulfill obligations to their team, do marketing activities, and execute a business plan for there to be a profit.
Here’s the easy reality: until you are a well-loved series regular or principal in films whom the audience clamours for, you will need to market your service in a big, targeted, specific way. And that’s only one part of a bigger business plan to create and produce a consistent profit.
When the Shit Hits the Fan
Take a deep breath. I said this was advanced. Here’s the truth: for every hour of film and TV work that you perform on, there may be dozens of hours of marketing to get there. Probably more. That’s actually your job, just as much as the craft of acting on stage/set is.
So this is Option 2. Acknowledge this sooner than later, and start building relationships that propel you upward. Every day counts! Today alone matters, so make it count!
Let’s talk about the fourth experience I mentioned at the top: ambition.
Sometimes, new or breakout actors are purely ambitious.
They are ready to do whatever it takes, meet whomever they choose, and put themselves out there in a way that is clear, exciting and full of charisma.
And the truth is: they are like unicorns. Most people don’t fall into this category. Most people work from the other three emotions. It’s all good. Wherever you’re coming from, wherever you are right now, it’s the perfect place. Because it’s your truth.
So let’s start there. Don’t fight it! Acknowledge it and USE IT!
- Take stock of what’s actually going on for yourself. Give yourself some quiet space and a good chunk of time, and ask yourself: How am I frustrated, impatient or uncertain about in my acting career? Explore the ways that you feel tight, and keep asking yourself specifically what ideas are triggering that tightness.
- Celebrate and thank yourself for giving yourself the indicators that it’s time to change and grow. Learn something new about yourself. This is the fun part, and usually completely bizarre to people. All feelings are there to serve you, if you let them. Most of us don’t. We try pushing them away if we don’t like them. This is how you untie the knots directly without years of therapy and wasted hours and dollars of self-medicating.
- Ask yourself what the next steps are. If you cannot create a full plan that has goals, timelines and accountability built into it, email me immediately to figure out how to start doing this consistently. If you skip asking yourself this question, and make random decisions that form no plan, you will continue to waste both time and money. If you do this once or twice and the goals are still elusive, ask me for help directly. Enough is enough, you’re better than that! Let’s get you into the spotlight.