The #1 most common fatal mistake when starting an acting career

The #1 most common fatal mistake when starting an acting career

Acting is one of the most sought after careers, yet one of the most difficult to achieve steady success with, depending upon what your idea of steady success is. A large majority of the people I speak with who want to start an acting career all say the same thing; they want to be on TV or in films. They see themselves in a popular TV show or wowing audiences in a big budget movie. Great, there’s nothing wrong with having big dreams, in fact it’s healthy. However you must be careful and avoid the #1 most common fatal mistake when starting an acting career if you are to achieve the success you imagine.

The #1 most common fatal mistake when starting an acting career 




Yes it really is as simple and straight forward as that. There is logic behind taking shortcuts especially with how long it can take to build momentum with an acting career, but taking short cuts is career suicide.

The fatal mistake broken down

Not investing in your training – Would you trust a surgeon who hadn’t trained properly or who had trained 10 years ago but not bothered since and had been in and out of work?! Hell no!! Why is acting training any different? When you don’t invest in your training your talent/craft doesn’t grow, you have no idea of what your strengths and blocks are as an actor so stay stuck, making the same old mistakes with no knowledge or technique of how to improve. Or you may think you’re great and then wonder why you got a bad critique.

Not learning about the industry – You do things wrong or at least not in the way people are accustomed to within the industry. You don’t know how things work so you try your own methods, which don’t go down too well and you find yourself stuck.

Not improving your skill set to make you more sellable. You have no idea about unique selling points and how to make yourself more attractive as an actor and wonder why you’re not moving further forward so stay stuck!

Not working on your mindset and self-development. You receive criticism and it gets your back up. You experience rejection and feel frustrated. Rather than listening to what’s been said objectively you listen to it subjectively and take it personally. Guess what? You don’t move any further forward because you feel frustrated.

Not reviewing your progress. You just keep on going and going and going and going and going and going and going and eventually burn out because you’re not seeing the results you’d hoped for. Once again you’re stuck and feel frustrated.

Whenever any aspiring actor tries to take a short cut the results are always the same – frustration, which leads to giving up! I see it time and time again.

How to avoid career suicide


Get clear on the success you want; get so specific that you have every detail down to a tee on the success you deisre. The clearer you can get, the better, that way you’ll know exactly what you’re aiming for so you can take the right action to get there.


ASK yourself WHY you want this success. Without a big enough reason why you will simply never achieve your goals. The “why” is your motivation. If your “why” is to achieve fortune and fame, I would encourage you to have a re-think.

Example 1: You want to lose weight but you have no reason why, you don’t lose the weight because you lose momentum because there is no motivation.

Example 2: You want to lose weight because of health risks or an upcoming holiday. Because you know why you’re losing weight and the why is a STRONG MOTIVATION, you will do everything in your power to hit your goals because you know the cost of NOT losing the weight.

When you know your reason why you want to achieve acting success, and the reason is strong enough you will do everything to make it happen because you know the cost for not achieving success. You go from being interested in an acting career, to COMMITTED!!


Ask yourself what you have to do to achieve the level of success you’re after. Do you need to keep up your training/start training? Do you need to learn the business side of the industry? Do you need to update your skills? Do you need to make contacts? Where is your knowledge lacking? When you know then you can do something about it, this will make you clearer, more confident, much more sellable and more likely to succeed. You see without consistently upgrading your skills, you stay exactly as you are now.


Review your progress CONSTANTLY. Ask yourself am I closer this week to achieving my goals than I was last week? If the answer is no, something has to change, if the answer is yes good for you!

Now you know that taking shortcuts is the #1 most common fatal mistake when starting an acting career, ask yourself what you can start doing right away to avoid feeling frustrated and quitting and to get yourself on track and feeling confident.


What has resonated with you the most? I love to connect with you! Let me know in the comments box below or share with your acting friends, it could be just the thing they need.

Here’s to your success!

Don’t give up, just keep learning









If you found these tips useful, you can grab yourself more tips completely FREE. Louise O’Leary is a professional actress, method acting coach and Artistic Director of StandBy Method Acting Studio. Her mission is to help as many actors as she can achieve their acting dreams and become the best actor they can be. Join the hundreds of actors around the world who have downloaded her eBook “Respect your craft, discover my top 45 method acting secrets to launch your career“. Download here and be on your way to acting success today!

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