I hear many aspiring actors regularly talk about how they are lacking motivation to keep going with their acting dreams and questioning why they’ve not made it as an actor. The regular knock backs and lack of income from acting can contribute to a slump in motivation, along with there being no obvious quick route to acting success and life getting in the way.
It’s a hard pill to swallow but the nature of the beast is that it can take 10 years to become an overnight success. There are going to be many things that will lure you away from your dreams, namely money. The regular income from your day job is very enticing, but of course we know that money can’t buy happiness, which acting brings you. If acting is your life purpose, we know that you will feel unfulfilled from the day job, yet frustrated that your acting dreams aren’t materialising as you’d imagined. It can be a difficult cycle to break, so what can be done about this?
It takes 10 years to become an overnight success
I want to help you see where you could be tripping up so you can take the pressure off yourself and feel much clearer on why you’ve not made it as an actor… YET (yet is key here if you are willing to show commitment). I understand it can be difficult when you’re going at it alone. I understand you just want answers. That is what I hope to give you.
WHY YOU’VE NOT MADE IT AS AN ACTOR
- MINDSET – I’ve put this at number 1 because mindset is the biggest killer of dreams. You need to ask yourself what your mindset around acting has become. You may have lost sight of the importance of your dreams. You must go back to basics and ask yourself why you love acting, why you initially wanted to pursue it as a career and not a hobby. When you’ve worked this out you have to keep sight of this each and every time you begin to lack motivation. This will keep you on track to finding your “big break” and keep the negative feelings at bay.
- CONTACTS – Are you actively expanding your contacts each and every week? If you’re not, it would be a good idea to come up with a solid plan of how you’re going to do this. Business of any type is all about connections. The more people you know in the industry who have influence, the more likely you are to be cast in projects. Just look at the big directors in Hollywood, they work with the same actors because the KNOW, LIKE and TRUST them. Who knows, likes and trusts you? You have to get out there and meet people to build up your list of contacts. Without any contacts your struggle will be much tougher.
- APPLICATIONS – Acting is a sales job and sales is a numbers game. Most sales experts work on the basis that conversions are between 1% and 3%. That means 1%-3% of the applications you send off will convert into paid jobs. You are going to have to send off a LOT of applications if you are going to have a healthy CV, which sells you. Persistence is key here. In sales they say “every no leads you one step closer to a yes” so do the maths. If you want to be doing 5 paid jobs every year, then how many applications will you need to send off?
- TRAINING – “The craft first for long term success” is at the heart of the training here at StandBy Method Acting Studio. Without a strong craft you are simply limiting yourself. I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to go to drama school, it’s not for everyone, but you DO need ample (in depth) training that challenges you. Training is never ending. As Dustin Hoffman says, “Once you’re a student of acting, you’re a student for life”. Would you trust a doctor who’d managed to wangle his/her way into working in a surgery but had no knowledge of biology/disease let alone any training? Things are going to go wrong aren’t they? It’s exactly the same with untrained actors. Ask yourself where you’re still struggling and what can improve.
Once you’ve got your mindset into gear, you then need to get the action set to match the mindset. You need a good combination of belief, drive, planning and action set to see the results you want. You can be the most positive person in the world, but without a plan and action how do you expect things to happen?
Of course there are other areas that I could have covered, but these 4 key points are the ones that I see lacking in actors when they start to get down about why they’ve not made it as an actor. Make sure you have all 4 in place to take you towards your big break. Persisting with them will help you end the frustration and stop you questioning why you’ve not made it as an actor… YET. Remember that “making it” is personal to each person, so try not to fall into the category of comparing yourself to others, but do take responsibility for getting towards whatever your version of making it is.
Has this helped you? If so, let me know in the comments box below or share with an acting friend who’s feeling the frustration of not achieving their acting dreams.
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 launch their careers and become the best actor they can be.
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