In today’s post, I am sharing 10 great tips for actors that I think are absolutely spot on, and align with the teaching principals we share at our Seattle studio. My social media of choice is Twitter, and today I stumbled upon a Twitter thread from talent manager Anthony Boyer of DDO Artists Agency. Connect with Mr. Boyer here on Twitter.
Wherever you are at in your acting journey, these tips and reminders are absolutely critical for success. And, remember, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
“1.Everyone is Right. And wrong.
There is no shortage of people giving you advice. Reps, teachers, other actors, friends, family. Everyone thinks they are an expert on your job, and maybe some of them are, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the well-meaning advice. There is no one path forward in this industry. Take what works for you and leave the rest behind. Cultivate confidence that you know what’s best for you, and when you do need advice, you have a handful of mentors from whom you can draw.
2. Auditions are the job.
Let’s face it: You didn’t become an actor so that you could sit in traffic going to the Westside at 5pm, or to park six blocks away from your audition and walk during a hot July afternoon. You got into acting because you liked acting, not auditioning. You’ll audition far more than you will ever book, so find a way to love it. Whether it’s self-tape or in-person, learn to find the fun, and then when it’s over, congratulate yourself on finishing the job, and move on to the next one. Everything else is out of your hands.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Someone in your class will book a series. That guy you run into at the gym will be in a Marvel movie. Your roommate will book a SAG national that runs all the time. These things happen to everyone. Don’t panic, and don’t get resentful. You’re doing great, and your time will come. There’s no timeline to this job. Samuel L. Jackson didn’t do Pulp Fiction until he was 45. Betty White was 51 when she booked The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Stick to the process and do the work.
4. Lift up and celebrate others.
When the people around you do get those jobs that make you rage with jealousy, turn that energy around and use it to lift them up. Use your voice to spread positivity and light, and to be a cheerleader for the people in the trenches with you. We only move forward in this industry together. It is a collaborative pursuit, and when you’re putting joy and positivity into the world, it gets noticed and it gets returned. Then, when it’s your turn to join them in the spotlight, they’ll return the favor.
Say the word ‘network’ and most actors cringe. They imagine slick Hollywood parties filled with would-be ‘producers’ giving hard sales pitches. What if I told you that you could never meet another person in your life and still be a master networker? Networking is relationship maintenance. Make time each week to talk to your industry contacts. Your short film director or scene study co-star. Speak to them not as someone looking for a job, but as a fellow artist and collaborator. Take a real interest in their journeys.
6. Your vibe attracts your tribe.
LA and NY are big cities. It’s easy to feel lost, or like the world is whizzing past you. At the same time, it’s easy to feel like everyone has an ulterior motive. It’s important to find a handful of close friends and confidants. Align yourself with people who will cheer you on, celebrate your successes, and help you forget your failures. We are social creatures and this is a social industry. It’s good to build a handful of allies with whom you can occasionally be vulnerable.
7. Treat your business like a business.
When you decided to become a professional actor, you became the owner of a small business. You have a product (your acting) that you want to sell in certain markets (television, film, stage, etc.). Chances are, someone who relied on their employees to package and sell their product wouldn’t be in business very long. Always be working on and for your own business, and not hoping your agent and manager are going to do the heavy lifting. There’s a reason they only make 10%.
8. Be someone people want to work with.
Look at your favorite actor’s career. Chances are, they built it on repeat business: Working with the same directors, producers, and casting directors. We all want to work with people we know and trust. Sets can be tense. Having people who can deliver under pressure is important. Be one of those people. Don’t hide in your trailer. Cultivate a curiosity for the people and the work, but know when to stay out of the way, as well. Do good work, and be a solution, not a problem.
9. Stop asking for permission.
90% of the questions I hear from actors revolve around some form of the phrase, “Is it okay if I.” Dye my hair red, leave town during pilot season, submit to Agent X, etc. All business owners must make strong decisions. It’s okay to ask what your advisors think the consequences of an action might be, but you still must make the ultimate choice. Build your career around your life, not vice versa. Take the trip, get the haircut, join the class. Stay adaptable and in control, and you’ll do great.
10. Consume more content. Most actors don’t watch enough content. Film, TV, standup, sketch comedy, improv, theatre, even TikTok. Try to watch as much as you can, but don’t take it in passively. Pay attention to what you like and don’t like, and think about why. Who is creating the content that resonates with you? Keep track of writers, directors, producers, showrunners. Cultivate a list of names you would like to collaborate with. After all, you want them to know your name, don’t you?”
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