Contrary to some actors’ belief, there is a secret path to success in acting. Yes, there is a system of how one can speed up the process of becoming a working actor in any major market of the world. This system is called (drum roll) — common sense.
No, nobody’s being arrogant here, so just hear this out.
A lot of struggling actors — either newcomers or those tired of “chasing the dream” — start looking for something magical and special. They are looking for a shortcut to success in acting careers that will bring them fame and fortune without having to starve (literally) any longer.
And it’s fair; how many other professionals outside of performing arts can “brag” about having to starve on the lowest steps of their career? Not that many. Everybody has something to live off. Not actors, though.
But the magic that you, me and the other one were always looking for is sitting right there, constantly being overlooked by most aspiring actors. Aside from nepotism, common sense is one of the shortest ways to success in acting, if you know how to look at it. Christoph Waltz has done it to win an Oscar two times. Why can’t you?
So let’s take that look and break it down into 4 steps.
4 Steps to Success in Acting
1. Learn all about thyself
This is an important aspect everybody (not just actors) need to look into, if they want to achieve any kind of success in life. You have to be able to see through yourself and know whether acting is actually what you want from life, or is it just some celebrity-life-inspired-dream about how amazing a life of an actor is that is pushing you forward?
When you learn who you are and what moves you, you’ll be able to use this to push yourself forward, like many other actors have done. Knowing your type is part of it, but it’s not all. Seriously, read biographies of the greatest actors of all time, and you’ll see a trend: they would rather sleep on the street (Al Pacino) than give up acting.
Do you feel that way?
2. Learn all about your craft
We talk a lot about the business side of acting on this website, but that’s just assuming that everybody looking for success in acting already know everything they need to know about the craft itself. Apparently, that’s not really true.
You have to read and learn everything there is about acting. If you’re passionate about it, it’s going to be the biggest pleasure. Attending acting classes and private tutoring on your free time, speaking with directors, coaches, filmmakers and other creatives will open your mind. The passion for the craft drives actors to do things that normal people would never do.
Do you consider yourself a passionate actor or a regular folk?
3. Learn all about the business
When you’re already going down this road, there is no way around it — you have to learn the ins and outs of what works and what doesn’t in order to achieve success in acting. The best way to learn everything about it is to use every opportunity to just work in this business, being any part of it.
When you feel you can’t get any more acting gigs for the time being, if the business is slow — it’s about time you get yourself a temp job at a casting office or work as a reader for a while. This gives you the opportunity to learn things about acting from a different perspective and you’ll know what is actually happening behind the curtain.
Do you think you know how the process of casting really works?
There are some great tips and advice for beginning actors on our massive book-like Acting for Beginners Guide, providing a step-by-step introduction to the business side of acting in great detail, including secret tips to success in acting. Take time to look through the acting dictionary which is extremely useful to industry newcomers.
4. Learn all about the professionals
People working in the business are those partially responsible for your success in acting. You have to gain trust of these people and make sure they know who you are, and in order to do that, first of all you need to learn about them.
Keep in touch with your agent, develop long-standing relationships with CDs, producers, filmmakers, screenwriters and directors. Make sure you’re always available to talk with them and if they need help – you’re there. If you become the answer to their problems on a constant basis, the day will come when they will have that big part in this huge movie, and you’re going to be the one they will call.
Have you developed such relationships with industry professionals yet?
Making the right first steps are always important, but staying on the right path simply using common sense is even more vital. Every part of these tips seem extremely obviously, but strangely, most actors overlook these steps.
Now read these 4 steps once again and really understand what is meant here. It sounds so very simple, but when you actually think about it, you haven’t done any of that, have you?
Once you have learned everything about yourself and who you are as an actor; when you know everything you need to about the craft and business side of acting, and you know the people involved and you developed relationships — you then start building a reputation of a talented, confident actor who knows how this business works.
Professionalism is one of the biggest answers to CDs and talent agents tired of amateurs in their offices, which in turn makes it one of the paths towards success in acting for actors with professional attitude.
Maintain this reputation for as long as you possibly can. People will start noticing you, your phone will be ringing every day and before you know it, you will be the one choosing the parts (and not the other way around).
When you are the talk of the town where casting directors and filmmakers know your name and discuss attaching you to their projects because of the preparation you have done (steps above), then you know you’ve made it.
Now it’s all just a matter of time to stay on this path, use your common sense and be patient. The good times of you becoming one of the synonyms to success in acting aren’t too far ahead.