An acting career isn’t made over night. It can take years upon years of graft, fine tuning your skills and leveling up to get that “overnight success” you want, yet it can take only one seemingly small *thing* to derail your acting career for good and find yourself permanently stuck, heading for a lifetime of jobs that don’t fulfill you. I’m going to share with you 5 career killers to avoid if you want your acting career to keep moving on up.
Some mistakes are more damaging than others and some are just plain bad habits. The great thing about habits is that they had to be learnt in the first place, so they can be undone, with commitment and motivation.
Let’s dive straight in and discover the 5 career killers to avoid.
5 career killers to avoid
Dictionary meaning: The action of delaying or postponing something.
How many times have you caught yourself saying “I’ll do that tomorrow”, but tomorrow never comes? Procrastination is a sure fire way to bring your acting career to a halt because the seemingly small tasks that “aren’t that important” eventually pile up.
Here are a few tasks you may be procrastinating over
- Looking for a new agent because even if we’re unhappy with our current one, at least we have one!
- Updating your CV
- Updating your online profiles
- Applying for roles
- Updating your skills
- Getting new head shots
- Building your website
- Starting your marketing
- Getting training
- Following up that role
- Asking for a meeing
The problem with procrastination is that even though we put things off, we feel bad when the list of things to do keeps growing, until eventually the list becomes overwhelming. TIP: Make a start today with the easiest task, you’ll soon get into the flow of things.
APPLYING FOR EVERYTHING
Whoa, whoa, whoa I hear you protest! “If I don’t apply for anything Louise, I won’t work”. I hear you, but you are not suitable for everything and you will never play everything. When you’re applying for everything you’re taking a spray and pray approach to your career. Those on the receiving end of your submissions will simply ignore you because you are not right for every role. You have to get smart and only apply for the ones you are suitable for if you don’t want your acting career to stall.
NOT CHANGING TACT
You keep doing the same things over and over and over again but you’re not getting any further forward AND you’re running yourself into the ground, plus you’re starting to feel resentful or like giving up hope.
I had one student who kept contacting casting directors and agents to no avail. He thought this was the right thing to do to move forward. Whilst he had the right idea and certainly wasn’t lacking commitment, he couldn’t work out what was going wrong and became very frustrated. If you’re doing the same thing over and over with the same result of nothing to show for your efforts, you are getting feedback that what you are doing isn’t working.
RELYING ON OTHERS TO GET YOU WORK
There are a lot of juicy carrots dangled in this industry and a lot of false promises made, even if they’re made with heart. You may have been told by a director, another actor you know, a producer, your agent or anyone with better connections than yourself that they’ll get you seen by ____________ (fill in the blank). The problem with this is that you are leaving your career entirely in the hands of someone else and whilst what they say comes from a good place, if there’s nothing in it for them why the hell would they connect you with that person? Even if there is something in it for them, they may forget as you are not their priority or they may have been saying it to impress. Either way the only person responsible for your career is YOU.
I feel this one is pretty self-explanatory but here goes: As much as the production relies on your talent it also relies on your attitude. It’s pretty obvious that no-one wants to work with someone with a bad attitude but a bad attitude can disguise itself in many ways, here are a few examples (you may want to add more to the comments):
- Lack of punctuality
- Being unfriendly
- Not putting the work in away from and on set
- Making excuses
- Turning a blind eye to any of the above
- Not taking responisbility
BONUS CAREER KILLER
Waiting for the phone to ring, or simply not letting the world know you exist is going to stop your career flat. The acting world still goes on whether you’re shouting about yourself or hiding away. Many of us feel like we’re bothering others by telling them that we exist, so we don’t do anything YOU.ARE.NOT!!!! The only way to make an impact on the acting industry is to let it know you’re alive.
So those are your 5 career killers to avoid. Only you know the cost of not accomplishing your acting dreams. Be kind to yourself and your dreams and don’t fall into the trap of these behaviours.
What’s resonated with you? Let me know in the comments box below, or share with your acting friends, it could be just the thing they need to read to get them out of a funk!
Here’s to your success!
Don’t give up, just keep learning.
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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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