It's a JOB
The compelling need to be an artist is both a blessing and a curse. For most actors, acting is not a choice; it’s an artistic need. Actors are actors because they can’t to do anything else. No other job will do. However, it is incredibly important to remember that acting is not just your passion – it’s your job.
I’ve spoken to many of my actor friends who go on about how great their jobs are: because they don’t have to work from 9-5 (or more), and have the freedom to create their own schedules. While this freedom seems fantastic, every job needs structure.
Think about your friends and family who have structured job. How many hours a day are they working? Are you devoting an equal amount of time to your job? As an actor, you must be your own taskmaster. Auditions will ebb and flow throughout the year and there will a lot of time without work, time that should be spent working on your career.
So, what is the actor’s “to do” list? Here’s my advice:
I think it’s imperative that you set aside specific times throughout the day that are designated for work. In that time, do 3-5 career-focused activities.
There are so many options for yourself when YOU are the boss. You can spend a day focused on headshots, submit yourself for every role possible, read scripts and break them down, throw yourself on tape for a project EVEN if you’re not going to audition, write content, create a casting grid of all of the shows out there and how you fit in, go to the gym!
I also think actors must find 1-2 things to do every day that is not ME-centric. It’s scary to be trapped inside your own head all day. Get out of your own way. Take a yoga class, meditate, give back.
It’s incredibly important to stay active and positive in a job where work is not guaranteed and where you are fighting for work.
Another thing to remember is that professionalism is expected in this job. When you book a job, show up prepared, rested and ready to do your best work. Remember, this is a job that thousands of people fought for and YOU got. It’s incredibly easy for actors to lose themselves in the excitement and praise. Make the work your focus. Do a great job and then enjoy the rewards.