Being an actor is a full-time job. No, not the fun part where you actually get to act, but the part where you have to actively find work whilst getting your name out there. It is not easy, but when you get that amazing role it is all worth it. The truth is, real actors need to act. It goes beyond a passion and becomes an obsession. There is nothing else that will ever compare. I know because I have been an actor for over ten years. So, to give you the edge here are the habits of successful actors.
Keeping in Touch With Contacts
There are tens of thousands of actors in the UK and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, worldwide. The competition is huge and casting directors see an insane amount of actors. What to do? Well, keep in touch of course. Contact all of the casting directors who have brought you in for an audition every time you have some news. Invite them to the things you are in. As a rule of thumb, contacting directors, casting directors and producers that you have previously worked with every three months is a good idea.
Fixing Gaps in Training
What are you not good at? What have you failed at in previous auditions? Learn from mistakes and criticism. Get together with other actors and critique each other. Don't take it personally, just listen and learn. You will also know what you are not good at because it will be the thing that scares you. So fix that accent you are not very good at or take some dancing lessons.
Keeping Fit & Healthy
Your body is your tool. Doing a film is gruelling and doing theatre is just as hard. Long hours, lots of waiting and barely any sleep; having to get up at 4:30am to film a TV show is the norm. As are 14-hour days. It is also your job to look good on camera. Another benefit is that the healthier you are the less you will get sick. Since actors are self-employed and don't get paid sick days stay as healthy as possible.
Staying Up-To-Date With The Latest TV shows & Films
If you go to audition for a TV show and you have never seen it the casting director will not be amused. You don't have to glue yourself to the TV but do keep up-to-date with the latest shows and make sure you watch the work of anyone you are going to audition for. Ditto with films.
Networking is important. It can seem like a chore to go out and make small talk, and sometimes it really is. But the more people who know you exist the more opportunities you will get. Network to meet casting directors, other actors, directors and producers. Film festivals are good places to network, as are theatres and acting classes. There are also exhibitions for actors like Surviving Actors and Actors Expo. Go and make sure you take your business cards.
Catherine Balavage is an actor and writer with over ten years of experience in the industry. Her book, How To Be a Successful Actor: Becoming an Actorpreneur, is out now in paperback and ebook form. She also co-directed and wrote her own feature-length film, Prose & Cons, which will be out later this year.