I was recently speaking with some actors about why they thought most aspiring actors don’t achieve their dreams. These actors agreed that finding work was the big issue. Whilst I absolutely agree that finding and sustaining work to pays the bills can be very difficult, it goes a little deeper as to why most aspiring actors never make it.
Let me explain…
I believe that if you are savvy and keep marketing yourself appropriately to your target market, whilst also having the acting skills to back up your business strategies you can find work. I also firmly believe that if you want to take complete control of your career you can create your own work. You only have to look at the fringe scenes in Manchester/London or look at the likes of Ricky Gervais’ career. I’m not saying it’s easy, but if you learn the right skills it is doable.
Why most aspiring actors never make it
There’s a spark behind most aspiring actors eyes when they talk about their love for acting. They feel free, it’s the one thing they never get bored of, they love delving into other people’s lives etc… If a career could survive on love alone almost all actors would have made it by now. Of course we know that’s not how it works.
I often find there’s an idea of the love for it, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty of actually making an acting career happen, this is where the problems start to surface for those not well equipped to turn their love into a career.
Finding the craft too difficult
I don’t know why but there’s an expectation among some actors (not all) that acting is going to be easy and anyone can do it. Remember those kids who took drama at school as a cop out?
I do believe that anyone can learn to act, but it takes a certain type of person to go through the process of learning and developing to a professional standard.
When you’re being trained properly on a professional level, a level that’s going to help you face and overcome the hundreds of obstacles placed in your way when on set or stage, learning the craft of acting is not easy.
Acting is not a paint by numbers method that anyone can pick up and apply. Mastering the craft of acting is challenging the way learning brain surgery is challenging, or learning to drive is challenging. Mastering any new skill has to throw up challenges.
It takes a certain person to become vulnerable enough to understand themselves on such a profound level they can transfer this to the character’s life. It takes a certain person to find the discipline needed to work through their comfort zone which not everyone is cut out for. Not everyone likes that icky feeling of growing, that icky feeling of being vulnerable, that icky feeling of having to trust themselves enough to know that they are developing even if they can’t see the results right now.
For some aspiring actors this a huge realisation, and the cost of being stretched is worth much less to them than they originally thought, so they quit.
My top tip: When things are getting tough, the real learning is taking place; your craft is getting sharper.
Not developing resilience to the nos
The end result, whatever that is for you, whether it be working in Hollywood, TV or a career in theatre looks so shiny & sparkly from the outside.
The end result is what everyone is after otherwise why would they pursue acting, but the end result is very difficult to achieve when the nos keep flooding in.
I believe that everyone can learn to adapt to the nos, but it takes a certain type of person; the type of person who is willing to keep learning no matter where they are on the journey, the type of person who doesn’t take no personal, but takes it as an opportunity to grow some more, but not everyone has that mindset.
The ones who don’t, quit. They lack resilience and whilst they could certainly learn to be resilient it’s far easier to stay in a cosy comfort zone.
My top tip: When you’re close to giving up, you’re even closer to a breakthrough. KEEP GOING!!
The three key ingrediants for success
If you can relate to either of the two reasons why most aspiring actors will never make it, don’t worry, you can turn it around.
You’ve heard me mention that lovely old comfort zone. Your comfort zone is like your favourite pair of shoes, even though they’re battered to pieces, you love them so much but you know they no longer serve you. Your comfort zone doesn’t serve your progression as an actor and you are going to have to commit to stepping out of it if you’re to be successful, which means you’re going to have build up resilience too!
- Skillset – This is the craft of acting. You must build up the necessary skills to be able to firstly call yourself a professional actor and secondly to be able to act to a professional standard. It’s no good saying you don’t need formal training, you’ve never heard of a hear surgeon opening someone up and guessing at what to do. You don’t need to go to drama school and do a three year course but you do need to be trained by someone who knows what they are talking about and knows how to develop YOU as well as the rest of the class.
- Mindset – This is the one that gets most people. You must work on your mindset every single day, turning those negatives into positivesand learning how to re-programme your mind for success if you are to avoid slipping back into your comfort zone and quitting. The mind is the biggest killer of dreams if you let it win.
- Actionset – When I was at drama school I had it rammed down my throat (and for good reason) that you can’t sit waiting for the phone to ring. How is anyone going to know you exist if you don’t market yourself, you don’t have a strong plan for success and you don’t take action? Never assume the people in the industry are mind readers. Never assume that just because you can act you’re going to make it. Plan for the obstacles and take action every.single.day.
How are you feeling after reading this? Has it inspired or motivated you? Can you relate? Let me know in the comments box below or share with a friend who could use this advise.
If you want world class method acting training check out the application form for our part time 12 week method acting programme. If you’re struggling to work out how to market yourself effectively check out the application form for our actors career development masterclass.
Here’s to your success!
Don’t give up, just keep learning
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