Acting is a Business

Ambition. Drive. Think of acting as a being a single mom. Think about how much it takes to raise a child and work a full time job. The strongest prevail and the others start to hide away their art. Acting is a world of rejection. Sometimes actors begin to feel worthless, but there is something inside of everyone that is worth a great deal.  Watch Dead Poets Society (1989) for inspiration.  Express your art. It’s not meant to be hidden away. It does take hard work though.

To be a professional actor, as most of you know, you need an agent. An agent pitches you for opportunities based on your experience and portfolio. Agents do get questioned a lot by actors about whether auditions are coming in or not. It is all based on your credentials.  Do you have current training? Do you have credits? On your resume, what were the jobs that you got paid for? To start, it’s good to do as many indie films to build experience, but for bigger jobs it comes down to actual credits and jobs that you were paid for. If you become Union too soon and you don’t have any credits, it will be harder for you to get work. They pick 5 actors out of 500.  Who will they pick?  The ones that have the most experience and training.  

You are what your dominant thoughts are. Keep in mind that with acting you could be rejected 500 times before you get one yes. Trying to stay confident is hard. Try to keep your thoughts positive. Try to send positive thoughts to your agent too. They want you to book the part as much as you do! Put positive quotes on the wall. Have your goals visualized somewhere. Just keep driving.I recently met with one of my high school teachers, Barbra Berry. I started to remember teachers that really inspired me and kept me goal orientated. She was my gym teacher and track coach in high school.
I remember doing the 100 meter run. Yes, short people can run fast.  My legs collapsed and I had to get carried off the track. I was pretty embarrassed and very sad. My competitive nature kicked in and the truth is I hated losing. Afterwards, I was ready to give up. I’m not going to run anymore.

A week later in gym class, I’m standing at the track and Mrs. Barry was timing all the students on their run. She turned to me and asked me, “Are you going to run?”  I can’t even tell you how many swear words came to my head. There was no way I was going to run. I could barely walk. I looked at her and said, “No. I’m not running anymore.” I remember it like it was yesterday, she just looked at me and asked me, ” Well, can you walk?”
“Yes, I can walk.”
“Well, get walking then.”

Everyone was running by me as I walked around the track. I felt ridiculous at first, especially because Mrs. Barry was timing me.  She waited for me to finish with the timer. Even though it was probably an extra 30 minutes or more. At the end she said, “Good.”

I didn’t really know how to respond, but in that moment I became more determined than ever. I would retrain myself to run. I did physio and kept walking around that track until I could run again. I ended up winning some races afterwards too.  At first I thought my accident was terrible, but it became positive in my personal growth. What we can take from Mrs. Barry is when things get hard keep moving forward. Get around that track no matter how long it takes. Continuing to move forward is key, but you have to be smart about it as an actor. Yes, you may have talent, but it’s not just about acting. Acting is a business. Your agent promotes you, but you have to build your reputation.  Being a professional actor is just like owning your own personal business. You need to have a brand, you need to promote it, and you need to market yourself. Why would casting directors bring you in if they don’t know who you are? There are events and workshops in Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto that can help you present yourself to key players that bring you in the room.  

If you are a better actor and you are up against a not so good actor that has booked more jobs and has made more money for the producers, who will they pick? The better actor or the one that would bring them more money?  

I really hope every actor has an Instagram account and a blog.  I bet producers google actors now. Having an audience in showbiz is important. The more fans that will watch you, the more reasons they have to book you for a production.  It means they will sell more and the production will be more valuable.  Creating content is key, but make sure it’s quality content. Bad content can harm your career. I’ll say it again. Create content. Create content. Create content. 

A great podcast to listen to is That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse. Very insightful and inspiring to all actors.  
Please listen to episode 045 Allen Maldonado.
The doers are the ones that book.  So go do!

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