Acting is not a career for the timid. It’s also one of the most rewarding careers in the world. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of money in it to start out, because of the paying your dues concept.
1. Work and Timing
In the past, we all received advice like ‘have something to fall back on!’ That kind of advice made sense in the past, but in today’s shaky economy and unsure future, there’s no such thing as a sure thing anymore. This is a worldwide problem that is probably only going to get worse with the continued automation of jobs, but what it does mean for those in the creative sector is that there’s never been a better time to throw chance to the wind and pursue your dreams. Don’t quit your day job, of course; you do need some kind of gainful employment while you are attending auditions, but it’s no longer worthwhile to sink years of time and money into a different ‘fall-back’ career that may never pay off.
2. Make Your Own Way
Nowadays, our access to technology is unprecedented. It’s important to attend auditions, but it’s also a time where making our own films is possible. Just about anyone can purchase an inexpensive DSLR camera and put something together with friends or film school students. If you’re an actor who can write, that’s even better. Creating your own work will give you material for a showreel and you can start building your repertoire from there. Even if you want to become a professional theatre artist rather than work onscreen, a showreel is a vital part of your arsenal.
3. On Stage, On Set
Talent will only get you so far. If you have a reputation for being difficult to work with, your career will be dead in the water before you’ve even begun. This does not extend to things like harassment or abuse, which no one should put up with at any time. However, it’s important that you show up on time to auditions, rehearsals, and performances, be willing to work hard and listen to the director, and get along with the cast and crew. No one likes to deal with a large ego, and even some of the world’s most rich and famous actors are still humble, reliable people.
An actor is never truly finished with their training. Take as many courses as you can, get feedback, or sign up with a personal acting coach to learn nuance. Good acting is based on believable performances, and all actors can stand to learn something regardless of what stage they are in their careers. Networking is also a vital tool for actors that is often an after-thought.
One of the most famous pieces of advice for any actor is there are no small roles. This is true, because all kinds of experience can be a learning opportunity. Additionally, if you have impressed the director with your performance, reliability, and lack of ego regarding larger parts, you may find that they remember you and will offer you a more substantial role in the future.
Are you a budding actor? Let us know how far you’ve progressed in the comments section below.