The promise of industry professionals, casting agents and representation at your third-year performance at drama school has been fulfilled. And, although you gave it your best shot, it's been a few months now, and nada. Your flatmate, Sally has been signed to a top London agent (You couldn't be happier for her, honestly! - And, I really do believe you.) However, you're now sat in Wetherspoons for celebratory drinks with the aforementioned Sally and left wondering, 'Why? Why didn't they pick me?'
Well, I'm here to shout from the rooftops that you can turn that frown upside down. There are three strategies you can put in place right now that will get you back in the game and sort your acting life out. You'll be back, '#actorlife' - ing the shiznit out of Instagram in no time at all. So, here we go, hold on to your hats, sombreros and Mickey Mouse Headbands Ears, as I take you down the rabbit hole of possibilities.....
1) Get Fucking Curious
I want you to ask five really close people who you trust, will tell you the truth AND KNOW THE INDUSTRY, these three questions.
- What type of roles would you like to see me playing?
- What actor do I remind you of?
- Which direction do you think I should take my career?
These three questions are vital for your longevity. Why I hear you ask? Well for starters, it's an opinion that isn't your own. It's market research for your business brand (yes, that's right, I said it- business!). If you establish yourself as a service based business from day one, you will be able to go into the belly of the beast with a different mindset than thinking the only way to succeed is with an agent.
Also, we can be so close to our own creativity, we can't see all the possibilities that could be open to us. therefore, using this exercise will bring a fresh perspective to you and your brand of acting. It can also help choose more targeted roles that you hadn't considered before. If you get the same answers from all five, then you are more than likely going to have the same result with others too. It's a great tool for getting into the head of a casting director (your friends) before you even set foot in the door.
And finally, if they all say you remind them of, for instance, 'Helen Bonham Carter', then it wouldn't hurt to look on her IMDB page. See if there are any roles that would suit you and your style. For instance, research the role that got her started and what avenue she took from that point on. Your chosen actor is successful for a reason and success leaves clues. Could it be a path that you could emulate in some way? Get curious about what method of acting, they used and find interviews of them talking about the process of 'making it'. You see reinventing the wheel is way harder than using the one that has already been created.
2) Get A Job
I mean this is the loveliest way possible. If you're skint and 'trying to make it' in the acting world without the support of your Mum & Dad to pay your rent, it time to get a job. Now, this doesn't mean you have failed, you've sold-out or you are rubbish at your craft, it means quite the opposite. How about thinking that you're taking your creative career so seriously, you're willing to wait tables, do promo work or dress up as a clown for kids parties, to pay the bills?
Your career will take some time to build up. As the old adage goes, It's not what you know, it's who you know' And that is a vital piece of information to take forward when building your business. Pick a flexible job that will not only allow you the time off to go to auditions but will fit in with market research (going to plays/musicals), your networking opportunities (going to Q&A evenings with casting directors) and collaborations (creating your own work - theatre/one-man/fringe/musical and putting it on show).
Lastly, if you are relying on your career to subsidise your life from the get go, that can put a lot of strain on your mindset going into an audition. There's nothing worse than the smell of desperation, rather than ambition, as you walk through the doors. And there's a big difference between the two. With your basic needs met through your part-time job, you can focus on getting the right part for you and not just ANY part to pay the bills.
3) Creative your own shit
Who cares whether you have to wait for auditions or for the next showcase event to come up to get noticed, this is all about creating. After all, actors got to act, right? So, social media is an amazing platform to do this without spending any money. From creating characters on Facebook Live and Twitter, creating your own youtube show of regional accents, to getting creative by singing a song or performing a monologue via Instagram stories. Or how about having your own channel on Anchor or musical.ly? Did I mention that you can also connect with casting agents, directors, producers, agencies, writers, coaches, via social media too?
Social media isn't for friends and family anymore. You can get exposure and create your acting brand here. Get acquainted with each platform and what could potentially get you noticed. Find which one you enjoy and what medium - vlogging, instant lives, pictures, blogging, tweetable's - are getting you noticed more. Engage with your acting community online and be apart of the world that you will play a bigger part in very soon.
I'll leave you with those three strategies for now. I'd love to know how you get on with them, so leave a comment below.
I want you to know that I wholeheartedly believe that now is the best time, in human existence, to be a performer and make it happen.
It's never easy but it's never impossible.
You are always stronger than fear, so get out there, be seen and get paid!
Lots of love,