Your goal is to be a working actor. And you are doing things to make that happen. But you feel as though you aren’t getting any closer to that reality. Why?
Let’s look at some things you can do – some measurable things – that can help bring any goal to life. Measurable is key because feelings don’t get you closer to a goal. Actions do.
1. BUDGET YOUR TIME
Do you get to the end of a day and think ‘I was busy all day but didn’t accomplished anything’? This tip will help you measure where your time goes.
Create a Time Diary or use one of the many productivity apps (I like iTimeLogger) to track your day. List everything from auditions to social media to commuting to work outs to eating. This will show how much time you are actually spending on your goal.
2. DEFINE YOUR GOAL
If your goal is vague, it is impossible to know for sure if all the things you are doing will get you closer to that goal. For example, at the start of this article, you read ‘be a working actor’. Well, that is incredibly vague. Do you want to do plays? musicals? tv drama? indie films? tentpole films?
Write out exactly what you want to do. Be specific. If your goal is tv comedy, then do you want to work on single- or multi-camera shows? Different skills are required for each and you’ll need to learn what casting directors and show runners are looking for. And how you’ll market yourself will be unique based on that specific goal.
And then write out why you want to do this thing. No budding actor likes to hear this but here goes… being on camera or in front of an audience may not be the only way to fulfill that ‘why’. Understanding why you are putting yourself through the actor’s struggle will help you know if it is worth it.
3. AVOID SHINY OBJECTS
Shiny objects are anything that grabs your attention away from your goal. They siphon the primary resources every actor juggles – time and finances. It may be projects that seem interesting but take you down a different road.
Or it can be a teacher saying they have the answer to achieving success. But what they share is how they found success. Their path is not necessarily your path. Be wary of anyone who says there is only one way to succeed and only they know it. There is simply too much evidence to the contrary.
4. UNDERSTAND WHAT IS STOPPING YOU
Perceived obstacles. These reveal themselves in negative self-talk. ‘I can’t make it because ____.’ To defeat these insecurities, examine each one. Is it based on an experience someone else has had? Is it based on a past experience of yours? Break each one down and decide if they hold water. If not, confront that voice every time it creeps in. If it is valid, then get to work on it.
Real obstacles. These are things you can do something about to make yourself competitive in today’s market. Training. Special skills. Languages. Networking. Create your own content.
Every actor has faced closed doors – real and imaginary. What separates the successful from the wannabes is what they did next.
5. ASSEMBLE YOUR TEAM
Your team includes the right-for-you agent or manager. Casting directors who are fans of your work. Industry professionals you’ve established a relationship with. Teachers and coaches. Mentors. Also include supportive friends and family, but keep in mind that they may not understand how this industry works and may not be the best resource for career advice.
Keep track of these individuals and keep them updated on what’s happening in your career. And when you need advice, you’ll have plenty of options of knowledgable pros who will be willing and able to help.