I just love a good quiz. I was a sucker for quizzes sponsored by Seventeen magazine when I was in high school.
The right quizzes can be beneficial for us as actors to build our self-awareness.
I believe that increased self-awareness leads to increased confidence.
I will caution you, however, that not very quiz out there is reputable or backed by science, so be careful.
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 both build your confidence and make strong choices in your scene work.
This quiz is very similar to Meyers Briggs if you’re familiar with that test.
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:
5. WEAKNESSES CAN BE 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.
Go take that quiz!
Let me know if you want help finding the best tactics or strategies for your type in the comments. Be sure to post your results so I can study your type first.
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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're constantly self-promoting with no results.
What if I told you that focusing on other people without self-promoting will help you start building authentic connections? I want to invite you to checkout my free thank you card challenge as part of my Actor Boss Thank You Cards series.
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Rejection sucks, but it's part of our lives as actors. The sooner we learn to deal with it, the sooner we can start building a kick-butt personal brand. Amid all of the confidence exercises for actors, there's one fact 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.
5. EVERYBODY PICKS THEIR BOOGERS
And rolls them into tiny tennis balls.
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!
Now that you're ready to be more authentically you and not give a crap about what everyone else thinks, it's time to start being the boss of your acting career.
If you want an easy way to boost your confidence everyday, express gratitude. There's an easy way to do it that double as great marketing.
What if I told you that you're wasting your money on printing and mailing headshots and postcards to casting directors? I know for a fact what you mail to the most popular casting directors will get returned to sender.
Instead, you should start correctly writing thank you cards to people you've already worked with if you want your mail to actually get opened. It will also increase your chances of getting cast again by the same people.
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Most actors have a hard time admitting to others that they want to be an actor,
much less directly say, "I'm an actor," when someone inevitably asks, "So what do you do?"
Even a Mrs. Sassy Pants like me felt weird saying it the first few times, but you know what?
I'm thankful that I live in a society that even allows me to pursue my acting goals, so I started saying it boldly, and now people think it's cool.
Hesitating to admit you're an actor is typically a sign of something most actors hate to admit: they want more CONFIDENCE in their decision to be an actor.
The good news? No actor is born with built-in confidence.
It will most likely come from surviving embarrassing situations.
I once thought I came out of the womb confident.
My daycare workers gave me the nickname Boss for crying out loud.
But when I look back over my life, I can see that my confidence was built by being in numerous embarrassing situations that made me feel insecure.
Remember that one time when I wore a tie-dyed velvet shirt to a high school football game when I was only in junior high?
I decided to just remind myself that embarrassing things happen to everyone, and the only difference I could make was to learn from the situation and laugh it off.
I could also choose to be thankful for all of the things that weren't embarrassing.
That leads us to today's surefire way to build your confidence, backed by science: EXPRESS GRATITUDE.
This is so easy, you can do it right now!
Join our Actor Boss Facebook group, and introduce yourself in a post by telling us something you're thankful for in your acting career RIGHT NOW.
It can be big or small.
I post a monthly "Don't Hate, Appreciate" actor challenge so we can make this a habit.
This month I posted that I was thankful for coming into some extra moola for my headshot fund.
Signup for these weekly Actor Boss Trainings so you never miss an opportunity to learn from my mistakes and successes.
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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.
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.
What types of roles would you love to play? Comment and let me know.
If you want even more confidence and control in your career, then be sure to download my online marketing guide for actors:
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If you continue to ignore the business and marketing side of acting, it won't just go away. Your personal brand is more important than ever in a world where producers, brands, and fans demand transparency and consistency. Start building your personal brand package today. Get your free Actor Boss Branding download here.