figure out your "why"
Acting career is probably one of the hardest choices you can make. You have to be incredibly determined, resilient, positive and committed.
It’s easy to focus on getting a plan of action in place, and following through the steps, without stopping to wonder - why. Why am I doing this? Why have I chosen acting?
I’ve been reading the book - “Start with the Why” by Simon Sinek. You may have heard of it before, if not - I would highly recommend checking it out, or at least having a flick through some of the youtube videos by him.
What he talks about is quite simple - to achieve better success rate and attract the deals and business you’re interested in, you need to strongly define your why. Then you move to how, and finally, to the what.
I believe at times of hardship and demotivation, which inevitably happen to all of us, whether you are an actor or dealing with some other type of business, it’s crucial to remember why we started in the first place.
Let’s break it down from an actor’s perspective.
First, I want you to think about the first time you became attracted to the idea of acting and what brought you to that place.
Was it a play or a film you saw?
Was it a particular actor you admired throughout your childhood?
Was it a need to express your feelings openly, or the thrill of performing in front of an audience?
Try and remember how it felt. Think about how you envisioned your career - your goals and ambitions.
Did you want to work with anyone particular - an actor, director, writer?
Did you want to make a certain kind of films, perform in specific plays?
What was the dream of your life as an actor?
Answering these questions will help you focus on your love for the craft, and it will remove the business side of it. Not that the business isn’t important, but what we’re trying to do here is rekindle the love for the acting.
Imagine the best possible day. From the very beginning to the end. Are you on a set working on an exciting new project? Are you in rehearsal for a play with amazing actors who were your inspiration when you were young? Are you getting to audition for the biggest television shows?
Being very specific helps you create an energetic response in your body - when you think about having achieved your goals and doing what you love, your body will respond with joy and love. You will start feeling what you would be feeling if this were your reality.
Second, having this in your mind, you start focusing on the how. How are you gonna get there.
It’s going to be very tough, with plenty o obstacles and discouragement along the way. Jo Malone said in an interview Karren Brady for her “Get What You Want” podcast - “Never, ever quit. You wouldn’t quit on your best day, would you?”.
You need to focus on how you are going to be achieving your career goals, but also - how are you going to be different. With the why clearly formed, you know the driving force behind your next steps.
You need to be constantly promoting and marketing yourself as an actor. Be bold in your choices, but don’t be annoying. Make sure you don’t pop up on casting directors and agents’ radar too often - they will simply ignore you.
Have you reached out to CD’s with news about what you’re up to? Have you tried organising a showcase with other actors, or putting on a show by yourselves? Give the industry professionals a great reason to be interested in you. Even if they don’t come along, your name will have appeared on their laptop. They’ll have seen your headshots.
Try creating postcards about you as an actor and deliver them personally to CD’s and agents - or mail them the old fashioned way. Write a thank you note and post it - not many people do that these days, needless to say - not many say thank you for an audition or having been cast.
Be open to trying new things - if a CD is organising a course to help you, the actors, practice your skills - go for it. You may end up with an invitation to audition, because they have seen something in you that suits the role their casting.
Make sure that no matter what you come up with and try - you are on top of your game and professional.
Thirdly, move on to your what. It might sound simple - it’s acting, right? But what kind of acting?
Do you prefer movies or theatre? Would you need to get better in screen acting, which is very different from theatre acting? What can you afford to do at the moment - are you in a position where people are reaching out to you, or you need to chase up auditions?
The what is to help you specify what you need to be doing in order to keep moving forward. What skills do you need to gain? Are you comfortable with you audition technique? Do you want to improve your accents? Are you interested in musical theatre?
Following the why will help you realise what you need to do next to get there.
Why am I following acting
How am I going to be successful
What do I need to do to get there
As always, any feedback is highly welcome and I hope this helps you get back on track and carry on with your acting career!