07/07/2014 12:57 BST | Updated 05/09/2014 06:59 BST

Five Mistakes Actors Make That Stop Them Getting Work

Getting work as an actor is hard. With long periods of unemployment and vast competition. This was the main reason I wrote my book How To Be a Successful Actor: Becoming An Actorpreneur. The odds are not good but you can tip them in your favour. You can make your own work, work on your skills, get your name out there. They say success is opportunity meets preparation. So here are my top five tips to make sure you are prepared and stop making the mistakes that stop you having the best career you can. Here are five mistakes actors make in their career that stop them being successful.


Far too many actors are arrogant. Especially just after they have left drama school. Thinking you are the best actor that ever walked the earth is not going to convince anyone else to hire you. No one likes arrogance. Always under-promise and over-deliver. Be humble and modest. The traits that make a good human being also make a good actor.

Marketing Yourself Wrong

Yes, you are an artist but you are also a product. You have to brand yourself correctly so people know what you are 'selling'. If you are Irish and want to market yourself as an Irish actor you must be prepared for only getting Irish roles. People will try to put you into a box but you can do yourself a favour by making yourself versatile. If you don't want to be known as a certain type of actor, (like Australian, Irish, etc) don't market yourself that way. Play up to your strengths and downplay what will limit you getting mainstream work.

You must also update your head shots, CV and showreel at least yearly. Don't forget to update the various online acting sites you may be on every time you get a job.

Not Continuously Working On Your Skills

Actors can go months, and even years without working. If you do not work on your skills when unemployed not only will you be rusty when it comes to audition and getting work, but you will also not be as confident. Your CV will also be lacking. You are a business, invest in yourself. Even if it is getting a camera and making some short films with friends.

Thinking The World Owes You a Living

You are not special. You do not deserve to be a super-successful world famous actor. The world does not owe you anything. A sense of entitlement is not going to do you any favours. This was the main piece of advice American casting director Daryl Eisenberg gave me for my book on becoming a successful actor. Don't think you are better than anyone else.

Being a Jerk

No one wants to work with horrible people. The film industry is tiny, as is the theatre and TV industry. If you are rude, horrible and difficult to work with then you will have a pretty short career. Be nice. Manners cost nothing.

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, came out in June this year. She also co-directed and wrote her own feature-length film, Prose & Cons, which will be out later this year.