A burning question most emerging Actors have, the one your Mom probably asks you, is why do so many talented actors never get the chance to use their talent, many seeming to never even get out of the starting gate? The simple answer is that no one tells them how to attain their creative goals, establish artistic credibility and how to build a professional acting career. They don’t have the core, required information, that working blueprint they can follow to get an acting career off the ground in a sustainable way so many of those talented actors, often the smartest ones, decide they won’t even try because they refuse to set themselves up for failure. Others bluster ahead and feel like they may be going in the right direction and gaining momentum for a time, but inevitably hit roadblocks that cost them in big ways. Usually, to the point that it pulls the rug out from under anything they might have achieved so far. I see this a lot with people who get an agent or manager to submit them a couple of times, often for parts cast mainly on physical appearance or age - though the actor may not know that, and maybe they book something once or twice, and then they get nothing else and the agency or manager drops them. A little bit of forward motion that ends up hurting you because you now have to explain why that agency dropped you to the agents and managers you try to get to represent you next.
You don’t want to go down a path of very predictable trials and errors, chipping away at your creative, financial and emotional capital until you feel used up and hopeless about ever realizing your dreams. You can’t just decide to get headshots one day, slap a scene you’ve done four or five times in class on a reel and put it on the internet or send it to some agents and think anything real will come of that. That isn’t a career plan its a chore list. To get yourself off that well worn path of futility and go from struggle to progress right away you need to:
Get Industry-savvy guidance so you can begin to plan out your career goals in a real way because saying I just want to be in something is the kiss of death. It shows that you know nothing about the industry and are probably not in it for the long haul. Frankly its what fame whores and fools say.
Don’t solicit or accept advice from people who aren’t actively working in the industry. This includes family, significant others and your friends.
Learn to identify advertorials and promotions in the trades - this goes for schools too! Just because they have a celeb alum or former client has no bearing on the present.
Stop looking for shortcuts and wishing for silver bullets
Make and embrace necessary changes.
It can take a little time to get a handle on how any industry really works and who the reliable professionals are at each rung of the ladder but you have to find the right people to advise and mentor you and you will make mistakes along the way. Just don’t fall for the idea that one connection, one agent, one gig, one chance will put your acting career where you want it to be. It’s all a building process so make sure your foundation is solid.
Next, get professional performance level coaching - this is what establishes your artistic credibility. This is absolutely crucial. This is not where you skimp in terms of your time or your financial investment:
Private Coaching is more intense and demanding but yields the best results.
Understand that College and Conservatory training rarely translates to performance level work when you’re out in the real world.
Learn how to audition, ace callbacks and interviews - that means learning how to break down a scene or commercial copy on the spot and then apply your deeper work, through those choices, to the script at hand. It means learning how to improvise and incorporate adjustments and make clear choices on a dime that bring you and what’s uniquely you to the fore. It means doing Performance Level work. The work done in class isn’t usually at that level. It means knowing what a successful agency interview or go see is like and practicing those as well. Yes, you can actually practice for interviews! (It took me forever to learn to interview - here’s a secret, shorter is better
DIlligently and consistently put in the required capital (time, effort and money) consistently on a continuing basis its the only way to sustain a professional career:
To achieve performance level work, you must practice four to five times a week as well as read and view. This is your investment of time
Marketing your talent requires creation of a plan of action and the time commitment to see it through. This is your investment of effort
This is a career not a crash diet. It isn’t going to happen in six weeks or six months. You must learn how to finance your career costs. This is your investment of money
There really are no short cuts to building a sustainingand fulfilling acting career. What may seem like a lucky break is usually the sum total of all the work done before. As Actors, we have to live Shakespeare’s words from Troilus and Cressida, joy’s soul lies in the doing.