What does success as an actor look like to you? Have you even considered whether or not you actually want everything that comes with being an A-list celebrity?
I want the term "making it" to mean something specific to you as opposed to being a vague term so that you're striving for an actual goal.
Let’s review three questions to help you get specific so you can build the career you want.
video outline available below
1. WHICH BRANCH OF MEDIA?
Visualize having your dream career twenty years down the road. What does it look like if there are no obstacles, no insecurities, and no opinions getting in your way?
Some of you may realize that you're on camera, but not acting. Maybe you're killing it in broadcast journalism or hosting an influential show like Oprah. Maybe you really love comedy and see yourself doing standup or competing on reality tv.
If none of that sounds good, let's consider commercials. Would you love to have a role like Flo from Progressive?
If you catch yourself thinking, "I would love to just do one role like that. It would be fun, get lots of exposure, and I could live off the million dollar per year contract for the rest of my life," then national commercials or being a brand spokesperson is a great fit for you.
But maybe you're thinking, "No, I really want to have a character with a storyline." Then it's film and television for you, my friend.
2. WHAT TYPES OF ROLES?
For anyone that feels attracted to film and television, consider the type of role you want.
You could potentially build a career just working as a co-star with a few lines on multiple tv shows over time. That would allow you to still work a full-time job, but just take a day off once in a while and still get great pay for a one day shoot.
Plus, you may get booked on some of your favorite shows, but still have time to spend with your family.
If you want something more substantial that still gives you freedom in your schedule, then guest star roles might be your sweet spot.
But what if you're sold out on having your own tv show? If your goal is to build a long-term career with a character that you really love to play, then you can do that as the lead on a tv show without moving into film (Law & Order SVU, people!).
This option would allow you to build a raving, loyal fanbase. It would also give you a more consistent paycheck.
The point here is to know the answer to the question that all actors get asked: "What do you want to do as an actor?"
I know without hesitation that my answer is, "I would love to build a career playing supporting roles in feature films."
I'm not attracted to lead roles. Some of you might think that sounds crazy, which means you probably are attracted to lead roles in feature films.
But I know that's not really for me right now. They typically have some kind of romantic interest which is not my thing. I love the idea of supporting and shining a light on the hero, or helping them along as the best friend or confident guide.
Note which characters you're drawn to the most when you watch film or tv. Think about whose career you would love to have, and then go stalk their IMDB profile to see how they got there.
You can't get to where you're going unless you start asking for it.
3. HOW FAMOUS DO YOU WANT TO BE?
This question sounds crazy to some of you, but you should really take it seriously.
You have more control over this than you think.
I know someone who had the chance to chat with a well known actor that confessed their house was so big because it's too much of a hassle to go out in public. Therefore, they need a house big enough to house all of their hobbies.
Is this the life you want to live? Would you be ok with getting bombarded when you go out into public? Could your family handle that lifestyle?
Some of you feel absolutely prepared to sign autographs all day, or are one hundred percent ok with your life being an open book.
But you could also be the actor sitting in the corner of a restaurant that everyone's looking at out of the corner of their eye asking, "Do I know that person? They look familiar, but I can't place them."
If you feel like you don't have a say in this, that's a problem we need to address.
Once you get laser focused on what you want, then you will start changing the game.
It will influence the types of photos you take, the agent you sign with, which casting directors you market yourself to, and what you wear on a daily basis.
If you confidently pursue a vision for yourself, other people will get on board. Otherwise, you will start living someone else's vision for you.
I think a lot of actors feel they need to take whatever opportunities come their way, and I don't want you to wake up one day hating your life or craft because someone else designed it for you.
We must decide as actors what we want our lives to look like, and then decide what we want our careers to look like in order to support that vision.
Art is a reflection of life. Therefore, actors need to have lives in order to create art. When you're pulling from a sense memory, you need a memory to utilize, which means you've had life experiences, not just a career!
This is true of every other career on the face of the planet, so why is it not true for you as an actor?
Here's the one takeaway I want you to grasp: When you've defined a clear career goal, you'll more confidently decide which roles to accept and which roles to decline, and it is OK for you to decline roles as an actor if they don't fit into your definition of success. If you don't know where you're going as an actor, you're essentially going nowhere.
So get specific with your acting goals, and it will build your confidence in being the Boss of your business.
Write down your answers to those questions, and then come visit our Actor Boss Facebook group to share if you dare. You're welcome to share other actor related tips, tricks, questions, and memes as well.
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