HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
I just love a good quiz. I was a sucker for quizzes sponsored by Seventeen magazine when I was in high school. I also took multiple science-based personality tests for the various leadership positions I had.
What I didn't realize was how much they impacted my self-awareness. That increased self-awareness led to increased acting confidence. The right quizzes can be beneficial for us as actors to build our self-awareness and help us breakdown scripts in an authentic way.
I will caution you, however, that not every quiz out there is reputable or backed by science, so be careful. But if you're looking for how to get better at acting at home, keep reading.
In this post, I want to introduce you to a great reputable quiz called 16 Personalities. I’ll show you how to use your strengths and weaknesses to build your acting confidence and make strong acting choices in your scene work.
This quiz is very similar to Meyers Briggs if you’re familiar with that test. There's also an individual acting exercise included in this post showing you how to find the best acting tactics or acting strategies for your scene.
1. TAKE THE FREE TEST
First, open up the 16 Personalities webpage in a new tab to take your free test. Try not to leave any neutral answers.
2. FIND YOUR TYPE
You should immediately see your results once you finish. True to its name, there are 16 potential types. Comment on this post to share your results.
I'm an ENTJ, so I'll use that as our example to explain how to use your results specifically for acting.
3. CLICK STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
You'll see a breakdown on the left sidebar with nine areas of exploration. For now, we'll only focus on one. Click option two, Strengths and Weaknesses, for our exercise.
Once you finish this exercise, you can go back through the other eight options to explore acting choices if you're playing a parent, employee, friend, etc. since those breakdowns show you strengths and weaknesses in each of those areas.
For example, I'm not a parent, so I could look through option five Parenthood to see what I would be like as a parent if cast as a mom.
4. FIND MATCHING TACTICS OR STRATEGIES
Now you need to explore your strengths and weaknesses in terms of tactics or strategies, based on your training.
In order to find your strongest choices, you need to look at your strengths and weaknesses together.
These results show that a strength of mine is Self-Confidence and a weakness is Impatience. I know in reality I like results, and I like to get them quickly. I process and filter information at a rapid rate, so if someone else is still thinking about their answer, I've already moved on to the next thing instead of giving them time to process.
So how does this translate into tactics or strategies? Here are a few options based on the example above:
Potential ENTJ Tactics (action verbs):
5. WEAKNESSES CAN BE ACTING STRENGTHS
I mentioned in the example above that my personality type tends to leave people behind without giving them time to voice their two cents. Once my brain gets a satisfactory answer, it feels rushed to solve the next problem and forgets about the other people involved.
While our weaknesses can be negative in reality, they are dynamite on camera because they create conflict.
If we were having an actual conversation right now, and I became demanding and forceful, you would walk away thinking I was rude. However, if I acted that same way in a scene, the sparks would fly on camera!
This should simultaneously make you feel crazy and relieved as an actor. While we need to work on our weaknesses for the sake of others and our social well being, we can totally be ourselves and let those weaknesses loose on camera regardless of how bad or ugly they make us.
Your weaknesses can be strengths as an actor because you can use them in a scene to create conflict, and conflict is what drives our scenes. Conflict creates obstacles that hinder us from getting our objective.
WAYS ACTORS CAN USE PERSONALITY WEAKNESS
Let's look at a few examples that cover a broad spectrum of personality weaknesses. Remember, we're using these to create conflict in the scene. I'd love to hear your ideas about how actors can use these in the comments. Feel free to elaborate on what I'm saying.
Personality weaknesses and the conflict they create in a scene:
What other weaknesses can you think of that actors can use? Now let's translate these into strategies. You can use tactics as well, but for the sake of time, I'll use strategies since that's how I'm trained.
Acting strategies for these personality weaknesses:
Let's take this exercise further with objectives. Remember, an objective is active, so we can't get someone to stop doing something. We need them to do something.
Potential objectives for these same personality weaknesses:
Here's another hard but effective acting exercise for you to try: ask the people closest to you to tell you what they think your personality weaknesses are or what you need to work on as a person.
Yikes. It's going to be hard. However, it will make you a better actor. While it's worth working on those issues for the sake of your relationships, you should use the crap outta them in your scenes.
For example, if they say you interrupt them too much, make an effort to stop interrupting them, but interrupt the mess out of your scene partners and feel good about it!
If they say that you never seem to get excited about anything, then work on expressing your feelings to them more, but use that nonchalant attitude to drive your scene partners freaking crazy!
Alright, Actor Boss, let me know in the comments which personality weaknesses you're gonna start using and how they create conflict in your scenes.
Go take that quiz!
Comment if you want help finding the best tactics or strategies for your personality type in the comments.
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We've all been there, chatting with someone when the question inevitably presents itself:
"So what do you do?"
Your first impulse is to just say it:
"I'm an actor."
But then that weird feeling hits your stomach, heat starts running up your back, and tingles start moving down your spine.
"I work this part-time job during the day, and that part-time job at night. It pays the bills."
"Oh my full-time job is in corporate."
In this post, I'll show you how to confidently tell people you're an actor so you can stop feeling awkward when someone asks.
Then we'll dig into three specific confidence roadblocks and how to address those verbatim.
STATE A FACT, ASK A QUESTION
I use a formula for confidently stating I'm an actor.
You need to state a fact about your acting career as it currently stands, then ask the listener a question related to your career.
We'll go over specific examples in a minute.
But first, let's look at why this fact/question setup is so magical because I want you to use it every time someone asks you that question so you don't dread it.
When you state a fact about your career, it portrays that you are fully self-aware and not just a dreamer.
It will convey to the listener that you have a handle on the situation and don't need a career pep talk or life advice about getting a "real job."
When you ask the listener a question, it puts the ball back in their court and forces them to be invested in your career by helping you take the next step.
Let's look at three specific examples for clarity.
CONFIDENCE ROADBLOCK #1
Maybe you're just getting started, but you don't have any resume credits yet. That's ok!
Have you ever taken a class? Do you have a theatre degree?
If you've ever done any acting, paid or unpaid, then you've acted, and you're an actor.
(Your first step as an actor should be to find a reputable acting coach and start rehearsing in acting class anyway.)
So your response could be something such as:
"I'm new to the area so I'm just getting started. I have a theatre degree, but I need to find a good film acting coach in town. Do you know anyone?"
See what I did there?
I made a clarifying statement about my career, then asked them a question to see if they could help me with my next move.
This is also a great way to get personal clarity about your next step.
CONFIDENCE ROADBLOCK #2
Let's say you've been in acting class, but you don't yet have a talent agent.
If you've already found an acting coach then try:
"I have a great acting coach, but I'm looking for a reputable talent agent now. Would you happen to have any references?"
They just might! You won't know unless you ask.
I've also found that most people will start thinking really hard about whether or not they know anyone to see if they can help you.
CONFIDENCE ROADBLOCK #3
Some of you already have an acting coach, an agent, and legit resume credits to your name, but you don't have a vision for your career.
It's hard to get other people on board when you don't have a clue where you're going.
When you start confidently telling people you're an actor, my personal experience shows that this question is almost always coming next:
"So what do you want to do with acting?"
Be ready to answer this!
Again, you will convey that you've taken this seriously and thought about your career as opposed to just dreaming about it.
"I would like to play supporting roles in feature films."
I also know all the reasons why that's true for me right now.
That goal can change, but if you close your eyes right now, where would you ideally be in your career if you could just snap your fingers and be there?
That's your answer.
When you force your brain to create a goal, it starts finding ways to attain said goal and compels you to share it with others.
So write that down with pen and paper today. Write it on your bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker. Make a background for your computer or phone. Just put it somewhere you can see it.
Use this formula the next time someone asks you what you do for a living.
I challenge you to confidently say, "I'm an actor," for the next month every time someone asks you your job because the trick is to just start saying it.
I don't care if you have another job. Part of your answer needs to be, "...and I'm also an actor."
It. Will. Feel. Weird. It took me about a month of saying it to stop feeling weird.
But can I tell you something?
I don't even think twice about saying it now. It's so uneventful that I wish I would've started saying it sooner to get the weirdness over with. People think it's cool because I think it's cool.
Please feel free to comment below and share how you handle this question.
Do you want to know another reason you might not feel confident as an actor? Because you subconsciously know that you haven't built a foundation that can withstand career growth.
I want to invite you to learn more about your Actor Boss Workflow so that you can start building that foundation today for free.
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HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
I typically forget about my auditions once I submit them. They're out of my control at that point, so there's no use worrying about them. However, I still remember the one audition I feel like I truly bombed.
A major casting director requested me to audition for a feature film for a role that was opposite of two very well-known actors. I decided to get self-taping and coaching for this particular role, but I forgot to communicate that this wasn't a character--it was an actual person. The film was biographical.
Let's just say that instead of submitting a very grounded, realistic performance, I submitted a drunk trophy wife that was all over the place. I learned to always trust my gut and to communicate my research if paying for a self-taped session.
A haunting thought crept into my brain later: What if I had done something really embarrassing in a callback or on set in front of actors that I respected? I'm not saying it won't happen or that I can't learn from it, but we need to be prepared for how to deal with it.
Rejection sucks, but it's part of our lives as actors. Amid all of the confidence exercises for actors, there's one thing that helps me get over my nerves.
If you want to know how to be a confident actor, remember that everybody is human the next time you're nervous about an audition or if you ever get to read with a well-known actor!
I'm going to let you into my brain today to share all of the crazy things I think about to remind me of this truth that I hope will give you more confidence in auditions.
1. EVERYBODY POOPS
Yea, I said it. Toilets are the great equalizer of man. If you ever end up in the audition room with your celebrity crush, remember this--they get into that awkward butt wiping position, too. I hope...
2. EVERYBODY HAS NOSE HAIRS
That's right, even the hottest celebrities have nose hairs, and with the continual updates in HD cameras, SURELY they get a trim...
3. EVERYBODY FARTS
They might not talk about it, but they do.
4. EVERYBODY GETS BAD BREATH
Errrbody gets stanky mouth at some point, especially on set. Even those few magical unicorns that don't get stanky breath eat garlic at some point.
5. EVERYBODY PICKS THEIR BOOGERS
And rolls them into tiny tennis balls. What is it about driving a car that makes you want to pick your nose so badly?
So there are my five tips on how to be confident in acting auditions. Hopefully these reminders will help you avoid your audition rejection depression. Now get out there and show those auditions who's boss!
SNEAKY ACTOR CONFIDENCE KILLER
Okay, you're equipped with five reminders that everyone is human to use as confidence boosters. What's killing your confidence in the first place, though? Seriously answer what pops into your mind first, then read the next sentence.
I challenge you to consider that your insecurity is rooted in something sneaky you haven't thought about yet--your money. Yes! Your money money moola!
Most actors make the mistake of thinking they can't be financially healthy until they hit it big. What if I told you that getting financially healthy now can increase your chances of acting success?
5 Ways Financial Health Makes You a Confident Actor:
I want you to download my absolutely free guide Actor Boss Budget to get the plan that drastically changed my finances in just one year, plus tips on how to follow the plan specifically as an actor. Learn more about it here.
5 CONFIDENCE EXERCISES FOR ACTORS
Now that I've got you feeling better with a Power Ranger fart GIF, let's chat over a few practical confidence exercises you can use an an actor.
WEAR THAT OUTFIT
You have an outfit or pair of shoes that make you feel killer. You know you look good or feel good when you wear them. I have an amazing pair of Ariat cowgirl boots that always gets compliments. I will cry when their day comes. If it makes sense for me to wear them to an audition, I do! Who cares if you wear the same thing to most of your auditions?
This is a HUGE part of your actor's life that I bet you're missing. Essentially, you coach yourself using your name. Sounds crazy, right? It totally works. I have more details about it in a blog post here.
STRIKE A POWER POSE
This can work for guys or girls. Women are typically told to stand in the Wonder Woman pose with their hands on their hips. Men should look at photos of male models and imitate their poses until they find one they like. You'll feel it when it's the right one. Now strike that pose before you leave the house and again in the bathroom when you arrive at an audition or shoot.
You may also consider using this pose during your read if it makes sense. For example, standing with your hands on your hips is a great stance for staying "open" to your scene partner. I see so many actors on tv cross their arms during a scene, and I always scream, "Uncross your arms!" You're physically blocking yourself from emotionally receiving from your scene parter. You're literally "closing yourself off" from them, which is why we stand that way in life, but you can't do that when you're acting. It will emotionally kill the scene.
LISTEN TO THAT SONG
If you're not already using music to get yourself in the right mindset for an audition, start making your playlists today. You can always listen to a song that makes you feel confident, then listen to a song that evokes the emotions you want to surface. Just remember that a casting director may ask you to take the scene somewhere totally different, and that's okay! At least show up fully engaged in the choices you prepared so you have something strong to give.
Your lungs are the size they are for a reason. When you breathe like you normally do, you're probably not filling them to capacity. Those shallow breaths are only enough to keep your vital organs functioning properly, but when you fill your lungs to capacity, it sends that extra oxygen to your brain. That extra oxygen allows your brain to reason better. There's a great breakdown of this in the book Emotional Intelligence if you get the chance to read it.
So when you have racing, insecure thoughts, breathe to fill your lungs to capacity! Your brain will better rationalize your situation and thoughts. You'll also have better breath support for your scene.
Actor Boss Budget is the first step in your Actor Boss Workflow. It's time to start being the boss of your acting career instead of waiting on others to act on your behalf. Learn more about your Actor Boss Workflow here so you can start building a foundation for long-term career growth.
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Hey Actor Boss,
This blog post did not make the final cut. I'm moving it over to YouTube along with a few others that aren't quite epic blog post material. Be sure to subscribe for the 2020 launch if you want to learn about all the stuff they forgot to teach you in acting class.
Until the updated video releases, here's a graphic that sums up the original post:
Run Your Actor's Life Like a Boss
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HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
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?
When I started telling people that I was an actor, the next question was always, "Well what do you want to do with that?" The first time I heard that question, it surprised me, but I'm so thankful they asked.
It really forced me to clarify my short and long-term acting goals. I have those for every other area of my life, so why didn't I have them for acting? I've known for a while now that a SAG award would mean a lot to me, but then someone presented me with a different question.
One day, someone asked me, "What types of roles would you like to play?" What did they mean by type? Billing? Genre? Regardless, it made me think about all of the options.
My brain quickly flashed back to my college theatre days. A good friend of mine was the quintessential ingénue, or female lead, for our musicals. During one of our department's Shakespeare plays, we both worked tech.
We were both on headset chatting about who knows what, but I remember that she said something along the lines of, "I'm tired of always being the lead role. They're so boring." I was shocked to hear her say that because I thought she loved it. I remember thinking, "Yea, I bet they do get boring."
I knew in that moment that I did not really crave lead roles. I've always been so attracted to the "guide" characters that help the lead character reach their destination. They already have it figured out, they always make the audience feel good, and they're secretly everyone's favorite.
This process forced me to ask myself a number of questions that I think will be helpful to you as an actor before you go too far in a direction that you'll regret. I want to warn you now that if you're thinking, "I just want to be famous!" then you're in this business for the wrong reasons, and it's going to eat you alive. Work through this post before you finalize your goals.
In this post, I'll ask you three questions to help you create strong acting goals that make sense for you. I want the term "making it" to mean something as opposed to being a vague term so that you're striving for something specific. If you don't have a clear vision for your acting career, then how will you know if you've even achieved something you want?
1. WHICH BRANCH OF MEDIA?
Saying that you want to be an actor is actually a very vague goal. Did you know that there are many different avenues in which that can take you? What type of actor specifically? Do you like theatre, voiceover, or film?
Visualize that you already have 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?
Maybe you 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? Roles like that pay enough money that you'll never need to work again in your life if you have a solid budget. Would you be ok with that?
If you find yourself thinking, "I would love to just have one major commercial role like that. It would be fun, I would 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 could be a great fit for you.
Maybe you realize that you don't want to be on camera at all, but instead love the thrill of performing for a live audience. Do you love to sing and dance in musicals? Gigs that allow you to sing and dance are few and far between on camera. If that breaks your heart, then theatre should be your primary focus.
Maybe you realize that you really want to entertain people, but you don't want to be in front of an audience whether that's on stage or on camera. If so, then I highly recommend that you look into voice acting. You can make a great income narrating commercials, movie trailers, or playing animated characters.
Maybe all of those options still leave a void. If you're thinking, "I really want to have a character with a storyline, and being on camera feels exciting to me," then it's film and television for you, Actor Boss. That doesn't mean that you won't utilize those other branches of media, but it does mean that you should focus your short and long-term goals on film and television acting jobs.
The point of this exercise is to help you pigeon hole your goals into one specific branch of media. Again, you may end up working in all of these, but that doesn't mean you should settle for always only taking whatever work you can get! If you do not have a vision for your career, if you do not set your focus on a specific branch of media, then everyone else around you will pull you into their vision.
If you always do commercials, but never communicate to your agent that you would really like to work on more films (even if they're indies!), then how will they know? They may tell you that you need different headshots or footage, but you will not know that if you don't communicate, and you can't communicate a vision that isn't clear.
Once you settle on your branch of media, you'll also have way more clarity on the type of training you need. Learning how to be on camera for broadcast journalism is much different than learning how to be on camera acting for a tv show. What if you're wasting a ton of time and money on theatre training, when really you need to be in a voice class because you want to play animated characters?
Before you move to step two of this process, declare your branch of media. I've heard so many successful people in various lines of business agree that "the riches are in the niches." Why would that be different for you as an actor?
When your focus is being pulled into a million different branches of media, you can't become known for that one thing that you actually want to do. You can't brainstorm the next best step to achieve what you actually want, and you definitely won't have the time to focus on the most important actions to get yourself to that next chapter.
For example, if I say the name Michael Fassbender, you don't think, "Man, he's such a good news anchor. I just can't wait to hear him deliver the six o'clock news," or, "Wow! He was so good in the Broadway performance of Legally Blonde that I just can't get over it."
I'm not saying he wouldn't be good at those jobs, but it's not what he's known for. So if you want to be known for a particular branch of media, then you need to start focusing on that branch of media.
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2. WHAT TYPES OF ROLES?
I want to focus on anyone who selected film and television from this point forward. Have you considered the type of roles you want, specifically in terms of billing? I'm not suggesting that you can just snap your fingers and start landing the billings you want. The bigger the billing, the longer and harder you'll most likely need to work.
However, you have a life to live! In fact, you can't be an actor if you don't have a life outside of acting because you need relatable sense memories to pull from. That means you really need to consider the amount of time a particular type of booking will cost you.
You'll sacrifice more time for bigger roles. Did you know that movie billings, for example, also include media appearance negotiations? You won't only commit to the time it takes to prep for the role and shoot the role, but you'll also commit to a certain amount of time promoting it.
Let's start with co-star roles. 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 throughout the year, then guest star roles might be your sweet spot. I say that with the understanding that you'll almost assuredly need to do co-star roles first, but you'll need to decide whether or not you want to push past guest star status.
Let's pause for a second. If you're thinking, "Duh! Of course I want to get bigger and bigger roles," then you're most likely in it for the long haul. However, I still want you to reach way down deep inside and admit to yourself if it's just for the sake of being famous. If that's the foundation of your goals, they won't last. You really need to love something about the craft.
Let's get back to it. What if you're sold 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 (big fat) paycheck.
If television roles simply feel like stepping stones to you, and film is your target, then you still need to decide which billings you want the most. You don't always need to be the lead character to build an amazing film career. Self-awareness will take you a long way here, but understanding your role niche will serve you much better than trying to force yourself into a billing that isn't a good fit.
Audience members aren't dumb. Even if they can't explain to you in acting terms why you aren't a good fit for a role, they can still feel it. You know how you feel when an actor is just killing it in a role? It just fits! You can't stop watching! You somehow feel bonded to them. You can't help but to say how good they are out loud even though they can't hear you.
That's what you want your audience to do to you. Why them? Because they're ultimately who we do this for, and they're ultimately the ones keeping us all in business. They'll know if you're trying to force yourself into a lead role before it's your time, and it will break your relationship with your fans. However, taking the right types of roles will make them so excited to see you every time you're on camera, which will allow you to create a kick-butt career.
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?" That doesn't mean you can fully control what your career will look like, but if you don't focus on a target, you're definitely going nowhere. Clarify what you want and set a clear goal so that you can get moving.
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. I know that's not really for me right now, though. 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. Why do you like those roles so much? What is it that attracts you to them? When you nail down that answer, you'll get laser focused searching for or creating roles that fit that criteria. You can't get to where you're going unless you know what you want.
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, especially if you plan ahead.
Knowing what type of roles you want is largely dictated by how much time you're willing to sacrifice for acting; knowing how famous you want to be is largely dictated by how much normalcy you're willing to sacrifice for acting.
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 that the life you want to live? Would you be ok feeling trapped in your house all of the time? Could your family handle that lifestyle? Some of you feel absolutely prepared to sign autographs all day or are one hundred percent ok with constantly fighting for your privacy because the sacrifice is worth it for you to play the types of roles you want to play.
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," and that's as far as it goes. I understand that you can't control another person's actions, but you can try to control your exposure.
If you feel like you don't have a say in this, that's a problem we need to address because it means you're ok allowing life to happen to you instead of you happening to it.
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 your 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!
When you've defined clear career and life goals, 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.
Your life is the foundation of your acting, so you can't arbitrarily set acting goals that ignore your life. If you're fine changing your definition of normalcy, great! Just make sure that you actually are fine with it first.
Would you really be ok no longer enjoying the experience of going to your favorite coffee shop? Would you really be ok sacrificing your favorite date night with your spouse to avoid getting bombarded by people? Yes, celebrities have figured this out, but they're still sacrificing a certain sense of normalcy to do it.
Let's review our questions:
What are your answers to these three questions? Comment and let me know. I'm sure a topic like this brings up a lot of questions or emotions, so I'd love to hear your feedback.
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HEY ACTOR BOSS,
I'll teach you how to become a screen actor even if you have no experience or if you want to transition from another performance genre. First, what is Actor Boss? Learn more here.