10 Things That Successful Actors Do

10 Things That Successful Actors Do

Modelling is a process in Neuro Linguistic Programming where you look at the patterns of behaviour of successful people and adopt some of these patterns yourself. If you’re looking to be a successful actor, here’s 10 things that successful actors do that you can model.

  1. Go to Plays – That’s right, believe it or not, many people who claim to want to be successful actors never go to the theatre. If you don’t know what’s going on out there, how can you muscle in on some of the action? David Mamet never goes. He says it’s too painful because he can’t just get up and leave when he finds out that the show sucks. When you get to his position, you can apply his logic.
  2. Read Plays – Yes. When I was a lecturer in acting, we used to ask would-be applicants ‘What plays have you read recently?’ Many people stumbled here. They’d read none. Others reeled off the names of plays they’d done for GCSE or A-Level. Yes, but what plays have you read because you wanted to read them?
  3. Stop Talking and DO - What are the steps to becoming a more successful actor? Figure out the steps, break them down into smaller steps, and start taking action to achieve those steps today. If you can’t do this, follow this link for a much easier solution to your career problems.
  4. Network – People Buy from People, People Hire People, People Cast People: they believe can do the part. But if those people don’t know you exist, well, how can they cast you? Get in front of them. Look for open auditions. Scan the Internet for auditions. It’s your career, but there’s always other options if you prefer the easier route.
  5. Train - You’re out of work, so what? Practice monologues, go to scene study classes, do acting masterclasses and workshops. Otherwise when you finally do get some work, you’ll be rusty. It’ll take you weeks to get back into it, and by then, it’ll be almost over again.
  6. Quit your Day Job – Out of work actors tend to become waiters or teachers. Waiting is the opposite of acting.  Teaching School is a death trap to your acting career. Necessity is the mother of invention. If you want to act stop looking for the cushy financial position, quit your day job, live on as little as possible, get out there and act. Or give up and get another job doing something more useful.
  7. Work Every Day – Do Something, ONE concrete thing for your acting career every single day. Go read a new play, meet an artistic director, speak with an agent, get new head shots, retouch your CV, train, do an acting masterclass, practice accents, meet up with other actors, put on your own plays, write your own plays and be in them, hire a venue at the Edinburgh Festival and put your money where your mouth is.
  8. Talk to Agents - So they’ve got one and you haven’t. Just write them a letter until they agree to see you. Show them your stuff by inviting them to see your next show.
  9. Get an Acting Coach – Okay sure, you say, I was bound to say this, but most of my blog readers are in the USA, so I’m not precious about you coming to me. Infact try Mark Coleman in Glasgow, or Helen Raw in Edinburgh. They’re great if you don’t like the sound of me, but successful actors have great acting coaches. They have someone to go to, with whom they can practice their audition pieces, someone who will challenge them, stand up to them, push them and advise them. Think of the top sports stars, how do you think they would do without a coach?
  10. Don’t QUIT – The single most effective thing that successful actors do is keep going. The only way to succeed is to refuse to quit. The biggest difference between you and the successful working actor – they didn’t quit so neither should you.

Mark Westbrook is a professional acting coach, writer and director based in Glasgow, Scotland. He runs Acting Coach Scotland, an actor training and coaching business.


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The 12 Obstacles

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.

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