There are currently six ongoing classes at the studio. During every class, I am committed to do all I can to give my students the tools they need to give the best performance they are capable of giving.
In addition to acting tips, I also try to impart on them advice that will, hopefully, help them navigate the business side of the business. Below are my top ten ideas for staying productive, sane and happy in a business that is often anything but.
1. Love the process. I think, like most things, if something doesn’t bring one joy, don’t do it. Because there are so many people an actor must get a “yes” from before someone hands them a paycheck, I think it’s important to love the process in order to endure it.
2. Get in class and stay in class. There are a multitude of skills an actor should master in order to keep getting auditions, callbacks and jobs. A short list includes, Audition Technique, Cold Reading, Scene Study, Improv, Voice Over, Movement. The only excuse for not being in some sort of class is being on set and working. An actor’s body, heart and soul comprises their instrument. As such, just like a concert pianist, actors must practice constantly to remain competitive.
3. Get good at hearing “no.” Rejection is a big part of an actor’s life. For any acting gig, there can be anywhere from fifty to thousands of actors submitted. I often tell actors that the people making a film, TV show or commercial are artists putting together all the needed elements to make their work of art. Just like a painter, they know the texture, colors, and materials they need to create their masterpiece. An actor can be doing great work, have the best audition ever and still not get cast in a role. They shouldn’t take it personally. It just means they aren’t the right shade or red, blue, yellow or green the artist needs at this time.
4. Network! I once read that it’s not who you know, it’s who you know who likes you. People can only get to like you once they spend time with you and know that they want to have you around.
5. Become adept at social media. I post a fair amount of our scene work on Instagram and Facebook and am always delighted to hear about jobs my actors have booked by being seen on these platforms.
6. Learn to say “no.” Just because someone flatters an actor by offering them a role, if it isn’t a role that the actor is excited about, can gain experience from, or advance their career, they should pass on it.
7. Know where you fit. I’m not sure the reason, but there is something about acting that can skew a person’s perception of themselves and how others see them. If an actor is a leading lady or leading man, they need to know it and own it. If they will only book young mom roles, they need to know it, etc. No actor can play every role. While Meryl Streep can play just about any character, even she has her limits. It’s great when the characters an actor wants to play are aligned with the roles they audition for and actually book. When there is a disconnect, time will be wasted and feelings will get hurt. As an actor ages, these roles will, of course, change.
8. Be realistic about what’s possible. An actor’s location, age, appearance, family situation, financial circumstances, work ethic, luck and a hundred other variables will all contribute to how successful they may or may not become.
9. Surround yourself with a great team. In addition to having good coaches, actors will also need an agent, possibly a manager, maybe a lawyer or a publicist. It is vital that an actor selects people who are on the same page as the actor in terms of career goals and plans, but also want the actor’s success as much as the actor.
Have something else that keeps you from being too consumed.Passion is great but in order to be a well-rounded actor who can actually bring something to a part, actors need to experience other people and the world.It’s also nice to have a distraction or two to keep from reliving every audition or obsessing about every rejection.