POSTION YOURSELF TO BE DISCOVERED
Get yourself out there as much as possible – and don’t be afraid to submit to every project you are right for, no matter how big or small. Small student films can help build your reel and widen your network. Big projects just might be looking for someone like you – and you never know when you might be submitting to a casting director who just saw you in a workshop and wants to give you a shot. This truly happens all the time. It might not end up in a booking, but it could end up in a great audition. And making your mark in a big casting office is a milestone. Go to every legitimate audition you get, no matter what. Many actors skip auditions because they’re afraid, deep down, that they’re not good enough at their art, but I encourage you to prove yourself wrong. Every auditioning experience – even one that goes terribly wrong – is something you will learn from and can use to become a better actor. Show up scared and prepared, if you have to, but just show up. You will be miles ahead of a lot of actors who chicken out.
One thing that can be a pervasive problem while pursuing your dreams is keeping your mind on your ultimate goals while you’re struggling to make a living. The need for comfort and security can derail even a great artist—and wanting a nice car and clothing can really keep people from exploring their potential. So, if this is something that truly matters to your career, you’ll need to really prioritize, saving your extra money for classes and headshots instead of restaurants and vacations.
But you’ll also need to take care of yourself. Keep upbeat, positive music in your car or on your mobile device. When you feel a hard day coming on, combat this with a mandatory dance break or a happy sing-a-long. Surround yourself with supportive people who are on the same path or who understand your struggle. Take a walk and feel the sun on your face to get your head in the right place. Read a book or do whatever you need to feel important and happy in this moment. And above all, remember how lucky you are to be pursuing this dream. So many people out there don’t have the chance or don’t believe in themselves enough to even try. Just to be attempting your dream is a blessing.
Being discovered out of the blue without any preparation or without having done any work is about as likely as winning the multi million dollar lottery. Some people play all their lives and never win.
John recommends the following next steps:
- Study the industry. Find out how it works. Find out who casts what, what agents look for in an actor, what the unions do, what the current issues are in the industry, etc.
- Learn basic business, networking and self-promotional skills. So important! You need to make sure you stand out from everyone else. You need to be delicately tenacious as well!
- Surround yourself with people who are already doing what you want and not with people who are trying to get what you want. You are more likely to learn from people who are already doing what you want to do. So go find them and learn from them!
- Stay curious and never ever think you know it all. Be humble. You can always get better, whether in your acting technique, auditioning, sharpening your monologue delivery, on-camera technique, learning about the industry or whatever. You never stop learning!
- Once you start to achieve some success, help others who are in the same position you were once in. You'll see that it will pay off.