10 Things Every Actor Should Know

10 Things Every Actor Should Know

When you’ve been around the block a few times in this business, you start picking up tips. Here are 10 things I wish someone had told me when I was starting out:

  1. Most of acting training is rubbish. This is a controversial thing to say, especially for an acting coach! I say MOST of it, because in all the hours and hours of work that makes you feel like you’re achieving but not actually getting an acting job, are some real gems that will actually help you land that part. Pay attention and look out for that 10% that will help you make it.

  2. Prepare yourself. If you’re the sort of person who likes to wing it, isn’t prepared to put in the graft of learning lines, and who turns up late to auditions, you might as well go looking for another career. You need to be thoroughly prepared and to give every moment of this profession your absolute all, or it will give you nothing back

  3. Don’t mess with the script. So you’ve landed a part, and you think the writer is rubbish and that you could do a much better job. That may well be true, but your job is to do the acting, not the writing. Turn up, learn the lines, deliver them - then go home and tell all your friends how you could do a much better job. Give it a go, if you fancy a career in writing - then you will understand how irritating it is when someone tries to change it!

  4. The director is often an idiot. This is another thing which is difficult for me to say, being a trained and practising director as well as an acting coach. But it’s the truth. Directors have an intellectual view of the play they are directing, but they’re generally pretty useless at communicating this to the actors. You will have to take what they say and try to translate it into what you think they are trying to achieve, and there may be some misunderstandings on the path. You can only do your best, and hope for one of the good directors who will help you do this.

  5. Acting is hard work. You’ve probably already figured this one out for yourself! The truth is that this is a brutal business, and if you give up before you’ve made it then you will never stand a chance of making it. Just keep plugging away, and you can be sure that the money and stability will come, even if you have to spend years eating cold baked beans from a tin because you can’t afford anything else. If you want it enough, you WILL get it.

  6. …It’s also highly unfair. It’s really hard when you don’t get the part that you were perfect for, or don’t land your spot in that drama school, or the critics panned you, or someone with less talent in their whole body than you have in your little finger was picked for the part over you. The sooner you accept this unfairness and get on with it, the better - there’s no point wasting time whinging when you could be out there auditioning for a better part.

  7. There’s no such thing as the perfect monologue. You can spend hours and hours researching to find the monologue which will fit you to a tee - but it won’t be THE monologue until you are performing it and living it. Just pick one your age and gender, and make sure it is from the last 30 years - or preferably the last 10 - and get on with it.

  8. Get out of your head. Acting is all about getting into someone else’s head, right? So get into the head of someone who doesn’t listen to that nagging inner critic, isn’t lazy, always prepares well and gets on a stage and owns it. Most people are their own worst enemies, so try to avoid that mindset and pick a better one.

  9. Don’t listen to other actors about acting. Seriously, they don’t articulate it well! They can be as competent and amazing at their craft as the best actor in the world, but ask them to talk about it and they fall apart. Just watch, and learn, and be yourself.

  10. There will always be someone better. There are people the world over who get lucky breaks, are more talented and better looking than you. There is absolutely nothing you can do about this, so just move on and don’t waste time moaning about it. You can, however, do something about working harder, training harder and making sure you are always prepared. Change the things you can, accept the things you can’t, and just get on with it.

free pdf

The 12 Obstacles

written by mark westbrook

One of the biggest obstacles to a successful acting career is the inner critic, the voice in your head, but there are many more.

In this free advice guide, Acting Coach and Performance Psychology expert Mark Westbrook outlines the most common inner obstacles to success and offers you insightful and practical tools for overcoming them.

Download Your Free Copy

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