Let’s be honest. Being an actor is exhausting. Rarely is it the glitz and glamor of Hollywood dreams. There’s classes, performances, day jobs, networking, auditions, more classes, a social life, more auditions… There’s family (and strangers) asking the dreaded “so what have you been in that I have seen?”, or worse: “how’s that ‘acting thing’ going?”. At times it seems burn out is unavoidable.
But our acting journey is made up of more than just bookings and rejections. There is much to celebrate about being an actor and it’s these surprising tiny victories that carry us through to our next gig.
1. Getting An Audition
Unless I’m acting in David Auburn’s Proof, I don’t spend much time thinking about numbers. But if you do take a moment to think about them and realize just how many actors there are in your market alone, you’ll quickly discover that getting an audition — regardless of outcome — is a win. It’s a huge win. Of the hundreds or thousands of actors who submitted for a role, you were called in. You stood out enough to be considered!
The outcome of your audition is ultimately out of your hands and there are many reasons why a person does or does not get a role. Maybe you’re too tall. Maybe you look too much like the lead. Maybe you don’t look enough like the lead. None of these are things you have any control over. All you have control over is showing up and doing good work — and that’s all casting directors ask! This is why it’s important to keep your skills sharp. You can keep your skills sharp with online classes at LSTFI so that, no matter where in the world you are, you can remember that you are an actor.
So remember that getting into the room and being seen means taking one step closer to booking that gig. Celebrating that win certainly helps take the pressure off (at least a little)!
2. Having Your Materials Together
Headshot? Check. Correctly formatted resume? Check. Strong demo reel? Check. Updated and accurate Actor’s Access profile (or Backstage, or Casting Networks, or, or or)? Check. Congratulations! You are already a step or two ahead of a LOT of actors.
Though this barely scratches the surface of things you need prepared and readily available for your acting career, having all your required materials together shows casting directors that you mean business and lets them get to know you as a performer before you even set foot into the audition room.
After all, an accountant who forgets their calculator is not someone you want doing your taxes and a surgeon who misplaces their scalpel is not someone you want operating on you. An actor is no exception; an unprepared actor is not someone you want to spend eight weeks of rehearsal with. Therefore, coming prepared is the best and most responsible act you can do as a performer. Besides, it’s one less thing to worry about so you can spend more time analyzing and memorizing sides and getting a good night’s sleep before the big audition day! The peace of mind that comes with having all your materials ready to go is definitely a win!
3. Setting Healthy Boundaries
There is a lie that says you must say “yes” to everything as an actor. I’m not sure where it started, but it’s time we put it to rest. You never have to accept a role that violates your boundaries, goes against your ethics, or puts you in danger. Sometimes, saying “no” can be such a relief and, in fact, a win.
The pressure to say “yes” to everything can be nothing short of overwhelming. It can make an actor dread going to set, feel guilty for turning down work, even put them in an unprofessional environment. Part of being an actor is listening– not just to our scene partners, but to our own bodies. If something in your gut is telling you that an acting job “isn’t right” for you, you are allowed to politely decline and walk away. Chances are, you dodged a bullet, and it is far better to be safe than sorry.
4. Taking Classes
‘Acting’ is a verb. It is what actors do. If you are enrolled in classes, you are acting. If you are acting, you are an actor.
It can be tempting to measure our acting success by dollar signs and IMDb credits. However, it’s not the truest measure of success. Growing as an actor is success. Working your Sense Memory muscles is success. Trying out a new skill like writing, improv, or singing is success.
It’s not getting a paycheck that makes you an actor; it’s acting. And being an actor is definitely a win worth celebrating.