There are lots of actors who jump into the industry all guns a blazing wanting work straight away, there are those actors who are more methodical in their approach to finding success and there are others who dip their toe in to get a feel. No matter which type of actor you are there are 10 rules of acting that are non-negotiable if you want to become fail-proof.
The actors who don’t follow these rules… well… guess what happens to them.
10 RULES OF ACTING
- Train, train, train – There are far too many actors who believe a successful acting career can be accomplished with very little training. This belief is absurd. Imagine a doctor doing the same. Acting is a craft, which must be mastered like any other. Commit to honing your craft by taking classes, regularly watching other actors (with a scrupulous eye) and practicing everyday.
- Be the early bird – Yes it’s true, the early bird really does catch the worm. Arrive early to everything – from classes to auditions to rehearsals. Arriving early shows enthusiasm and is one cog in a humongous machine to building a great reputation for yourself. Arriving late – well it gives the impression you don’t care. If you’re not going to be early there are thousands of other actors who will be.
- Be polite – this doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover, but being respectful towards other people – your acting coach, director, casting director, scene partner(s), class mates, the runners, supporting artists – makes a very pleasant experience for everyone involved. It’s also another one of those small cogs that help you build a brilliant reputation. There is nothing more draining than working with a huge A-hole, and trust me, people talk. Make sure they only have positive things to say about you.
- Stamp out excuses – excuses show a complete lack of commitment. Imagine going to the doctors and them saying to you, ‘sorry I can’t diagnose your problem because my car broke down for that lecture’. Life happens, things will get in your way, this is normal, but you must be resourceful and find other ways to overcome your obstacles. There are plenty more actors in the sea!
- Beware of personal issues – these are highly toxic to your craft and corrode any creativity. All personal issues should be left at the door of any rehearsal, class, production or casting. When a personal issue takes over you’re no longer telling the story of the character. Many actors unknowingly invite their personal issues into the scene, which serves absolutely no purpose other than to get the actor down and take them out of the moment. Acting is not therapy.
- Take risks – don’t plan how a scene, audition or rehearsal should go, this makes you dependent on a particular result, stops you taking risks and means you’re more likely to fall into the trap of mechanical acting. To avoid playing it safe go for the unexpected. The unexpected is memorable, but this can only come from following step 1, step 5 and doing lots of character preparation.
- Take critiques on the chin – If a critique is given it’s usually meant with the intention of helping you develop. There have been occasions (very few it must be said) in which an actor has received feedback along the lines of “there were better actors than you”, which is neither helpful or constructive – let these comments go. The helpful feedback can sometimes be seen as personal, which it isn’t, it’s an observation. The more you can learn to listen and act upon the (constructive) feedback the quicker you will improve.
- Listen!! – the art of acting is listening; let what your scene partner has said process, before responding. By the same token, listen in class, at castings and during productions, you don’t want to miss out on important direction or a key bit of information. Not listening gives the impression you’re not interested.
- Create intrigue – Your headshot is the first thing a casting director sees. Your eyes should draw them in. Mystery is what causes people to want to know more and will get you called into the casting room. You can also create intrigue with your performances, the simple answer is to not give everything away. Mystery = star quality.
- Live a full life – an actor with lots of life experience has a lot to offer both in performances and as a member of a production. When your well is full you have lots to draw upon. Living only in the acting world limits you.
By practising these tips regularly you will start to build good relationships within the industry and people will feel like they know, like and can trust you. When they do, they will be more likely to recommend you just like you recommend your favourite brands to your friends. Once the recommendations get momentum behind them so does your acting career.
Which of these 10 rules of acting will you put to use straight away to help you build up the know, like and trust factor? Let me know in the comments below.
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Don’t give up, keep learning!
ACTORS, GET NOTICED!
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