Settling on the decision to become an actor or actress is a major life decision, regardless of your age at the time of that transition. Making the choice to pursue a career in acting is the easiest part of what will likely be a very eventful journey. I'd like nothing more than to tell you that you'll immediately secure a Talent Manager and Agent and begin booking big name projects within your first months in your new role, but- unfortunately- that is rarely the case. I'd also like to tell you, in all honesty, that once you book your first legitimate role that your career will fire off like a missile from that point, but that's also not always the case. Nonetheless, the aforementioned points should be no cause for concern, as you should absolutely expect your journey to be likened to running a marathon as opposed to running a sprint. According to zenhabits.net, it takes roughly 6-10 years to become great at anything and that's only if you regularly work at it. I'll even go as far as quoting details from Malcolm Gladwell's book, "Outliers", where he mentions the following: "it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials.
Afraid and dismayed yet? Please don't be, as there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. However, I think a chat based in realism is prudent for any newcomer who has set his or her sight on a goal as fantastic as becoming a successful actor or actress. In my previous blog post, I mentioned the statistics associated with becoming a successful actor or actress. While it's a known fact that hugely successful actors and actresses represent a small portion of the population, we also know that obtaining that status is quite possible. Now, it goes without saying that how we individually define success is both subjective and based on one's perception, so my first recommendation is to be crystal clear concerning your aim and mission when you launch your budding career. Clearly define your goal, know your intentions very well and what a successful career looks like from your personal vantage point. Once you've determined the trajectory you'd like your career to take, then comes the hard work of bringing it to fruition. Here are a couple of tips to consider as you get started:
1. Clearly identify your natural talents and be prepared to market them.
2. Create a social media presence and garner as much organic support as possible.
3. Find the projects that are within reach- in terms of location and from a financial standpoint- then audition for them.
4. Begin working as much as possible and build your portfolio.
5. Establish a professional press kit complete with "good" headshots and demonstrations of your work.
6. Invest in yourself and your craft. Enroll in classes and learn as much as possible. * We'll delve more into the importance of self-investment in a future post.
Once these tasks are done, which takes patience and time, then you'll seek out a reputable Talent Agent and/ or Manager. A word from the wise, though, timing is crucially important and so is pacing. This is a tough business and the "no's" you receive in comparison to the "yes'" can be discouraging, but I encourage you to stay the course. Success is likely on the other side of the fleeting, inconsistently received "yes" you just might receive at your next audition. Remain engaged and remember, "what you seek is seeking you." Rumi-
Mahalia Jackson-Butler, MBA