Kickstarting Your (acting) Career

This blog was also inspired by Ella on Twitter! Thank you @janellemousseau

First things first – The old saying is true: “It’s called show BUSINESS not show ACTING.” Actors who are more than just hobbyists, must find a way to make employment fruitful, or face being a “starving artist” head on and in earnest.

Unless you are a hobbyist, living the lifestyle is a business, sometimes as time consuming as a full time job, so be prepared to work and keep your eyes on your GOAL. Set realistic expectations, and get as much information as you can about the field you are entering into BEFORE you begin.

Without divulging too much personal information, I have spoken with local actors who are members of the theater actors’ union (AEA) who tell me in a good year they are lucky to pull in $25,000. Now, that is above the poverty line in Washington State, but is hardly what I would consider “clocking lots of dollars.” Heck, Seattle most vaunted (arguably) theater artist packed his bags and moved to greener pastures for (quite possibly) financial reasons. Click here to read the story. And he worked A LOT. And is really good. For me, a married man with two dogs and a mortgage, I can tell you that acting alone IN NO WAY supports my life style. Over the past 11 years (since graduating from Seattle University in 2000) I have supported my “acting habit” with odd jobs, independent contracting, waiting tables, and, finally, building my own pet services business. If you are planning on pursuing the path of an actor, explore your community FULLY by appreciating the opportunities (or lack thereof), and talking to people who are already in the business.

Okay, enough of the doom and gloom! This post is supposed to be about energizing your path! Below are a few suggestions on how to kickstart your ACTING CAREER!

  • Get new headshots! Is your “ticket into the room” not working as well as it could?
  • Get yourself in an acting class! Too many of us do not make the effort to continue polishing our craft.
  • Get together with friends on a regular basis to read scripts.
  • Set up a camera and practice your technique.
  • Read a book on acting. Read a book on “How To Make It As an Actor” in YOUR city!
  • Get inspired! Watch movies and go see live theater!
  • Check out actor specific websites like Casting Frontier, TPS Online, Actors Access, Casting Networks, Now Casting.
  • Take Casting Director Workshops. BEWARE: Watch out for scams. Talk to peers and get recommendations.
  • Get an agent! (yes, I know, easier said than done).
  • Cultivate a positive attitude!
  • Network on Twitter and Facebook!
  • Go to networking events in your city.
  • Surround yourself with “good” people who support you and your passion.
  • Read this blog!

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