Everyone should be learning throughout any journey, but at the beginning, there can be a lot of information overload. Here are the 5 main takeaways I learned during my first year as an actor.
First of all, how does someone begin working as an actor anyway? I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but the way this began for me was through a series of interviews I conducted in 2017. Twice in 2017, I interviewed the wonderfully talented Anna Vocino for a show I put together called Inner Fire Podcast. Because of these talks, I had the inspiration to try acting for a year. So, in 2018 I made that happen. I learned a few things along the way and met some incredible people. Thanks, Anna.
Because I was doing a podcast, I realized I could put together a voice reel, and try to find an opportunity with the work I had already done. This led me to find some wonderful beginning opportunities to earn income, which I could then re-invest in myself in the form of casting site subscriptions, acting classes, etc. thereby covering the costs of acting for the year, as well as keeping the podcast going. Since I was able to cover the costs of acting for the year while supporting the podcast, this allowed me to focus on opportunities without stressing over auditions or commutes. HELLO, LA TRAFFIC!.
Lesson 1: Create your own content. Whether it’s for acting or something else. It’s easier than ever to create and distribute your own writing, voice, art, music, etc. There are many opportunities that can come out of doing this, but the most important one is seeing your vision exist in the world. If doing it for the love of the art form, then good things will come of it. But, most importantly, you’ll be happy.
Lesson 2: There are costs to every endeavor, and acting is no exception. This is a cost of both money, time, and effort. So, you have to somehow cover the costs of subscriptions (and travel) at the very least in addition to enjoying the process of consistently doing the work.
Now, what exactly does “doing the work” even mean? That’s an interesting concept. Have you ever been on a job interview? Well, submitting for roles is kind of like sending in applications, and the audition is kind of like when you actually get the interview. Well “doing the work” is exactly that. Submitting to the right breakdown that would theoretically cast your type, and when the opportunity comes along to get that audition you go all in… then, you forget about it and start submitting again. This happens over, and over, and over until you’re working on a set to build credits, get paid, or both. Finally, once you’re working on a project there are still the continuing submissions as you plan for the short term (finding new work as the current project wraps) while keeping the long term in mind (submitting on type & brand). Basically, just keep moving forward.
Lesson 3: To actually get the opportunity to add value to a working production and be involved in creating art is great, but the process of getting there is the challenge that makes it worthwhile.
So, what’s the plan? Well, I had an idea of what my plan would be, but didn’t exactly know how to lay out the steps and take action on it. When I went to college my major was in accounting, and I had wondered if there was a way to apply what I knew about business to the business of acting beyond recordkeeping.
With this thought in mind, I quickly found a woman named Bonnie Gillespie who wrote a book called Self Management for Actors that talks all about it. When I say all about it, I mean ALL about it. This was truly the key to making a game plan, and progressing along this path for me. I was able to go from not existing as an actor with no idea how to go about getting my foot in the proverbial door, to someone who has begun a new journey in life starting out as an actor. Thanks, Bonnie.
Lesson 4: Reinvest in yourself with books, classes, and any type of training material that would benefit your goals. Always know that whatever question you may have about “how to____” someone has written about it, and it’s easily accessible as long as you put in the work.
Lesson 5: With the right investments in yourself (for your desired outcome), doing the work appropriate to the goals, planning, and relationship building, you can take large strides albeit on a very long path. This can also be interpreted as “work smarter not harder”, but it’s a little more than that. Essentially, it’s helpful to have a map along for the journey to appropriately plan your path.
In conclusion, it’s a great time we live in to be able to create and distribute our own content, which can lead to many opportunities. But, if the work isn’t done, and you don’t love the process of doing that work, the opportunities will not be well-met. The journey of getting to your destination is the actual reward. Never stop reinvesting in yourself appropriate to your goals. Finally, planning the proper route along your journey can help you immensely (especially in the beginning when things get to be overwhelming and confusing). Understand these 5 lessons and you’ll be well on your way to being happy with your work, which is the ultimate success.
Whatever path you choose in life, may the wind be at your back along your journey towards health, fitness, and peace of mind.
*There are no affiliate links within this post. Any links are for informational or descriptive purposes only. All opinions are my own. Thank you so very much to Anna Vocino & Bonnie Gillespie for all of the amazing inspiration and advice you’ve both given to the world.*