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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If you continue to ignore the business and marketing side of acting, it won't just go away. Your personal brand is the foundation of your acting business. Start building your personal brand package today. Read my post Personal Branding Brainstorm for Actors to learn more.