- Talk to your family
Most people have preconceived ideas about the nature of the entertainment industry, the life of actors and the probability of getting work, which, if true, would cause concern to any caring family member of an aspiring actor. As such, many actors have to deal with scepticism and negativity from (albeit well-intentioned) loved ones. You may even feel that your family has zero faith in your ability to act and prosper as an actor. Some actors use this as motivation, to prove their family wrong. Others find it debilitating.
If your family doesn’t support your career choice – and you are sure that this is your true calling - don’t let it get you down or dissuade you. Take comfort in the fact that their heart is in the right place and get on with taking the necessary steps to succeed and safeguard you from the potential risks. If you seek them out, you’ll be able to find the encouragement and support you need from other actors, friends, teachers and fellow students. There are also networking events and social media groups where you can connect with other actors and other film industry members.
- Constantly compare yourself to other actors
Actors can be supportive and encourage one another, but they can also feel competitive with each other. Some actors will get breaks that you did not and may become successful while you are still struggling to get an audition. You may want to feel happy for them, but you may also feel envious and frustrated that you haven’t been as fortunate. However, comparing yourself to someone else is an inaccurate measuring stick, and it can erode your self-esteem and send you into depression.
Try to resist the urge to compare yourself to other actors, and instead be happy for their success, as you would want others to be happy for you if you were in their place. Everyone has different life circumstances and different paths. You are on your own unique journey, and it may take longer or go in a different direction.
- Undervalue your expertise
While it’s important as an actor to be realistic and not out price yourself from a great opportunity, it is equally important that you don’t undersell yourself. Desperation and naivety have caused many an actor to take roles that are underpaid and overexploited. This is particularly the case in the area of TVCs, which may even restrict you from taking other work. If you are not wise to these things and confident in your acting techniques, you might find yourself living a life of poverty, while other people are profiting from your labour.
- Pin the success of your career on one project
Yes, plenty of aspiring actors who have wasted literally years and pinned all of their hopes on getting one role. Perhaps they have made contact with a particular film producer who has shown interest in them, or even offered them a role in a film they have in development. This may sound promising, but the cold hard facts of this industry are that film projects are on average in development for eight years and may be postponed or put on hold for even longer. And the vast, vast majority of them will never get made at all.
So the message here is not to put all of your eggs into one basket. This is a numbers game and the key to getting a decent amount of work, at least early on in your career, is to go after everything (that’s suitable). There are plenty of opportunities out there that they will not know or hear about and which you can apply to yourself. And don’t limit yourself to one marketplace or field; look for work in other states and countries and in other fields (such as voiceover, corporate etc). There are plenty of opportunities out there for the actors who make the effort to find them.
- Set unachievable or overwhelming goals
Unfortunately, you can’t predict the future. But every time you set a goal, you try to do it. You try to plan out where we will be and when you will make it there, even though you have no idea what circumstances or situations will arise along the way.
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